contributor.author: David N. Foote

title.none: Andrews, Egger, and Rousseau, eds., Pope, Church and City (David N. Foote)

identifier.other: baj9928.0508.008 05.08.08

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: David N. Foote, University of St. Thomas, DNFoote@stthomas.edu

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2005

identifier.citation: Andrews, Frances, Christoph Egger, and Constance M. Rousseau, eds. Pope, Church and City: Essays in Honour of Brenda M. Bolton. Series: The Medieval Mediterranean: Peoples, Economies and Cultures, 400-1500, vol. 56. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Pp. xxxvii, 398. $161.00 90-04-14019-0. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 05.08.08

Andrews, Frances, Christoph Egger, and Constance M. Rousseau, eds. Pope, Church and City: Essays in Honour of Brenda M. Bolton. Series: The Medieval Mediterranean: Peoples, Economies and Cultures, 400-1500, vol. 56. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Pp. xxxvii, 398. $161.00 90-04-14019-0. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

David N. Foote
University of St. Thomas
DNFoote@stthomas.edu

The center of gravity for this collection of essays is Brenda Bolton and her work on Italian religious movements, Rome, and the papacy. As Frances Andrews writes in the introduction, the essays in this book "move in concentric circles, from the pope to the inner world of the curia, to the city of Rome and the outer circles of the church and the urban society surrounding it." Likewise, "the contributors to this volume are linked in concentric circles of friendship and academic endeavor, at the heart of which stands the life and work of Brenda Bolton" (10). This book represents an important contribution for Italianists working on Rome, the papacy, and more generally, the life of urban communities. It is remarkable for its continuities and the way in which issues and themes resonate throughout the book. While any given reader will find certain articles more relevant than others for their own work, the book possesses a richness and depth that makes the collection as a whole a profitable read.

The book begins with a summary of Bolton's career by Barrie Dobson and an introductory essay by Frances Andrews. The eighteen essays that follow are organized in five sections. Part One contains four essays on Innocent III. In "The Growling of the Lion and the Humming of the Fly: Gregory the Great and Innocent III," Christopher Egger examines sermon literature to discuss the way in which the works of Pope Gregory the Great influenced Innocent III's spiritual concerns and outlook. At the end of the essay is an edition of a sermon, found in three thirteenth-century manuscripts, delivered by Innocent III on the occasion of Gregory's feast day. The two essays that follow examine specific aspects of Pope Innocent III's theology. Constance Rousseau's "Produced in Sin: Innocent III's rejection of the Immaculate Conception," also uses sermon literature to understand Innocent's "perspectives concerning the extraordinary woman, Mary, and ordinary women, the daughters of Eve, through the lenses of sexuality, the female body, and Christology" (48). By examining the ideas about original sin and its transmission, Rousseau sheds light on how Innocent III and many of his contemporaries addressed the theological problems related to the person of Mary. John C. Moore's essay, "Pope Innocent III and Usury" represents an interesting complement to Rousseau's article. While Rousseau argues that Innocent reflected current Marian theology, Moore argues that Innocent stood outside the mainstream on the issue of usury, by approving, albeit tacitly, the charge of moderate rates of interest on loans. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this article is Moore's contention that while Innocent did not share his contemporaries' condemnation of interest taking, he was unable to challenge prevailing opinion on the subject. "For all his 'plenitude of power,' he could not challenge the most influential intellectuals and moral reformers of his day, and he could not single-handedly develop the theories necessary to justify moderate interest taking" (74). The final essay in Part I, Peter Clarke's "Innocent III, the Interdict and Medieval Theories of Popular Resistance," offers an enlightening discussion on the theology underlying papal interdicts. Do not interdicts, such as those placed on France (1199-1200) and England (1208-1214) punish an innocent population for the misdeeds of their rulers? Clarke surveys the works of canonists and theologians to show that the papal interdict was based on a theory of popular resistance. An interdict was a tool by which the papacy could apply pressure against secular authorities, a king, for instance, by inciting his subjects to resistance. Moreover, according to many canonists and theologians, an interdict did not punish the innocent. Failure to resist the sins of their rulers made subjects complicit in these sins.

