Christopher Carlsmith

Collegiate Conflict: Two Brawls in Bologna between the Collegio di Spagna and the Collegio Montalto, 1672-1673

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Violence in early modern Bologna was nothing new; the records of the Torrone criminal court testify to frequent assaults, thefts, and other forms of physical violence, and chroniclers regularly cite fisticuffs in the streets. This paper examines violence among members of Bologna's storied university; specifically, between the residents of two of Bologna's most significant student colleges. Bad blood had existed between the Spanish College (San Clemente) and the Montalto College since 1591, but matters came to a head in 1672, when a pair of back-to-back incidents resulted in significant verbal and physical alterations, both in the street and in the chapel of the Montalto College. In a society consumed with social status and hierarchy, as well as maintenance of one's reputation and honor, such slights were no small item. This paper compares the accounts from each college's archive, as well as other, neutral sources, in order to create a holistic picture of this example of «collegiate conflict».


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