Limiting Yardage and Changes of Clothes

Sumptuary Legislation in Thirteenth-Century France, Languedoc and Italy
  • Sarah-Grace Heller
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In the thirteenth century, the “via Francigena” passed through the merchant cities of central Italy towards Provence and France. On it, silks moved north through Italian hands, while woolens made their way south and east.1 The trading cities of Languedoc and Provence cultivated niches in the market, dealing in wool, silk, and cloth of gold.2 Stories and songs were also exchanged, as the troubadours’ cansos were imitated and compiled by the French and Italians, and French romances were reworked in Italian dialects, and parodied in Occitan hands.3 The French enjoyed a certain cultural hegemony in the later thirteenth century,4 when Brunetto Latini depicted himself as an Italian in exile writing his Livre dou Tresor in French in part because “la parleure est plus delitable et plus commune a tous langages (the language is more delightful and more commonly used than all others).”5


Thirteenth Century Twelfth Century Quick Path Cultural Hegemony Patrilineal Descent 
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© E. Jane Burns 2004

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  • Sarah-Grace Heller

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