Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528

By Steven A. Epstein

416 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 6 halftones, 3 maps, 13 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4992-7
    Published: September 2001
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6128-8
    Published: November 2000

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Awards & distinctions

A 1997 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Set in the middle of the Italian Riviera, Genoa is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. But Genoa was also one of medieval Europe's major centers of trade and commerce. In Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528, Steven Epstein has written the first comprehensive history of the city that traces its transformation from an obscure port into the capital of a small but thriving republic with an extensive overseas empire. In a series of chronological chapters, Epstein bridges six centuries of medieval and Renaissance history by skillfully interweaving the four threads of political events, economic trends, social conditions, and cultural accomplishments. He provides considerable new evidence on social themes and also examines other subjects important to Genoa's development, such as religion, the Crusades, the city's long and combative relations with the Muslim world, the environment, and epidemic disease, giving this book a scope that encompasses the entire Mediterranean. Along with the nobles and merchants who governed the city, Epstein profiles the ordinary men and women of Genoa. Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528 displays the full richness and eclectic nature of the Genoese people during their most vibrant centuries.

About the Author

Steven A. Epstein is professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His books include Wage Labor and Guilds in Medieval Europe and Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy.
For more information about Steven A. Epstein, visit the Author Page.


"This book has much to offer specialists in Italian history and students of the medieval city in general."--Speculum

"A learned and intriguing book that touches on issues central to our understanding of the economic history of Genoa. Equally important, it touches upon issues central to our understanding of the rise and economic transformation of the European economy from the medieval period to modern times. . . . It is necessary reading for anyone interested in getting a better view of the historical evolution of the European economy and polity."--Journal of Economic History

"A milestone in medieval Italian history. . . . This book is a must read for specialists of medieval and early modern Italy, and highly recommendable to anyone interested in the period."--Sixteenth Century Journal

"This book fills a gaping hole in the literature on medieval and Renaissance Italy, at long last giving its due to a city-state that played a central role in the political and economic history of the Mediterranean. Genoa's history is notoriously intricate, but Steven Epstein has produced order out of chaos; this is a work of lasting value, thoughtful, scholarly, and also readable."--David Abulafia, Cambridge University

"A full-length, English-written history of medieval Genoa has been a desideratum for a very long time. In his Genoa and the Genoese, Steven Epstein valiantly sets out to fill this gap. His overall success is remarkable. . . . Genoa and the Genoese holds the promise of becoming the history of medieval Genoa in the foreseeable future."--Benjamin Z. Kedar, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem