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The inhabitants expected both the marchese and his magistrate to remain above the interests in play. 86 He was subject not only to the instructions of the feudal lord, but also to the Sienese magistracy governing the administration of the rural communities, the Quattro Conservatori. Being a notary by 30 HUMAN NATURE IN RURAL TUSCANY profession, or a career junior magistrate not well versed in jurisprudence, he did not devise the sentences himself but rather recommended them to an appeals judge, the auditore (residing in Siena and working on the marchese’s behalf), who confirmed or modified the sentences as he saw fit after reviewing the trial transcript.

90 Some feudatories profited from abundant common land to graze their own livestock free of gabelles, or instead rented out pasture to other aristocrats to the detriment of the local population. At least in Montefollonico there was no danger of this. The commons was unable to sustain more than a handful of animals. The community’s real common land was already incorporated into six poderi belonging to the confraternity, off limits to the marchese. Having no poderi of his own, no mills, no presses, no physical plant in the jurisdiction belonging to him, the marchese never figured as an economic agent distributing employment or favor.

A village prostitute promised to go to the marchese in order to stop some local youths from harassing her. 132 Like any sovereign, the feudatory could circumvent legal procedure by interrupting (circondare) trial proceedings and quieting disputes himself. Letters suspending trials conclude dozens of cases opened by the commissario. Who knows how many cases were never brought to the latter’s attention? None who was not a Sienese noble appears to have been immune from prosecution by his court, as shown by the sons and heirs of Anacleto Barbieri and Rutilio Carpellini repeatedly getting into trouble.

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