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State Cash Resources and State Building in Europe 13th-18th century

Katia Béguin
Anne L. Murphy

Tax or Borrow or Borrow and Tax?

Fiscal Redistribution, War and State-Building in Sixteenth-Century Lombardy

Matteo Di Tullio

Note de l’auteur

This chapter is the result of several research projects on the finances of the state of Milan that I have carried out in recent years. For the purpose of synthesis, I have kept the bibliographical references to a minimum, referring in that respect to M. Di Tullio, ‘L’estimo di Carlo V (1543–1599) e il perticato del 1558. Per un riesame delle riforme fiscali nello stato di Milano del secondo Cinquecento’, Società e Storia, 131, 2011, pp. 1–35, and M. Di Tullio and L. Fois, Stati di guerra. I bilanci della Lombardia francese del primo Cinquecento, Rome, École française de Rome, 2014.

Texte intégral


  • 1 G. Chittolini, A. Molho and P. Schiera (ed.), Origini dello Stato. Processi di formazione statale i (...)

1From the end of the fifteenth century until the second half of the sixteenth century, the state of Milan was embroiled in a long series of wars, with constant changes in the dominant power, and the redefinition of its borders. These factors of instability were closely linked to new and increasingly expensive ways of waging war, and to the structuring of the administrative bodies of the state.1 For these reasons, this period was particularly important for Milan’s public finances, which had to adapt to new burdens, support unforeseen and extraordinary expenditures, and reform in order to escape a spiral into debt, with taxes as the primary support.

  • 2 G. Coppola, ‘L’agricoltura di alcune pievi della pianura irrigua milanese nei dati catastali della (...)
  • 3 G. Vigo, Fisco e società nella Lombardia del Cinquecento, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1979.

2This chapter aims to analyse the financial and fiscal situation of sixteenth-century Milan with regard to three typical elements of the period: wars, state-building, and the successive domination of Italian and foreign rulers. I propose to study Milan’s finances between the end of the Middle Ages and the start of the modern era, overcoming the traditional lacunae in the historiography to reconsider the aims and outcome of the fiscal reforms of the second half of the sixteenth century, particularly from the time of the estimo (census) of Charles V (1543).2 The estimo was a unique attempt to estimate the wealth of the various provinces of Lombardy in order to ensure that the mensuale3a new tax introduced by the emperor – was apportioned as fairly as possible. The census conducted by Charles V and the associated tax reforms were in fact subject to protracted criticism and argument that emerged in the eighteenth century and were repeated with little critical scrutiny by much of the historiography. In that sense, they maintained the conventional view of evil Spanish domination in Italy, which was not called into question until recently.

3I propose to analyse the reforms introduced by Charles V as a result of the changing state of Milan’s finances from the final years of the Sforza government and under the various dominant regimes that characterized the period of the ‘Italian wars’ (1494–1559). Our knowledge of Lombardy’s finances in that period is admittedly quite inadequate, owing to the loss of the documentation of one of the main government institutions (the Senate) and the break-up of the records produced by the financial institutions (the magistrati in charge of ordinary and extraordinary revenues).

  • 4 With the exception of Philippe Hamon, L’argent du roi. Les finances sous François Ier, Paris, Comit (...)
  • 5 Published by M. Di Tullio and L. Fois, Stati di guerra…, op. cit.
  • 6 F. Chabod, Lo Stato e la vita religiosa a Milano nell’epoca di Carlo V, Turin, Einaudi, 1971; G. Vi (...)

4For these reasons, my research – and the collection of published and unpublished information on the Sforza governments between the end of the fifteenth century and 1535 – is based on a series of Milan state budgets compiled between the two periods of French domination (Louis XII, from 1499 to 1512, and Francis I, from 1515 to 1522). These are little known in French historiography and practically unknown in Italian research.4 An analysis of these valuable sources, preserved in the National Archives in Paris (Archives nationales [AN], series J 910, n. 1, 4 and 6),5 has enabled us to understand the structure of the revenue and expenditures of the political centre of the state of Milan and to consider how war and state-building affected its financial position. On the one hand, Lombardy’s continual military involvement in the Italian peninsula and the rising administrative costs drove up ‘ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary’ expenditures, and on the other hand, these escalating costs increased the tax burden and the debt, ultimately leading to the large-scale sale of public revenues.6 In other words, expenditures continued to grow while the real income of the Milan tax chamber was shrinking, in a period of very high inflation.

