During the long years spent researching, writing, and revising this project I have accrued significant intellectual, professional, and personal debts that I cannot hope to repay here. First and foremost, I wish to sincerely thank Richard Kaeuper, who was my doctoral adviser at the University of Rochester, for his patient guidance, sage advice, and unwavering support over many years. His intellectual prowess and knowledge of history are matched only by his unfailing generosity, kindness, humor, and a storytelling ability that rivals Mark Twain. He was a wonderful adviser and teacher during my time at Rochester and has championed my cause in the years since. I wish also to thank William Caferro, who has served for more than a decade as my unofficial mentor in all things Florentine, Italian, and archival. I have benefited from his considerable expertise on the social, economic, and military history of late medieval and early Renaissance Italy and his incredible knowledge of the Florentine archives. He has generously served as a sounding board for ideas and arguments, written letters in support of my work, and offered timely encouragement and thoughtful feedback on this book project. I could not wish for two better examples on which to model my own career.
I owe a substantial debt to a number of other scholars who have generously shared their time, expertise, and advice over the years. I thank Enrico Faini for enthusiastically supporting my project from its inception, as well as for his willingness to read and comment on early drafts of chapters. He patiently fielded a multitude of questions about minutiae and kindly offered friendship and stimulating conversation over caffè on several occasions in Firenze. I am likewise grateful to Sarah R. Blanshei for her continuous support over the years. I thank her for reading drafts of this book project and for offering careful and substantial feedback. I greatly appreciate her generosity of time and knowledge, which have made me a better scholar.
I would also like to thank several friends and compatriots in letters who offered assistance and friendship during various stages of this project. Luka Špoljaric´ provided continuous encouragement, timely humor, and substantial help on many fronts over the past decade. I thank him for reading the entire manuscript and for providing detailed feedback in the final months. My family and I greatly appreciate the incredible hospitality he and his family have shown us in his wonderful patria. Sam Claussen has redefined meritorious suffering through his willingness to read and comment on endless drafts and listen to me ramble on about Florentine and Italian topics. His visit to Florence in the summer of 2018 was a highlight, not least because he challenged me to sharpen my ideas and arguments as we perambulated around the streets and churches of the city. I appreciate his essential feedback on each of the chapters and on the project as a whole. Likewise, Marty Martoccio read the entire manuscript and offered useful suggestions for improvement. I thank him also for our many pleasant conversations about mutual interests, discussions held after long hours spent in the Archivio di Stato and in the most conducive of locations: Florentine enoteche.
Tucker Million deserves significant credit for the successful completion of this book. Tucker first became involved in 2014 when he served as my undergraduate research assistant at Indiana University Kokomo. He has since gone on to graduate school at the University of Rochester, where he is about to defend an excellent dissertation on the important topic of chivalry and kingship at the Angevin court in Naples. Over the past seven years he has continued to serve as a sounding board for ideas and arguments, to track down sources and documents, and to read drafts of chapters. I thank him sincerely for his essential assistance and friendship.
I would like to acknowledge a number of other scholars who offered important assistance, stimulating conversation, or encouragement. Joel Rosenthal and Sara Lipton, my undergraduate advisers at Stony Brook University, sparked my interest in medieval history and set me on the path that has taken me to this point. Their encouragement and guidance in those early days were instrumental, and they remain exemplars of intellectual excellence. John Hosler provided important professional advice years ago while serving as a most genial mentor at the ’Zoo. I thank him for taking an interest in my work and for his continued support. My work also benefited from conversations with Steve Muhlberger, Justine Walden, D’Arcy Jonathan Dacre Boulton, Fabrizio Ricciardelli, Gloria Allaire, Silvia Diacciati, Guido Castelnuovo, Anne Leader, and James Palmer. Each helped in some way to shape many of the ideas and arguments in this book or simply made its completion possible.
I wish to thank the staff at the Archivio di Stato di Firenze, the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana for their patience and assistance. I would also like to thank Joe Figliulo-Rosswurm for his help with the records of the Executor of the Ordinances of Justice and for sharing thoughts from his excellent work in progress. I thank Elizabeth Mellyn, David Rosenthal, and Francesco Poggi for generously taking photographs of documents in the Florentine archives. At Indiana University Kokomo, I benefited from the encouragement and support of fellow historians Andrew McFarland and Sarah Heath, and the considerable assistance of Christina Fivecoate in the university library, who tirelessly procured innumerable articles, books, dissertations, and published primary sources. Hannah Bourne, an IUK alumna, did an excellent job creating the index. I offer them my gratitude.
Crucial financial assistance was provided by numerous institutions and organizations. Indiana University Kokomo provided multiple Grants-in-Aid of Faculty Research and research awards, which funded trips to the Florentine archives, and several Summer Faculty Fellowships, which gave me time to read and to write the book. The University of Rochester’s Department of History provided financial assistance that made some of the initial research for this book possible. Likewise, a Renaissance Society of America Dissertation Research Grant made possible an extended stay in Florence in 2011.
I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Mahinder Kingra and the editorial staff at Cornell University Press for helping to see this book through the publication process. Mahinder championed this project from an early stage and offered timely encouragement and advice along the way for which I am grateful. I also thank the anonymous readers for their constructive feedback. The book is much improved because of their help.
At Rochester, I benefited from the camaraderie, support, and wide-ranging knowledge of my fellow graduate students. I wish to thank, in particular, the cohort of medievalists who studied at Rochester during those heady years, especially Dan Franke, Craig Nakashian, Paul Dingman, and Chris Guyol. I look back with great fondness upon those years and feel fortunate to continue to count them as friends. I thank Dan and Craig in particular for continued productive collaboration and support. Outside of the medievalists, I benefited from the friendship of a group of burgeoning historians in various fields. Jeff Ludwig has provided steady friendship and encouragement over the years. I thank him for our many conversations about history, baseball, and life. I also thank Kira Thurman and Douglas Flowe for their friendship and for providing important advice on a range of professional matters. I would also like to acknowledge the friendship of Emily Morry, Katie Ludwig, Amy Arbogast, and Kim Cristal, which helped make Rochester a wonderful place to study.
My love of Italian history and culture began during a truly memorable experience studying abroad in Italy in 2005. I recall with great fondness exploring the cities, towns, and countryside of Italy with Matt Koster and Sam Grimaldo, who were my constant companions during those glorious months. I thank them for their continued friendship over the many years since.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the unwavering support I have received from my family and friends. I wish to thank my mother, Alice Sposato, my in-laws, Peter and Patty Van Brunt, and my many siblings for their steady encouragement, particularly in view of the time and effort it took to complete this book project. I also thank Jason Ruckman for many decades of friendship and for forcing me to have fun. Finally, special gratitude is reserved to my wife, Margaret, whose support and love were instrumental in the completion of this project. Margaret, “Hear my soul speak. The very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly at your service… . I would not wish any companion in the world but you” (The Tempest).