This book examines what market justice really meant for ordinary Venetians, both in the courtroom and out on the street. How was the law enforced in terms of policing and court procedures and how did this alter the nature of justice? How did individuals and families adjust their strategies to fit into the institutional framework of public authorities and private interests? The book begins with the public authority at the heart of the Rialto markets, the Giustizia Vecchia. A central institution in the life of Venetian people of all ranks, its original name of Giustizia – justice – suggests that it may have represented what most Venetians understood by that word. In a literal sense, it was the Justice of Venice. The chapter also introduces the concepts of shadow economy, market justice, urban economy, and political order.
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