  • 7 G. Chittolini, ‘Fiscalité d’État et prérogatives urbaines dans le duché de Milan à la fin du Moyen (...)

5Research on the Milan budgets – combining the French data with some fragments concerning the periods of the Sforza and Spanish domination – was conducted in tandem with a reconstruction of the Lombardy fiscal system, considering the typical breakdown of taxation between the centre and the periphery (via the ‘solidarity’ system), and the nature of the taxes. That reconstruction shows the fiscal system that was inherited by Charles V in 1535, and it reveals the share of revenues transferred to individuals. Thanks to the plentiful documentation on the creation of the estimo preserved in the Milan State Archives (ASMi), it was possible to gain a better understanding of the aims of the imperial tax reform. In fact, this chapter shows that the estimo of Charles V was only one of the fiscal reforms (even under the government of Philip II) that led to the overhaul of the Spanish tax system. This new regime broke with the system of the Sforza, which had progressively alienated its revenues for cash flow reasons. In contrast, the new Spanish system was controlled by the Milan tax chamber and was built on new ‘direct’ taxes, apportioned on the basis of the new estimo. These operations made it possible to cope with rising costs and to modify the traditional system of Milanese financial administration (loans guaranteed by state revenues and the dominance of ‘indirect’ taxation) and above all overcame the privileges of the towns, particularly Milan.7 The estimo of Charles V and the other tax reforms facilitated the redistribution of part of the burden of the contadi towards the ‘cities’, ending a long tradition.

I. Milanese Finances in the First Half of the Sixteenth Century

6Our understanding of the tax reform processes in the second half of the sixteenth century in Lombardy can be reinforced by analysing state finances in the preceding decades. Involvement in the Italian wars, the changes in the dominant power, and the organization of the administration increasingly weakened the revenues of the ducal chamber, forcing governments to propose new solutions.

  • 8 M. Di Tullio and L. Fois, Stati di guerra…, op. cit., pp. 41–89.

7The aforementioned budgets compiled during the two periods of French domination in Milan are almost the only sources that permit a detailed reconstruction of Milanese finances in the first half of the sixteenth century. This is not the place to delve into the specific nature of the budgets and the decisions on aggregation of the various budget headings.8 It is more useful to analyse the state’s revenues for the years 1510, 1516 and 1518 (table 1).

Table 1. Revenues of the state of Milan in 1510, 1516 and 1518





kg Ag


kg Ag


kg Ag






























Income from assets







Judicial revenues







Loans and gifts







Debt collection







Operating surplus











Source: Archives Nationales de France (AN), J 910, no. 1, 4, 6.

Notes: For this and subsequent tables, the quantity of silver per Milanese lira was derived from F. and E. Gnecchi, Le monete di Milano da Carlo Magno a Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Dumolard, 1884, and ‘The global price and income history group database’ ( In this period, the value was stable at 9.419 grams of silver per lira. A livre tournois was equivalent to 2.4 Milanese lire (livres imperiali).

  • 9 F. Chabod, Lo Stato e la vita religiosa a Milano, op. cit., pp. 106–107.

8The budget revenues are based almost exclusively on taxation, in accordance with a long tradition in Milan. The tax typology is largely similar to that of previous and subsequent periods, up to the introduction of the mensuale, which altered the weight of the burden of ‘direct’ taxes, whereas previously the situation had been more balanced. In 1535, in the twilight of the last Sforza government, that balance was maintained even though, in light of the political and financial instability of the period, it is possible that these proportions often changed.9

  • 10 P. Hamon, L’argent du roi…, op. cit.
  • 11 It is not entirely correct to consider these amounts as the state’s effective taxation capability, (...)

