The main objective of this chapter is to construct a reliable general chronology of Italian famines, building upon earlier attempts but also taking into account the results of recent research, as well as conducting systematic new tests on previously unavailable databases. Such tests allow us both to confirm widespread ideas about the significance of some specific events and to challenge the received wisdom about some others (especially for the eighteenth century). Additionally, we are attempting for the first time to integrate studies of famines in specific epochs into a very long-run picture: approximately from 1250 up until 1810. Although tracing and measuring the occurrence of famines over time is our main aim, we also provide some information about their demographic and socio-economic consequences and about the role played by institutions charged with managing food provisioning. We conclude with a synthetic discussion of causality, developing an analysis of a whole range of factors potentially involved in originating a famine, including population dynamics, climate change, war and pestilence, institutional failures, the conditions of food production and distribution and changes in crops and in agrarian technologies. Reconstructing a Chronology of Italian Famines Two partial chronologies of famines affecting Italy in the late medieval and early modern period exist. They rely on different methods for identifying the main events. The older chronology is Del Panta and Livi Bacci’s classic reconstruction of Italian mortality crises, 1600-1850, which also includes a (partial) classification of the crises distinguishing epidemics (for example, of plague or typhus), famines and others. A more recent attempt is Alfani’s reconstruction of famines in northern Italy, 1470-1700, which uses an ‘expert’ method - i.e. one reliant upon a number of case studies produced by scholars specialised in the history of famines or food provisioning to identify the main events. One of the explicit objectives of this method is ‘to solve, at least in part, the problem of differentiating “famine” from simple “dearth”’ (Alfani 2015). These pre-existing chronologies are summarised and compared in Table 2.1. Our aim is to produce a general chronology of Italian famines that integrates, updates and verifies them and, additionally, expands them in time (covering the whole period from about 1250 until today) and space (covering the whole of the Italian Peninsula).
Mocarelli, L., Alfani, G., & Strangio, D. (2017). Italy. In G. Alfani, & C. O Grada (a cura di), Famine in European History (pp. 25-47). Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
|Citazione:||Mocarelli, L., Alfani, G., & Strangio, D. (2017). Italy. In G. Alfani, & C. O Grada (a cura di), Famine in European History (pp. 25-47). Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.|
|Autori:||Mocarelli, L; Alfani, G; Strangio, D|
|Presenza di un coautore afferente ad Istituzioni straniere:||No|
|Tipo:||Capitolo o saggio|
|Carattere della pubblicazione:||Scientifica|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Titolo del libro:||Famine in European History|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in libro|