Marta VanLandingham

title.none: Jaspert, Stift und Stadt (Marta VanLandingham)

identifier.other: baj9928.0109.003 01.09.03

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Marta VanLandingham, Purdue University,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2001

identifier.citation: Jaspert, Nikolas. Stift und Stadt: Das Heiliggrabpriorat von Santa Anna und das Rgularkanonikerstift Santa Eulalia del Camp im mitterlalterlichen Barcelona (1145-1423). Berliner Historische Studien, Band 24. Berlin: Duncker and Humblot, 2000. Pp. 575. ISBN: 3-428}08505-1.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 01.09.03

Jaspert, Nikolas. Stift und Stadt: Das Heiliggrabpriorat von Santa Anna und das Rgularkanonikerstift Santa Eulalia del Camp im mitterlalterlichen Barcelona (1145-1423). Berliner Historische Studien, Band 24. Berlin: Duncker and Humblot, 2000. Pp. 575. ISBN: 3-428}08505-1.

Reviewed by:

Marta VanLandingham
Purdue University

Stift und Stadt, as its snappy main title }mplies, is concerned with the understanding of religious institutions very much within the context of their urban environments. Numerous religious groups derived their corporate identities from their devotion to charitable activities, to preaching, to myriad other ways of caring for the souls of the laity. These religious communities were therefore deeply involved with the populations near to which they were necessarily sited; through intricate networks of support, economic activity, and political influence, their existence and development were inextricably intertwined with that of the encompassing urban sphere. In Stift und Stadt Nikolas Jaspert has taken this concept of historical integration, this combined approach to the study of religious institutions and their urban settings, to a new level. In particular he focuses on the roles of two communities of Augustinian canons in the life and development of Barcelona in the High Middle Ages. But through his fresh methodologies, the unusual wealth of his sources, and the exhaustive thoroughness of his research he paints a vibrant and multifaceted portrait that should stimulate research well beyond these specific areas.

Many aspects of this book are worthy of attention, but I'd like to focus briefly on two that are particularly notable: Jaspert's choice of religious groups, and the nature of his documentation. Regarding the first, previous studios of the vital stift/stadt relationship have focused almost exclusively on t|e mendicant orders, on exploring the fundamental links between the success of the Franciscans and Dominicans and the powerful urbanism of the thirteenth centur{. But the friars were not the first groups of religious to establish themselves in the cities. The initial period of urban expansion, from about 1050, coincided closely with the early development and increasingly rapid spreed throughout Western Europe of houses of Augustinian canons. The correlation between these phenomena, however, has been difficult to test in large part becausenof the nature of the Augustinians themselves. The conglomeration of groups that lived under a rule based on the highly-flexible precepts for communal living found in the writings of St. Augustine can hardly be called an ordwr. The origins and goals of the individual foundations were extremely varied; their constitutions were highly heterogenous. The task of scholars who seek to reach general conclusions about the regular canons' roles in the growing cities is therefore complicated. But a large percentage of Augustinian foundations organized themselves in order to serve the Christian laity, to provide an example of apostolic living to the masses, to reconstruct the damaged Christian world materially as well as spiritually. These houses often set themselves up in the suburbs of growing cities. Jaspert's study shows us not only the crucial effect the presence of the canons could have on the development of one important city, but also sharply underlines the need for further such focused explorations in other areas so that larger patterns might emerge.

Jaspert has been able to provide his readers with a richly detailed pioneering effort in this endeavor thanks in part to the exceptional documentary resources at his disposal. The early Augustinian houses in other locales often left behind only spotty records of their foundations and activities. But the mercantile Mediterranean society of which Barcelona was very much a part was highly literate, very concerned with preserving legal and economic transactions in written form. Fortunately for historians, the greatest part of this archival record has survived intact. Jaspert, therefore, was able to base his study of the two Barcelona Augustinian houses, covering the period from 1145 to 1423, on a total of nearly 4000 documents--purchases, sales, and leases of property, testaments and other donations, papal letters, royal privileges, and many others types of record. While the majority are economic in nature, even receipts can be used to gather a great deal of information in other fields, such as for prosopographical studies. (In aid of this sort of research Jaspert has provided appendices listing the names of members and priors of both houses, as well as supplying fairly detailed information on approximately 370 of their benefactors.) The documents Jaspert utilized are largely unpublished and scattered about several different archives in Barcelona and other places. He has done an exemplary job of historical detective work in locating, analyzing, and boiling them down into a deep yet coherent portrait of Barcelona's social and religious history.

