Rural History Conference - Girona, 10 September Panel 56 - Common-lands and conflicts: Historical and archaeological perspectives

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1 Rural History Conference - Girona, 10 September 2015 Panel 56 - Common-lands and conflicts: Historical and archaeological perspectives Conflicts dynamics and common-lands management under the control of the state: the case of the Sienese communities during the 14th-16th centuries Author: Davide Cristoferi (University of Siena) Keywords: common lands' management, Sienese history, transhumance, share-cropping. 1. Introduction This paper would be a first step of a larger research focused on the common lands management and conflicts dynamics in Southern Tuscany between Late Middle Age and Modern Age. Many essays treated at different levels the commons in Tuscany and especially in Southern Tuscany, but very rarely they had a long time perspective and a focus on conflicts dynamics for common lands. Moreover this region was characterized by a strong influence of institutional structures and urban capitals, not only during the Modern Age under the control of the Medici and of the Lorena, but also during the rule of the Sienese commune in 14th-16th centuries. However commons rights of use of pastures, woods, meadows, often submitted to the control of many kind of high powers and institutions nearby rural communities, went on over centuries until the Lorena's reform of The control of the ruler on the commons management during the centuries had a multifaceted behavior and could not be read exclusively in a negative or in a positive way. Commons could be read as a strategic resource exploited by different actors who hold different kind of rights over them in order to satisfy to their different needs in time and space. This is clear in top down perspective: for example the Sienese commune made a strong expropriation of common lands and rights of use in Maremma during the 14th-15th centuries, as well it chose to let a great part of it to some communities for strategic reasons, fiscal needs, repopulation plans. This behavior was the same one of the Medici in the 16th-18th centuries: the Grand dukes and their officials were divided between the need to assure to the Grand duchy the incomes derived from the commons management!1

2 (oriented to transhumance and grain cropping) and to not damage the social and economic structure of their rural communities. In a bottom-up perspective we can notice the longue durée of the commons of the rural communities and the resilience of their management within this institutional framework. Until the 1784 and over, the commons continued to be used and managed by the inhabitants of rural communities and also today there are some associations for the management of the so-called usi civici as at Montorsaio near Grosseto. If commons management could not be read in a static way in a top down approach, we can observe the same results with a bottom up perspective: the sources record many kind of conflicts and negotiations within the communities and between the communities and the other rulers with rights on their commons. Notwithstanding, this research field is far to be fully explored in Tuscany, because for the lack of in-depth researches, especially on the judiciary sources. This paper could not fill this gap: it aims to reconstruct the historical path of the commons of an illustrative community of Sienese territory, Castiglione in the Orcia valley, 50 km south of Siena, to begin to understand some conflicts dynamics and the different behavior of the institutional actors involved in the commons management and exploitation. This case-study could allow us to observe these dynamics in a boundary area: Castiglione is placed halfway the Sienese hills, the Orcia valley, the Maremma and the M. Amiata. As a consequence, it was characterized at the same time by a share-cropping system oriented also to farming and by a mountain agro-system with wood activities and iron metallurgy. The common lands and rights of Castiglione must be interrelated with this moving and complex context. The Castiglione's community had many rights and benefits under the Sienese ruler, but at the same time was submitted to different kind of feudal lordships in the 14th and the 17th centuries. Moreover, the monastery of the Vivo river, the Sienese Hospital of S. Maria della Scala and its share-croppers, the feudal lord of Castiglione were involved at different level on the Castiglione's commons management during the centuries. In the following parts I will try a first analysis of some examples of conflicts and negotiation about the commons of Castiglione during the 14th-16th centuries. I did it intersecting the outcomes of a Ph.D. research on the transhumance development and its institutional framework in Southern Tuscany in the Late Middle Age and the analysis of primary and bibliographic sources. 2. The territory of Castiglione d'orcia: environment, production, society (14th-18th centuries)!2