9During the two periods of French domination, the collection of almost all taxes was delegated to the farmer general,10 for a period of four or five years. This is always the first budget heading and it includes the name of the farmer (Alexandre Gamberane in 1510 and Barthélemy Ferrier in 1516 and 1518), the concession date, the gross amount of the contract, and the rebates for sale of revenues or deferral of the payment of charges. The total for the heading is therefore the net income of the tax chamber, which is the same as or very similar to that of the invitation to tender. So in 1510 the contract came to 560,000 livres tournois (± 12,660 kg of fine silver), while the figures were slightly lower than the budgets of Francis I, with a gross total of 660,000 livres t. (± 14,920 kg of silver), and a slightly smaller loss of revenues (–2.9%). The farmer general’s contract excluded the levies from certain peripheral areas of the domain, including Genoa and the county of Asti, and in particular the tassa dei cavalli, which brought in 60,000 livres t. (± 1,355 kg of silver) in 1510, only 20,500 livres t. (± 465 kg of silver) in 1516, and 65,000 livres t. (± 1,470 kg of silver) in 1518. However, in all cases the budget amounts are presented after deduction of the costs of collection or other specific deductions, so that the figure given indicates the actual revenues expected. Apart from this capacity for ordinary taxation, there was also the growing need for extraordinary taxes; having represented around 1.5% of tax revenues in the first two budgets, extraordinary taxes had risen to 23.4% to meet requirements in 1518.11

  • 12 P. Hamon, L’argent du roi…, op. cit.; M. Di Tullio and L. Fois, Stati di guerra…, op. cit.

10On the expenditure side, the biggest item, but the most unstable, concerned military administration, which comprised the wages of serving soldiers, defence of the towns, and the maintenance of the fortifications and munitions. This expenditure varied widely in the three budgets, without being proportionate to the actual presence of troops in Lombardy. While a substantial amount (over 465,000 livres t. or ± 10,510 kg of silver) in 1510 can be linked to the new French military campaign against Venice and the resumption of hostilities in the peninsula, it is surprising that the figure was reduced significantly in 1516 (around 233,000 livres t. or ± 5,260 kg of silver). The new regime of Francis I had in fact been in place for only a few months, and it is likely there were still just as many troops in Milan as in 1510. In an irony of fate, the sums necessary for military administration were much greater in 1518 (around 550,000 livres t. or ± 12,430 kg of silver), following the peace of Noyon, which had marked the end of hostilities with Spain, and – at least temporarily – strengthened the French domination in Milan. For that reason, it is easy to suppose that the budget amounts are not proportionate to the military presence in Lombardy, but instead that the composite structure of the French kingdom and the presence of multiple tax chambers, even in the state of Milan,12 made it possible to spread the military expenditure across the various chambers of the kingdom in accordance with the available resources. In other words, where troops have a greater impact on the Milanese budgets, that can be taken as an indicator of the state of finances in Lombardy. In 1510, this increase in the burden was symptomatic of a consolidated domain that, after several years of peace, had been extended by the annexation of Venetian territories. Conversely, in 1516 the French had recently been installed, and the state of Milan had experienced numerous wars over several years plus, a succession of new sovereigns (Louis XII of France, Maximilian Sforza, Francis I of France). Its finances were then in a very precarious situation. The financial position of the state as shown by its revenues became stable within a few years thanks to the increase in ordinary taxes and the raising of extraordinary levies, so that the military costs borne by the Milanese could again become more significant (table 2).

Table 2. Summary of expenditure for the years 1510, 1516 and 1518





kg Ag


kg Ag


kg Ag
















Politics and justice














Food administration







Miscellaneous administration







Pensions and gifts







Reimbursement of tax revenues







Miscellaneous expenditures







Liabilities brought forward from previous year











Source: AN, J 910, n. 1, 4, 6.

11The second biggest item among the administrative expenses, though nothing like the cost of war, was political and judicial expenditures. The increase of around 80% in those expenditures between the 1510 budget and the other two budgets was due to the constant enlargement of the Senate. Whereas in 1499 there had been provision for 17 senators, in 1510 the number had already risen to 22. Moreover, there were 10 notaries (also known as secretaries), 4 bailiffs, and a ‘chauffe-cire’ to conduct the business of the Senate. However, from 1516 the number of senators increased again to a total of 36, with 11 notaries and 8 bailiffs. That is why expenditure on politics and justice increased from less than 23,000 livres t. (± 520 kg of silver) in 1510 to around 40,000 livres t. (± 905 kg of silver) in 1516 and 1518, against the backdrop of an expanding bureaucracy that continued to grow with the second restoration of the Sforza. The fragmentary information on ‘ordinary’ expenditures in 1525 and 1535 seems clear from the figures given in table 3.

Table 3. ‘Ordinary’ expenditures of the state of Milan under Francesco II Sforza

Ordinary expenditures



kg Ag


kg Ag








Politics and Justice








Food administration



Miscellaneous administration



Pensions and gifts




Miscellaneous expenditure



Local officers





Source: ASMi, Registri Ducali, reg. 26, ff. 121r.–122r., 123r., 127r.–129v.

12If these tendencies are compared to the French budgets, a similar finding emerges for financial administration, the costs for wich increased by around 40% between the government of Louis XII and that of Francis I. The increase in the number of officials in the central administration determined increases in expenditures, particularly in the tax chambers (ordinary taxes, extraordinary taxes and salt taxes). The number of members of these three chambers increased from 65 in 1510 to 101 in subsequent periods, even though these officers were responsible for the same territory (for several chambers, the border changes had not altered the geography of the Milanese administration). The expansion of the staff of the tax chambers may be linked to the state’s desire to improve its tax capability, but the almost perfect proportions of the growth of the three chambers (from 27 to 45 for the collection of ordinary revenues, from 17 to 21 for the salt revenues, and from 21 to 35 for the extraordinary revenues), matched by the same expansion in the Senate, tend to suggest a different motivation – construction of a political consensus rather than the state-building process.

13However, to sum up, the cost of administration represented a much larger proportion of total expenditures under Louis XII, which implies that Milan’s finances were in a better state during that period. Although war and defence represented a significant proportion, the fact that almost three-quarters of expenditures were used for the operation of the state (under the sovereign headings of defence, the collection of taxes and the administration of justice) points to a substantial capacity for ‘ordinary’ expenditures. In contrast, the reduction in the incidence of these costs under Francis I, even taking into account the absolute increase in the amounts, shows the need to divert a growing quantity of money from ‘ordinary’ expenditures to other expenditures, revealing the general economic precariousness and political and military uncertainty of the state of Milan. A substantial difference between the two periods was indeed the need for money to build the consensus, i.e. spending on pensions and gifts. To sum up, those costs are closely linked to the political events of the period, and they indicate the soundness of the finances of the state of Milan.

14With regard to the processes mentioned on several occasions (war and the sale of tax revenues), there is another major expenditure, specifically under Francis I: reimbursement for taxes not collected. Those expenditures, which were minimal in the 1510 budget (0.5% of the total), became considerable in the 1516 budget (34% of the total) and were only slightly lower in 1518. What has just been described is merely the tip of the iceberg, because this phenomenon has much wider implications: every year, in fact, a large proportion of tax revenues were alienated, and that contributed to the increasingly dramatic reduction in the tax base of the state. On the one hand, construction of the administrative machinery of the state and the growing complexity of war operations made it essential to find new sources of revenue. On the other hand, recourse to the sale of tax revenues to obtain money to meet urgent needs limited the funds available for the ‘ordinary’ running of the state.

15In 1535, in the context described above, Charles V took over Milan. The emperor found that he needed to increase taxation, a few years after the French and the Sforza, but he had to combine a process of rebalancing the tax burden between the bodies of the state: this was the estimo generale.

II. The Estimo Generale and Fiscal Reforms during the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century

  • 13 During the second half of the sixteenth century the mensuale represented about 50% of the state’s t (...)

16The estimo generale, officially introduced by the governor, the Marquis del Vasto, on 7 September 1543, was created to rebalance the mensuale, a new extraordinary tax that subsequently stabilized to become the most productive tax and to serve as the basis for the apportionment of the new extraordinary taxes.13 Normally, the mensuale, the amount of which was fixed centrally, was apportioned between the cities and their territories (the contadi) and then between the local tax authorities, which were jointly and severally liable to the tax chamber. The aim of the estimo generale, apart from apportionment among the local tax authorities, was to determine the ratios for the first stage of the apportionment of the taxes between the contadi and the cities, but also to define a consolidated system for the apportionment of the extraordinary taxes.

17The estimo generale comprised two different estimi: the stabili (i.e. the record of the status of the agricultural land divided by communities or local tax authorities) and the mercimonio (merchandise). After a difficult period of debate on the need for the estimo generale, the nature of wealth, and more generally, fair taxation, the assessment operation concentrated mainly on agricultural land, with measurement beginning in 1549–1552 and being completed in 1558. There then began a new phase of discussion on the commercial value attributed to the various lands but, for the most urgent needs of the Milan tax chamber, the estimo degli stabili was approved in 1564, as was the definition of new ratios for the apportionment of the mensuale. Assessing the merchandise was a much longer and more complicated operation, so that the first apportionment of the mensuale according to the estimo generale was not completed until 1599.

18The estimo of Charles V attracted a great deal of criticism, especially as it was thought to be irrelevant because it left the system of tax burdens intact. We cannot analyse that question in detail here; we can only say that the new assessment was not intended to revolutionize the tax system in Milan, but rather to establish new units for raising taxes in order to meet the growing needs of the tax system. The emperor was not aiming at fair taxation pure and simple. He took a pragmatic approach, based on the realization that it was impossible for the state’s tax authorities to bear a burden of taxation based on a system created by negotiation and incorporating privileges inherited from the Sforza. However, the criticism of the estimo generale was simply reiterated in much of the historiography, in line with the criticism of the Spanish domination of the state of Milan, and it is only very recently that we have seen a partial reversal of that tendency.

19To address this question, we can assess in a little more detail the process of the apportionment of the new tax. Specifically, we need to make the transition from the straightforward provincial apportionment of the mensuale – as traditionally presented in the historiography – to the burdens on the various towns and the relationship between them and their territories (the contadi). The estimo generale, in fact, made it possible greatly to increase the mensuale payable by the towns, whose contribution went up by around 8% during the period, or 24,000 écus out of 300,000. That is a substantial amount if we consider that it was almost equivalent to a doubling of the tassa dei cavalli imposed in 1558 (28,000 écus au soleil), or, if we prefer, about half the tasso della cavalleria (54,000 écus au soleil) created in 1561 and originally payable only by the contadi (figure 1).

Figure 1. Apportionment of the mensuale between towns and contadi before and after application of the estimo generale

Figure 1. Apportionment of the mensuale between towns and contadi before and after application of the estimo generale

Source: M. Di Tullio, L’estimo di Carlo V, op. cit., p. 16.

20However, the question is not entirely resolved in those terms, because there is another point to consider: the share of the mensuale paid by the city of Milan. From 1559, the state governor (the duke of Sessa) made the Ambrosian capital pay part of the mensuale for the provinces of Pavia, Novare, Cremona and Lodi for lands owned by Milanese citizens in these territories (known as interessati). Therefore, to obtain an accurate assessment of the burden of the new tax, we need to subtract these amounts from the shares of the provinces and add them to those of Milan, particularly the Ambrosian capital. The assessment process then reveals a very different result (table 4).

Table 4. Share of the mensuale with correct imputation of the interessati




Change in %


kg Ag


kg Ag

Ecù %




























































Source: Our calculations according to various documents in ASMi, Censo p.a., cartt. 1, 14, 15, 17, 309.

21These figures show the partial success of the estimo generale, with a redistribution of the burdens and a reduction in the contribution of the contadi. However, that assumption is only partly correct, because we must consider at least two questions that assist in gaining a better understanding of the situation. The first concerns the context of the rest of the taxes levied, which – as I have explained – continued to be payable mostly by the contadi and the value of which continued to rise steadily. For example, the tassa dei cavalla doubled, and was borne by rural communities, which contributed much of the total amount. Nevertheless, there was also a change in the tax burden for the financing of the armies, even to the detriment of the towns. For example, in 1561, when the tasso della cavalleria had been introduced, a governor’s decree transferred part of the cost of military quartering facilities to the towns. Ten years later, the towns had to tolerate paying two-thirds of the tasso della cavalleria collected in the entire state. Moreover, 1597 saw the first systematic attempt to rebalance the quartering costs via the famous, though complicated, mechanism of the equalanza. If we consider the overall trend in the tax burden imposed on the town of Cremona between 1565 and 1601, the progressive involvement of the towns in supporting military expenditures becomes clear (figure 2).

