Aim of this article is to discuss and reconsider the role of violence and brutality in the countryside of northern and central Italy between the last decades of XI and the XII century. In this period seigneurial power in the countryside extended over more people, with the imposing of new and heavier dues; the countryside divided itself in different blocs of territorial lordships. In this framework, charaterized by a proliferation of local wars, a new violence in the relationships between lords (and more in general between autonomous political players) did go hand in hand with a new brutality in the relationships with subjects. Exercise of power and exercise of violence seems now deeply interconnected, in a way well different from the past. Habits of costraint and brutality, direct and unmediated coercive force on subjects acquired indeed a new centrality in the social practices, but also in the ideology of power and in the political culture of italian countryside.
Keywords: Violence, lordship, peasant society, feudal revolution, political languages, war