3 The territory of Castiglione d'orcia at the beginning of the 14th century covered a surface around 50 km 2 and it extended from the left riverside of the Orcia river (200 m.) to the top of the M. Amiata (1738 m.). The valley and the plans along the river (28% of the surface) formed the most fertile area of the territory and, at the same time, the main subject of flooding. This was probably the reason of the double use of these lands: to farming and to grain production. The hills as the one of the settlement of Castiglione (540 m.) were also oriented downwards to extensive grain cropping and meadows and upwards probably to farming (28%). Around the castle of Castiglione there were the most intensively cultivated lands: gardens (1%), vineyards (3%), and other arable land (5%). The mountain area (40%), from 800 to 1700 m., was completely covered by oaks, beeches, chestnuts and grazing lands. The castle of Castiglione was the principal settlement of the territory, which was populated by around 1500 people: during the 13th century the center absorbed the population of the other smaller villages and at the beginning of the 14th century only the village nearby the monastery of the Vivo river and 8 holdings were placed and inhabited out of the castle. The rural landscape and the structure of the settlement show us the classic system à terroir. The community of Castiglione was the most important landholder of the area. The community owned in the around the 50% of the land of its territory (24 km 2 ), for a worth of over 2800 gold florins. The great part of this land was placed in the mountain area and formed by oak and chestnut woods, pastures, meadows but also arable lands, mainly submitted to common rights of all the resident inhabitants or rented out to other members of the community. Castiglione owned also a mill, an oven and some houses in the castle. However, there were other two important landholders in the territory: the Hospital of S. Maria della Scala of Siena and the monastery of S. Benedict on the Vivo river. The Hospital began to accumulate lands as legacies in the Orcia valley in 1236 and it continued to purchase properties during the 14th and the 15th centuries, introducing, as many other Sienese owners, a share-cropping system. The Hospital was the second landholder of Castiglione and it organized its properties in the low valley round a farm-center, called the grancia of Spedaletto, placed along the right side of the Orcia. The monastery of the Vivo river owned at the beginning of the 14th century 1,3 km 2 of uncultivated and arable lands. It was placed along the Vivo river on the trail between the top of the M. Amiata and Castiglione. The monastery owned also mills and buildings for the iron metallurgy and it was the seigneurial lord of the village of the Vivo. Another great owner was the noble family of the Salimbeni of Siena, involved in the banking activities. The Salimbeni laid the foundations of a seigneurial power based on the ownership of!3

4 lands and rights during the 14th and the 15th centuries. They purchased the common land of Collelungo (40 hectares), in the 1302, taking advantage of the financial difficulties of Castiglione. However the most part of the population had small and medium arable and uncultivated lands. Only the 20% of the population, probably craftsmen and rural laborers, was not composed by landholders. This framework was slowly modified by the progressive introduction of the share-cropping by the Sienese owners. In the in the Castiglione's territory there were only 6 holdings owned by Sienese citizen and probably managed with a share-cropping system. In the 17th century the holdings reached the number of 130. How did this increase strike the common lands of the community? Currently it is very difficult to answer: just at the beginning of 14th century the common lands near the riverside of the Orcia disappeared, probably sold to private owners. At the same time, in the following years, as we will see, the great part of the common lands placed in the mountain area went on and some common rights survived. However, also the community of Castiglione followed this trend and modified the structure of its common lands dividing part of it, probably placed downwards, in holdings. In the 1676 the holdings owned by Castiglione and recorded by the sources were 34, all of them rented out to other landholders of the community. The share-cropping system carried on in this area was very different from the one widespread in the other zones of Tuscany. It often mixed farming and grain production, following the soil capability and the presence of good pastures all around. The Hospital of S. Maria della Scala, for example, developed a three-step transhumant system for its livestock, especially sheep and cattle, using Spedaletto and other two farm near Montalcino and Grosseto during every year. Other Sienese investors used a similar system exploiting the grazing land of the Maremma through the Sienese Custom of pastures (the so-called Dogana dei Paschi) and their properties in the Orcia valley. At the same time the contracts of agistment between the residents in Castiglione and the Sienese cattle-owners increased, favored by the possibility to exploit the commons of Castiglione warranted by the local shepherd. This development probably joined the widespread of the sharecropping, taking away from shepherds and peasants their properties and part of the control on their commons. The slopes and the top of the M. Amiata allowed the development of wood practices and metal workings. The uplands of Castiglione offered timber, firewood, leafy branches and grazing lands to buildings, cooking and farming. From beeches and chestnuts, widespread on the top of the mountain, was produced an excellent charcoal to stoke the forge, as well as the presence of the Vivo river allowed to move, through mills, the bellows. Thanks to these features the Amiata became in!4

