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This book studies family life and gender broadly within Italy, not just one region or city, from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries. Paternal control of the household was paramount in Italian life at this time, with control of property and even marital choices and career paths laid out for children and carried out from beyond the grave by means of written testaments. However, the reality was always more complex than a simple reading of local laws and legal doctrines would seem to permit, especially when there were no sons to step forward as heirs. Family disputes provided an opening for legal ambiguities to redirect property and endow women with property and means of control. This book uses the decisions of lawyers and judges to examine family dynamics through the lens of law and legal disputes.