Figure 2. Level of the mensuale and military levies imposed on Cremona 1565–1601 (value in écus au soleil)

Figure 2. Level of the mensuale and military levies imposed on Cremona 1565–1601 (value in écus au soleil)

Source: M. Di Tullio, L’estimo di Carlo V, op. cit., p. 18.

22The other key dimension is the division between the urban and rural estimi, and specifically the apportionment of the payment of the charges on city-dwellers’ country properties, which was changed in the second half of the sixteenth century. Despite repeated decisions in favour of the rural population, rural properties owned by city-dwellers continued to be listed with those of the town in the civil estimo, reducing the tax base of the rural communities. Finally, we must briefly take into account the detailed arrangements for the actual apportionment of the mensuale among the members of the communities, because the local criteria very often differed from the original ones. But these are very complicated questions and are of marginal relevance to the issue we are discussing here.

23Apart from the quantitative data, the history of the estimo generale is emblematic of an important process of reform and redistribution of the tax burden, which took place on several fronts and was a lasting feature of the history of Milan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These operations focused specifically on military, ordinary and – above all – extraordinary charges. The aim was to rebalance the tax burden across the whole domain, notably to the detriment of the city-dwellers’ privileges. However, the continuity of these tax reform measures was due more to awareness that it was impossible for many rural communities to afford the new increase in taxation, than to any idea of a fair tax system.

24In some respects, the estimo of Charles V played a role in creating a Spanish tax system – and more generally, in the process of state-building – which was superimposed on the one inherited from the Sforza. The new tax system, based mainly on the mensuale, the extraordinary military taxes, and the equalanza, was built according to the existing fiscal principles, but introduced a fairer (i.e. more sustainable) apportionment of taxation. This new tax system, which remained under the direct control of the tax chamber, was the only way to continue the process of state-building in sixteenth-century Lombardy.


1 G. Chittolini, A. Molho and P. Schiera (ed.), Origini dello Stato. Processi di formazione statale in Italia fra Medioevo ed età moderna, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1994; G. Parker, The military revolution. Military innovation and the rise of the West, 1500–1800, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988.

2 G. Coppola, ‘L’agricoltura di alcune pievi della pianura irrigua milanese nei dati catastali della metà del secolo XVI’, in M. Romani (ed.), Contributi dell’Istituto di storia economica e sociale, vol. I, Aspetti di vita agricola lombarda (secc. XVIXIX), Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 1973, pp. 185–286; A. Zappa, ‘Il paesaggio pavese. Campagne, Lomellina e Oltrepò, attraverso le fonti catastali della metà del ‘500’, Nuova Rivista Storica, a. LXX (1986), fasc. I–II, pp. 33–106.

3 G. Vigo, Fisco e società nella Lombardia del Cinquecento, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1979.

4 With the exception of Philippe Hamon, L’argent du roi. Les finances sous François Ier, Paris, Comité pour l’histoire économique et financière de la France, 1994; P. Hamon, ‘L’Italie finance-t-elle les guerres d’Italie?’, in Jean Balsamo (ed.), Passer les monts. Français en Italie. L’Italie en France 1494–1525, papers from the 10th International Conference of the Société française d’étude du XVIe siècle (Paris-Reims, 1995), Geneva Slatkine-Champion, 1998, pp. 25–37; P. Hamon, ‘Aspects administratifs de la présence française en Milanais sous Louis XII’, in P. Contamine and J. Guillaume (ed.), Louis XII en Milanais: guerre et politique, art et culture, Paris, Éditions Picard, 2003, pp. 109–127; L. Arcangeli, ‘Esperimenti di governo: politica fiscale e consenso a Milano nell’età di Luigi XII’, in L. Arcangeli (ed.), Milano e Luigi XII. Ricerche sul primo dominio francese in Lombardia (1499–1512), Milan, Franco Angeli, 2002, pp. 253–339; S. Meschini, La seconda dominazione francese nel ducato di Milano. La politica e gli uomini di Francesco I (1515–1521), Varzi, Guardamagna, 2014.