5 the Late Middle Age and during the 17th-18th century an important regional center for wrought iron, linked with the mines of the Elba island. These two forms of exploitation of the mountain resources coincided with two different stakeholders: on one hand the inhabitants of Castiglione, interested to integrate and sustain their agro-pastoral economy, and on the other hand the private investors, more market-oriented, as the monastery of the Vivo, the Sienese merchants or some seigneurial lordships. How was the institutional structure of the community of Castiglione during the 14th-16th centuries? At the head of the community, since the 1419, there was an official, called Vicario: he was a Sienese notary, choose by Siena among three suggestions made by the Priori and approved by the General council of Castiglione. The vicario had to administer the law during 6 months and to represent the ruling city among its subjected; anyway the felonies were subjected to the authority of the Sienese officials in the city.during the lordship of the Salimbeni ( ) the tasks of the vicario were carried out by the representative of the ruling family and by a consul elected every 6 months by the General council. Besides the vicario there were three representatives of the community, called Priori, elected for 6 months with a closed system and with the task to guide, together with the vicario, the decision-making process of Castiglione and to manage the expenses of the community.they had the power to convoke the General council of Castiglione, composed by all the householders of the community, usually member during the 14th-15th centuries. The General council must be convoked every 6 months and had the power to present motions. The majority of the General council was of 2/3, and the minimum to decide was of the 3/4 of the members. Finally, the last important official was the camerlengo, who had the responsibility of the balance of the commune: for every expenses he needed the agreement of the Priori. The other officials were assigned to the management of the common lands, as the fidatori: they were three men, elected every 6 months, with the task of control the pasturages of the community, to rent them out or to agist the cattle of the inhabitants. These institutional structure did not change during the rule of Siena, excepted for the introduction of the High Council in 1505, as we will see. Most probably also the previous institutions of Castiglione, during the 13th century, were very similar to those of the following centuries, as many scholars assert. 3. The community against the monastery of the Vivo river ( )!5

6 Castiglione d'orcia was submitted to Siena at the beginning of the 14th century: most probably Siena let to the community its previous institutional structure and the control on its common lands and resources, as the Sienese cadaster of shows. Before Siena the community was under the rule of the Counts Aldobrandeschi and of the Monastery of S. Salvatore on the M. Amiata. There are not sources concerning the integration of Castiglione in the rising Sienese state, probably because this process was at the beginning and the community had a strategic role in the conflicts against the Aldobrandeschi and in the military advance in Maremma and Amiata. Moreover the community resulted very important also at demographic level with its 1500 inhabitants. The witness of its freedom is given by an interesting case of conflict for the management of the uplands submitted to common uses between the community and the monastery of the Vivo river. In the 1328 (or 1329) 200 people of Castiglione, led by their officials and member of the General Council of the community and with its standard, attacked the monastery. The attackers destroyed the wall and the gate of the monastery and of the cemetery, burned down some buildings neighboring to the church after raided 100 pigs, the grain supply and the woollen cloths of the monks. Moreover they broke up the mass threatening to kill the celebrants and took away 3 plots of woodlands of the monastery. The causes of this raid are revealed by many acts to negotiate a solution between the two parties. Verdiani Bandi affirmed that yet in 1331 the monks let to the inhabitants of Castiglione the right of graze livestock on their lands, but Siena opposed. In this way the object of the clash appears the rights of pasture enjoyed by Castiglione on the private lands of its territory and, as a consequence, on the properties of the monastery. In fact the question was more complex. In the 1339 an ecclesiastical process was carried on by the monastery and the community of Castiglione was condemned in absentia to the payment of 2300 gold florins by the end of a month. If not the community would be excommunicated. We did not have notice that the damages had been paid or the pain had been applied. Anyway, few years later, in 1341, it came to an agreement between the parties through the arbitration of two legum doctores of Siena. This act demonstrate that the conflict caused by a right of grazing was wider and deeper: first of all it was reaffirmed that the monastery and the inhabitants of its village were member of the community with all its rights and duties. As a consequence the two parties had the same rights of pastures on the territory of Castiglione. Moreover the boundaries and the rights over the respective properties (the common lands of Castiglione and the woodlands owned by the monastery) were confirmed and newly ruled. The monastery could rent out its lands and pastures and in this case the!6

7 grazing would be forbidden to the members of the community of Castiglione. The same could be done by the community and in this case the pasturages would be forbidden to the cattle of the monks. Anyway these rents must not be done to strike the other party. Moreover the monastery could not sell or rent out its woodlands to make charcoal and cinder as well as the community could continue to use them for timber and firewood. The community also must give back the lands taken away: in change the mass could be newly celebrated at Castiglione. Briefly the casus belli was the prohibition of grazing on the monastery lands for the inhabitants of Castiglione: the monks probably chose to protect the development of their production of charcoal for their metal works. In fact this activity it was the solely forbidden by the agreement. There was at stake the exercise of a right and the existence of strategic resources as timber, grass and firewoods, which would be surely modified by the development of the charcoal production. Furthermore, the attempt of the monastery was based on its ecclesiastical status and on its lordship on its village, considered enough to justify the independence of the monastery from the community of Castiglione. All these elements allow us to better understand the Castiglione's reaction: it was questioned the authority, the boundaries and the rights of the community together with the (partial) survival of some strategic resources. The use of the community's standard, the public nature of the raids and of its authors, the confiscation of livestock, grain and ownerships, the breakdown of the mass, could be interpreted as the claim and the realization of the justice power of Castiglione on its rebellious members. Finally, the role of Siena. Why did not meddle in this conflict? Surely the commune did not condemn the violent behavior of the inhabitants or directly proceed, as in Arcidosso in the same period, to defend its rights. Most probably the commune did not have yet many forms of control on the commons of Castiglione: it was not an accident that in 1340 Siena tried to sell Castiglione to cope with its financial difficulties. Maybe Siena played a role through the two jurisconsults. One of them was of Bologna, but it appeared as Sienese citizen: probably was, as the other, a professor of the University of Siena, founded and controlled by the commune. It is clear that the agreement was especially favorable to Castiglione: its privileged status within the Sienese state as well as its strong independence, was confirmed. 4. The trend of the 15th-17th centuries Few years later, with the Black Death, the demographic balance of Castiglione broke down as the other settlements of Southern Tuscany, and probably the castle became settled by around 500!7

