The Benefits of Peace: Private Peacemaking in Late Medieval Italy
Glenn Kumhera, Penn State University, The Behrend College
In The Benefits of Peace: Private Peacemaking in Late Medieval Italy Glenn Kumhera offers the first comprehensive account of private peacemaking, weaving together its legal, religious, political and social meanings across several cities (13th-15th centuries). The ability of peacemaking to hinder criminal prosecution has often been considered the result of government powerlessness. Kumhera, however, examines the benefits of private peacemaking, detailing how its flexibility was crucial in creating a viable criminal justice system that emphasized violence prevention and recognition of jurisdiction while allowing space for friends, neighbors and clergy to intervene. Additionally, he explores the roles of women and clergy in peacemaking, how peace operated in a vendetta culture and how the medieval understanding of reconciliation affected the practice of peacemaking.