Fiscality and Historiography: Renaissance Italian History Writing and the Development of Political Economy
Giorgio Lizzul holds a PhD in History from King’s College London, an MA in the History of Political Thought and Intellectual History from UCL and Queen Mary, and a BSc in Government and Economics from the LSE. He has been a research fellow on the ERC project “Aristotle in the Italian Vernacular” at the Department of Italian Studies, University of Warwick, and Teaching Fellow in Medieval European History at King’s College London. His research concerns the intersection of economic, political and ethical thought with the financial institutions of medieval and Renaissance Italy. Currently he is reworking his thesis into a monograph entitled Debt and the Republic: Economic Thought and Public Debt in Italy 1300–1550.
This project is a comparative study of the representation and analysis of public finance in Renaissance Italian history writing. From the fourteenth century, state finance became a central narrative preoccupation for the representation of the political past and esteemed as an imperative strand of politics. The project seeks to map how knowledge of fiscality was first systematized in Trecento chronicles and ricordanze. It will demonstrate the impact of this on humanist historia and trace the intellectual legacy of Italian history writers on Reason of State literature and the formation of eighteenth-century political economy. The project will reveal how history writers in republics established public finance as an object of enquiry and began to analyze the nature of taxation, debt and economy, and their influence on political communities. It aims to uncover how the pragmatic knowledge of financial office-holders and citizen-investors shaped the classification of new fiscal institutions and phenomena. Civic history writers’ emergent financial discourse—developed outside the universities—was instrumental in creating knowledge through description and quantification based on observation and archives, rather than classical emulation. The research will be the basis for a second monograph entitled Fiscality and the Past.