Edition: 2023
Pages: 176
Series: IR/L
ISBN: 9788858152577

Rebels. Popular revolts in the Middle Ages

Alessandro Barbero


Fondo de Cultura (world Spanish)



They arrive completely unexpected. They last a short time, sometimes a few weeks, then they are repressed. But while they do not subvert any order, they remain forever etched in the collective memory. These are the popular revolts.

Human history is studded with moments when a mass of people decide they do not like the established order and try to change it. When they succeed, the world collapses and the future changes: these are the revolutions. On the contrary, if nothing changes, these are revolts. In other words, we need to know how it turned out in order to decide what name to give to movements that are all similar in some ways (because the rebels also believed they could change the world - and they didn’t know they couldn’t). In their early development, the insurrections of the Middle Ages do not seem at all different from the more successful modern revolutions. In particular in the second half of the 14th century there were so many uprisings that they were an anomaly. This book recounts precisely the most spectacular of these revolts, which, despite an irresistible start, were crushed and suppressed within a few weeks. These are the French peasants’ revolt of 1358, which went down in history as the Jacquerie, the so-called Ciompi revolt in Florence in 1378, the English Peasants’ revolt in 1381, and also a lesser-known Tuchini revolt in Piedmont, between 1386 and 1391. For a long time, historians considered the failure of the uprisings not only as proof that the rebels had no chance of success, but that they did not even pursue a conscious goal. Nothing could be more false! The uprisers knew what they were doing, had specific demands and consciously fought to achieve them.

The author

Alessandro Barbero

Alessandro Barbero is Italy’s best known historian. His books are all bestsellers in Italy and abroad and his ‘History Lessons’ are widely followed live and on social. He teaches Medieval History at the University of Eastern Piedmont. His latest book, Dante (2020), has sold more than 250,000 copies and has been translated in more than 20 countries.

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