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States of CreditSize, Power, and the Development of European Polities$
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David Stasavage

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691140575

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691140575.001.0001

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Origins of City-States

Origins of City-States

(p.94) Chapter Five Origins of City-States
States of Credit

David Stasavage

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the origins of European city-states. It has long been observed that within Europe, autonomous cities tended to emerge in a relatively narrow belt stretching from the Low Countries to northern Italy, and this empirical observation has generated a variety of explanations. Answering this question is critical to the conceptualization of the broad process of state formation in Europe. The chapter asks why city-states emerged in some European regions in the first place, whereas elsewhere territorial states became the dominant mode of state organization. It considers the principal existing explanation for the pattern of city-state development, the Rokkan/Tilly hypothesis, and compares it with the Carolingian partition hypothesis. Results of empirical tests show that city-states were able to emerge in Europe's central core because this was where central political control collapsed to the greatest extent after the partition of the Carolingian Empire.

Keywords:   city-states, Europe, Low Countries, Italy, state formation, Rokkan/Tilly hypothesis, Carolingian partition hypothesis, political control, Carolingian Empire, territorial states

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