In nearly all independent cities of northern and central Italy, the chief administrative and judicial official. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the emperor appointed thepodestà; after the 13th cen-tury the citizens of the commune themselves appointed him. The podestà normally convened the governing council and prepared its agenda, but the council had ultimate authority, and he was merely the head of the administrative and judicial system. Quite early, it became usual to prohibit appointment of local men. It seemed safer to bring in a citizen from another Italian city who would not have family and political ties to local factions. Legislation forbade the podestà to re-ceive gifts or even to be the dinner guest of a citizen. Terms of office were short, usually six months or a year, and the podestà was not nor-mally granted a second consecutive term. University training in law was desirable but not essential. Noble rank was ordinarily required. In the larger cities, the duties of the office were limited to judicial matters-control of the local police and the courts.
   Although the office of podestà was powerful, the shortness of the term and the civilian nature of the office usually prevented the office-holder from acquiring independent political authority. Only one of the dynasties of Italian signori, the Este rulers of Ferrara, used the office of podestà as a springboard for seizing power. The other high office normally given to foreigners, the military position of capitano del popólo, was the usual institutional avenue leading to despotic gov-ernment. The ruling princes of the 15th century often abolished the of-fice of podestà and brought the judicial and police power under their di-rect control. The title podestà was also used for purely judicial officers in smaller, subordinate cities lying within the larger territorial states.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Podesta — Podestà bezeichnet: Podestà, ein gewählter Administrator einer Gemeinde In der Adelsrepublik Venedig der Leiter eines Bezirks, siehe Dogado Podesta (Insel), eine Phantominsel Palazzo del Podestà (Bologna), Palast in Bologna Podesta oder Podestà… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • podestá — n. Persona que ejercía la *autoridad suprema en algunas ciudades italianas. ≃ Potestad. * * * ► masculino Magistrado medieval de las ciudades de Italia central y septentrional encargado del orden y de la justicia. * * * (italiano: poder).… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • podesta — [pō΄des tä′, pō′des tä΄] n. [It podestà < L potestas, power < potis, able: see POTENT] 1. a chief magistrate of a medieval Italian town 2. a minor official in an Italian town …   English World dictionary

  • Podesta — Po*des ta, n. [It. podest[ a], fr. L. potestas power, magistracy. See {Potent}.] [1913 Webster] 1. One of the chief magistrates of the Italian republics in the Middle Ages. Brande & C. [1913 Webster] 2. A mayor, alderman, or other magistrate, in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Podestà — (ital.), in Italien die erste obrigkeitliche Person einer Stadt, so v.w. Bürgermeister. In den italienischen Republiken des Mittelalters hatten die P. oft die höchste Gewalt im Staat …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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  • podesta — podestá s.m. sg. (înv.) guvernator al unui oraş în Italia medievală. Trimis de blaurb, 05.10.2006. Sursa: DAR …   Dicționar Român

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