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Join Elaine Ruffolo for an unhindered gaze into court life in Mantua. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Italy gradually fragmented into numerous little territories with unique political systems. Debilitating violence all too often ensued as the leading families fought with fellow citizens for dominance of the city. A common outcome from the 13th century onwards was the imposition of autocratic rule by a single prince and by the 15th century, most of Italy was organized around princely courts.