Not about Russia, for once: ‘Paths of Wickedness and Crime: the underworlds of the Renaissance Italian city’

I just wanted to let people know that a slender, speculative and no doubt thoroughly amateurish historical essay of mine considering the early forms of organized crime in Renaissance Italy has just been published. Paths of Wickedness and Crime: the underworlds of the Renaissance Italian city is available as a print-on-demand volume and PDF download here and is available be on Amazon, too. Here’s the blurb:

There were shadows to the Italian Renaissance. Just as art and philosophy were flourishing, so too were darker practices, from murder-for-hire to prostitution. However, despite popular parallels between families like the Borgia and the Medici and the Mafia, there has been little systematic examination of the presence of organised crime in the era. In this short and lively essay, Mark Galeotti rereads and occasional reinterprets the rich secondary literature to introduce a cast of corrupt princes, bandit chieftains, professional assassins, human traffickers, thugs and conmen and suggest that there were signs of the early beginnings of organised criminality in the towns and cities of late medieval and Renaissance Italy.

Though I would mention some distinct similarities — and inevitable differences — with the tsarist Russian underworld I explored in my article ‘The World of the Lower Depths: crime and punishment in Russian history,’ in Global Crime 9, 1-2 (2008)…

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  1. Italy apparently had one of Europe’s most stratospheric murder rates from the Middle Ages, and remained far higher than elsewhere until unification.

  2. I sit still available for download? I live in Sri Lanka and the shipping rates are ridiculous.(200% of the price on amazon!)


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