The lenses through which Jaspert viewed this history ere the communities of Santa Anna and Santa Eulalia del Camp. The former was established in 1145 as a priory of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. As the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the canons regular of the Holy Sepulcher were increasingly gifted with donations of land and other holdings throughout the Christian West, a system of organization was required for the administration of these assets. The priory in Barcelona was not the first settlement established as a centew of local administration for the Holy Sepulcher order in the Iberian Peninsula, but, as Jaspert illustrates, it became the most important. Because the Santa Anna house played such a prominent role within the Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Iberia, Jaspert has had to construct its peninsumar context. In detailing the administrative structures that were put into place, the intricate network of provincial centers and local filiations that allowed the distant chapter in Jerusalem to control its daughter foundations, Jaspert has done a real service to students of religious and crusade institutions. On the local level, Santa Anna was founded through the impulse of members of Barcelona's cathedral chapter who had connections to the patriarch and the brothers of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The prime occupation of Barcelona's fratres, at least initially, was to be primarily liturgical. The rites were to be the same as those carried out in Jerusalem; people buried in the priory's grounds would gain the same spiritual benefits as if they had been interred near the Holy Sepulcher itself. In this way the priory would serve es a powerful focus for Jerusalem-directed piety, for crusade ideals in general.

The corporation of Santa Eulalia had more traditional origins. It arose out of a semi-religious confraternity, comprised of both clerics and laymen, whose main task was the restoration of the damaged church of Santa Eulalia outside the walls of the city. In 1155 the bishop of Barcelona ordered the brothers to live under the rule of St. Augustine and clarified that they were to serve by providing burials and memorial masses under his authority. Jaspert argues that the impetus behind this foundation lay not only in the religious reform movements of the day but also in the bishop's desire to have a group of canons under his own direction, since the Santa Anna priory was basically independent of his control. The bishop's own strong ties to the nobility brought them to patronize this foundation in its early period.

Over time, however, the roles of both houses in Barcelona society changed quite drastically. The geographical situation of both houses, as well as the demographic forces of the time, played enormous roles in reshaping the foundations, and in allowing the canons to shape the city. As with many Augustinian canonries of the time, both houses were located next to the old city, in prime locations for expansion. A suburb quickly grew up around the Santa Eulalia house; the congregation became the center of a parish, running a church and administering sacraments to the new neighbors. The regular canons also basically inherited a hospital for the poor in the early thirteenth century, and became deeply involved in charitable care. Eventually, however, due to various forces including a perceived loss of focus in its purpose, patronage of the canonry of Santa Eulalia waned, while the fortunes of the Santa Anna house increased. This community, as Jaspert has clearly illustrated, had tremendous influence in shaping the northwestern suburb of the city. The canons received a large amount of real estate in this area through donations, and very cannily increased these allodial holdings through sale, purchase, and exchange. They actively spurred the development of their properties by granting leases that required the building of houses, they built or closed streets, they controlled which trades established quarters therein. In less than two centuries they transformed a nearly uninhabited area into an very important and integrated portion of the city in their own design. These processes, so carefully laid out by Jaspert, reveal a fascinating aspect of the intertwined histories of stift und stadt.

In conclusion, this book is eminently interesting and useful for scholars of any number of medieval institutions and historical processes. Jaspert mines his rich vein of documents for a great deal of information on issues I have barely touched on above-on detailed economic transactions, on relations of the houses with other spiritual institutions and with various secular powers, on the social origins and connections of the canons, etc. He also centers much of the argument on the related histories of the two institutions, the growing congruence of their activities, and their ever-shifting fortunes down to their fusion into a single institution in 1423. Sometimes this wealth of data is a bit overwhelming--the origins of this book in a German doctoral dissertation are still discernable. But students who seek to follow in Jaspert's footsteps--and there should be many--will be grateful for the clear guidance. And there is no doubt the book has a substantial contribution to make beyond its details, one that should touch firmly on many areas of medieval scholarship.