This paper seeks to establish what, if anything, the Empire’s Italian territories meant for its late-medieval rulers and for other northern adherents of the Reich, beyond a tempting, if troublesome, source of ideological and material resources to exploit in pursuit of cisalpine goals. It argues that the tendency, deeply rooted in the older German (and Italian) scholarship, to ignore or disparage the activities of late-medieval emperors in the south, reflected, and has served to perpetuate, misleading views of the nature of the late-medieval Empire itself. It contends that more recent approaches, no longer intent on viewing the Reich only as a kind of precocious but ultimately failed German “state”, offer the potential for more illuminating insights, not least into the place and the continuing importance of Italy in imperial politics and ideas. And it urges the benefits of going still further, to examine more fully the role of transalpine interactions and exchanges in the shaping of late-medieval imperial political culture.
Scales, L. (2022). Emperors of Rome: Italy and the 'Roman-German' monarchy, 1308-1452. In A. Huijbers (Ed.), Emperors and Imperial Discourse in Italy, c.1300-1500 (11-42). l'École français de Rome. https://doi.org/10.4000/books.efr.39550