8 people. Furthermore in 1369 Castiglione and its territory was sold, to cope with the financial difficulty of Siena, to the noble family of the Salimbeni, linked with the current Sienese government. From the high rule of Siena the community moved on the lordship (always within the Sienese state) of this family of bankers and chevaliers. As a consequence, Castiglione probably maintained its institutional structure and also its common lands, but was interested by a stricter control of its fiscal revenues and commons and involved in the wars between the rebellious Salimbeni and Siena. In the 1419 finally the Salimbeni lordship was defeated and the community, which submitted to Siena very soon, was rewarded for its new loyalty with many benefits. In the act of submission (called Capitoli) the Sienese commune let it all the pasturages and woods yet owned by Castiglione (unlike all the other submission of rural communities) also with the right to rent out or to agist livestock. Siena granted also the right of pasture on all the properties in the territory of Castiglione for all the livestock of the members of the community. They must paid a toll in case of agistment with Sienese citizens (only the halfway) or with foreigner (all the tax). Moreover Siena gave to Castiglione all the personal and immovable (land, pastures, buildings) properties and the livestock of the Salimbeni, and lifted the tax on the grain, wine and oil export towards the other regions of the Sienese state. In the following years the community of Castiglione, under the pressure of Siena, fixed the rights and the duties of its members uniforming them to the laws of the Sienese Republic. The common lands and the rights on private uncultivated lands became the object of a re-organization in 1404, following the development of sheep and cattle farming widespread in all the region. The Statute of 1440 established the boundaries and the management of 5 reserves: the Bandita Grande, the Bandita of Collelungo, the Bandita of S. Andrews, the Reserve of the Vineyards around the castle, the Bandita of the valleys. The first reserve was placed on the uplands towards the top of the M. Amiata, closed to the free grazing from September to April, and oriented to rent or to agist according to the opinion of the assigned officials of the community. The reserve of Collelungo was probably the ancient common land sold to the Salimbeni in 1302 and given back by Siena in 1419: as the bandita of S. Andrews, was devoted to the summertime pastures of draught oxen and horses. Finally the last two reserves, where cattle grazing and logging were usually forbidden: they were created to protect the vineyards and the woods inside themselves. Briefly the privileged status of Castiglione was maintained in comparison to the other communities, as Magliano or Montemassi e.g., but surely decreased if compared to the 14th century situation. In fact the community partially lost in the following years the control on the rights of!8

9 grazing on its territory excepted its common lands devoted to its peasants' draught oxen and sheep. In 1434 the renegotiation of the Capitoli assured to Castiglione the half of the revenues of the Sienese Custom of pastures gained in its territory. The aim was to sustain the community to make up to recent war damages: at the same time the act demonstrates that Siena could manage the pasturages on all the private lands and, maybe, on the common lands of Castiglione. 15 years later, in 1450, both the community and the Sienese investors gained from the Officials of the Custom the confirmation of the rules of 1419 in matter of pastures and tolls: they were newly free to graze and to agist in the Castiglione's territory without paying to Siena any taxes. Anyway, most probably, the control on the foreigner herds was maintained by Siena. These facts demonstrate that the role of pasturages within the community's balance and the economy of the area increased. The Statute's reforms of 1491, proposed by a committee of 7 men elected by the General Council of Castiglione, modified and introduced 100 rules, also concerning the commons management. The most important ones allowed to all the resident landholders to graze their stubble over the control of the community, reaffirmed the compulsory payment for the use of common lands and rights of pasture for the animals of Castiglione and established the duty for the community's officials to send away the transhumant herds which went across the land of Castiglione. These resolutions probably demonstrate that: 1) the territory of Castiglione was becoming more and more oriented to grazing and farming; 2) there was an increasing lack of mutual control of the common lands by the official and the inhabitants; 3) there were private and public interests to allow grazing to transhumant flows in order to gain revenues for the community and to sustain the economic trend of the territory. However these questions appeared in a clear way in the 17th century: the Auditor of the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1676, Bartolomeo Gherardini, revealed that the community was rich of pasturages and common lands in general, but poor of revenues from its management. E.g. with respect to 64 draught oxen for which was paid the use of the Bandita, there were in the territory probably 400 ones. The members of the community did not paid the taxes and tolls for their rights of use and usually suborned the officials assigned to the control of the bandite to lead in their cattle. At the same time the Auditor wrote that the officials of the community agisted regularly in the common lands of Castiglioni many transhumant herds. These herds were owned by Sienese citizens or powerful neighbors as the Counts Cervini, who had a strong influence in the management of the common lands of Castiglione to favor its sheep farming. As a consequence the Auditor claimed a risk of overexploitation of pastures and, as a solution also for the lack of revenues, he suggested to rent out all the pasturages.!9

10 5. The causes of the trend of the 15th-17th century and the sale of the common lands ( ) The trend begun during the 15th century and completed in the 17th century could be interpreted as the outcome of interrelated factors. First of all the increasing influence of the Sienese institutions on the management and on the property of the common lands of Castiglione. Secondly the increasing presence of the Sienese investors who, purchasing lands and herds, transformed the ancient landholders and farmers in share-croppers, laborers and agisters as in other communities of the area. If we do not know with precision the social structure of the community during this period, surely we can affirm its impoverishment. In the 17th century more than half of the inhabitants of Castiglione (613 of 1102 person) lived as share-croppers in the 100 holdings owned above all by Sienese citizens, while in the 14th century only the 20% of the population of Castiglione was not composed by landholders. In the third place we have to consider the role of epidemics, raids and of the fiscal pressure of Siena in weakening the demographic, social and economic structure of Castiglione. The sources during the 15th-16th centuries recorded many times the requests to the Sienese commune to pay taxes in installments or to ask for help, after a war or an epidemic. The population, after over a century from 1348, was still around 500 people, while between 1494 and 1515 some reforms were established to cope with the depopulation and the needs of fiscal revenues also from the foreigner householders who lived in the territory. The fourth factor, derived from the others, was the social differentiation within the community with the creation, or the survival, of an élite of landholders. This process could be read through some resolutions approved by the councils and the officials of the community during the first year of the 16th century. Since the 1500 only the Council of every member of the community could decide to enlarge the community, while in 1491 to become member of the community and, as a consequence, user of common lands and rights of Castiglione, was enough to stay in this land as resident for almost 8 months continuously. This ancient rule was probably created to cope with the depopulation of the land and to legalize the presence of many foreigners. During the same years were approved some changes to the representative structures of the community. In 1515 a resolution of the community allow us to understand that the share-croppers of the Sienese citizens were considered excluded as members of the community and exempted from paying taxes to the community. In 1505 was established an High Council close to the General council of all the householders. It was composed by 40 people, elected by the Priori, and it was able to decide with a minimum of 30 members. All these resolution were!10

11 most probably due to the will of the Priori (and to the élite of landholders who were elected as officials) to increase the control on the number of users and on the decision-making process of the community. Anyway, the project did not go on, because of the depopulation: the Council was not very used and it disappeared in the 17th century. All these factors could explain the trend and also weaken the social and economic links for mutual control of the commons management and for the payment of taxes and tolls. At the same time the aims of the élite of landholders, the increasing presence of urban investors in farming and cropping, the financial needs of Castiglione could lead part of its governance to develop the exploitation of common lands and pasturages for the transhumant grazing. The presence of urban property took a step forward damaging the common lands of many rural communities of the Sienese state during the 16th century, as A. K. Isaacs demonstrated in an essay of According to the scholar, between the ruler of Siena Pandolfo Petrucci developed a great selling plan of the common lands of the Sienese rural communities in order to reward his upholders and the rich classes of the regional state. Through the power of the ruling city and the complicity of some members of the rural communities, interested to this selling too or involved with the Sienese investors, Pandolfo took advantage of the financial difficulties of the communities forcing them to sell their common lands. It is very interesting that in this period, as the Liber iurium of Castiglione records, part of the common lands was involved in a sale. In 1501 a member of the Petrucci, Girolamo, was allowed by the general council of Castiglione to purchase plots of common lands worth around 1000 gold florins. At the root of the purchase there were some money and grain loaned by Girolamo to the community. However, the inhabitants reached an agreement to exercise their old rights of pastures on these lands. At the same time Girolamo must paid the pasturages for the livestock outside his new properties. Girolamo did not paid them, also thanks to other loans of grains, but in the 1526 the community gained its ancient lands through an arbitration. Anyway it was compelled to give the revenues of the lands re-conquered to its proxy, Francesco Vescovi, a Sienese citizen. This decisions was approved by the High Council of the community. On January 1527 the community designated its proxy as the purchaser of the lands in change of 2600 gold florins but in April Francesco gave back part of its land avoiding to pay as requested. Moreover in the 1580 a sentence gave back to the grandson of Girolamo Petrucci part of the land purchased by his grandfather, which were sold to the Counts Cervini. In conclusion around more than half of the ancient common lands of Castiglione, probably those placed on the uplands, was sold. If it is not clear all the dynamics of these different purchase, surely it is very evident that in this period happened a great change of the property!11