5 Published by M. Di Tullio and L. Fois, Stati di guerra…, op. cit.

6 F. Chabod, Lo Stato e la vita religiosa a Milano nell’epoca di Carlo V, Turin, Einaudi, 1971; G. Vigo, Fisco e società…, op. cit.; F. Leverotti, ‘La crisi finanziaria del ducato di Milano alla fine del Quattrocento’, in Milano nell’età di Ludovico il Moro, Milan, Comune di Milano, Archivio storico civico e Biblioteca trivulziana, 1983, pp. 585–632; L. Faccini, La Lombardia fra ‘600 e ‘700. Riconversione economica e mutamenti sociali, Milano, Franco Angeli, 1988; G. Chittolini, ‘Alienazioni d’entrate e concessioni feudali nel Ducato sforzesco’, in Città, comunità e feudi negli stati dell’Italia centro-settentrionale (secoli XIVXVI), Milan, Unicopli, 1996, pp. 145–166; G. De Luca, ‘Debito pubblico, mercato finanziario ed economia reale nel ducato di Milano e nella Repubblica di Venezia tra XVI e XVII secolo’, in G. De Luca and A. Moioli (ed.), Debito pubblico e mercati finanziari in Italia (secc. XIIIXIX), Milan, Franco Angeli, 2007, pp. 119–146.

7 G. Chittolini, ‘Fiscalité d’État et prérogatives urbaines dans le duché de Milan à la fin du Moyen Âge’, in P. Contamine, J. Kerhervé and A. Rigaudière (ed.), L’impôt au Moyen Âge: l’impôt public et le prélèvement seigneurial, fin XIIe–début XVIe siècle, vol. I: Le droit d’imposer, Paris, Comité pour l’histoire économique et financière de la France, 1994, pp. 147–176.

8 M. Di Tullio and L. Fois, Stati di guerra…, op. cit., pp. 41–89.

9 F. Chabod, Lo Stato e la vita religiosa a Milano, op. cit., pp. 106–107.

10 P. Hamon, L’argent du roi…, op. cit.

11 It is not entirely correct to consider these amounts as the state’s effective taxation capability, because it is necessary to deduct the parts already recorded in the expenditure as having been repaid.

12 P. Hamon, L’argent du roi…, op. cit.; M. Di Tullio and L. Fois, Stati di guerra…, op. cit.

13 During the second half of the sixteenth century the mensuale represented about 50% of the state’s total budget according to our calculations, based on M. Rizzo, ‘Finanza pubblica, Impero e amministrazione nella Lombardia spagnola: le “visitas generals”’, in P. Pissavino and G. Signorotto (ed.), Lombardia spagnola e Lombardia Borromaica, Roma, Bulzoni Editore, 1995, vol. I, pp. 303–361 (pp. 342–354).

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Apportionment of the mensuale between towns and contadi before and after application of the estimo generale
Légende Source: M. Di Tullio, L’estimo di Carlo V, op. cit., p. 16.
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Titre Figure 2. Level of the mensuale and military levies imposed on Cremona 1565–1601 (value in écus au soleil)
Légende Source: M. Di Tullio, L’estimo di Carlo V, op. cit., p. 18.
Fichier image/jpeg, 67k


Research Fellow at Bocconi University (Milan, Italy), where he teaches economic history, Matteo Di Tullio is a member of the Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy) and an associate member of the CEHRIO (Rennes 2 University, France). His principal fields of research are the history of the dynamics of the concentration and distribution of wealth, the history of the management of resources (environmental and economic) in local communities, rural history, the history of tax and finance, and demographic history in the pre-industrial era. He has recently published: The wealth of communities, war, resources and cooperation in Renaissance Lombardy, Farnham, Ashgate, 2014; (with L. Fois) Stati di Guerra. I bilanci della Lombardia francese del primo Cinquecento, Rome, École française de Rome, 2014; (avec G. Alfani et L. Mocarelli, dir.) Storia economica e ambiente italiano (ca. 1400–1850), Milan, Franco Angeli, 2012.

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