Part II, "Popes, Curia, and Bishops," offers four articles that complement each other very nicely. John Doran, in his essay "Innocent III and the Uses of Spiritual Marriage," looks to sermons that Innocent delivered on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter to examine how that pope reinterpreted the familiar idea of the bishop's marriage to the church in a way that strengthened papal authority at the expense of a bishop's link to his local diocese. One practical result of this new interpretation was that Innocent and his successors were more willing than their predecessors to transfer bishops from one see to another. Damian Smith's study offers an interesting counterpoint to Doran's essay. His study "The Resignations of Bishop Bernat de Castello (1195-1198) and the Problems of La Seu D'Urgell," demonstrates how regional political and economic problems could render forceful papal intervention, including the removal of a bishop from his see, to no effect. The next two articles shift the focus to the relation between pope and curia. Paschal Montaubin's "Bastard Nepotism: Niccolo di Anagni, A Nephew of Pope Gregory IX, and Camerarius of Pope Alexander IV," offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of the papal curia by following the career of a curial official-Niccolo di Anagni-through five decades. From his career, we see how two seemingly antithetical aspects of the thirteenth-century church-nepotism and the benefice market on the one hand, and a "demanding spirituality, attentive both to poverty and to retreat from the world" (162) on the other-could coexist without apparent contradiction. Anne J. Duggan's "Thomas Becket's Italian Network" shifts the focus from the inner workings of the curia to its international connections, in this case to the network of friendships that Thomas Becket developed with certain members of the curia, and how these relationships sustained his cause against overwhelming odds. Perhaps the most important point to emerge from this study is Duggan's observation concerning the relation between pope and curia; "The pope was not a dictator. He was more like a chairman of the board, who has to act with the approval of his fellow directors (the Cardinals), and find ways to accommodate or neutralize potential opposition" (185).

Part III, "Rome," shifts focus from the papacy to Rome and the implications of the city, both as it was and as it was imagined, for questions of precedence and authority. Susan Twyman's study, "The Romana Fraternitas and Urban Processions at Rome in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries," examines the liturgical setting for papal authority. By reassessing the role of the fraternity of Roman clergy in the urban stational liturgy, that is, the liturgical processions organized around the principal churches in Rome, we are offered a glimpse into the complicated jockeying for precedence that influenced the formation of the Roman liturgy. Andrea Sommerlechner's essay, "Mirabilia, Munitiones, Fragmenta-Rome's Ancient Monuments in Medieval Historiography," illuminates another important aspect of Rome as a setting for papal authority. In her survey of Roman monuments as reflected in historical sources, such as the Liber Pontificalis, Otto of Freising, and the Mirabilia, we see another interesting contest for precedence. Papal, imperial, and communal historians included Roman monuments in their narratives to create a setting in which to proclaim their protagonists as heirs to Rome's imperial past. Finally Joan Barclay Lloyd's "The Church and Monastery of S. Pancrazio, Rome," presents a nice complement to the first two essays in this section by shifting attention from Rome as a whole to a single church and monastery of S. Pancrazio, to show how its physical setting evolved over time in relation to "the religious communities that lived and prayed in them" (247).

Part IV, "The Church and the World" examines important aspects of the papacy's relation with the mendicant orders. The first two articles investigate institutions through which the papacy and the new orders communicated. Patrick Zutshi takes us into the world of the papal chancery in his "Letters of Pope Honorius III Concerning the Order of Preachers." By looking at the mechanics by which petitioners impetrated letters from the papal chancery, and of Dominic's understanding and close involvement in this process, Zutshi sheds light on the way in which the chancery functioned as a mechanism whereby petitioners and the papacy came to terms concerning their respective intentions and goals. In doing so Zutshi corrects a common misperception that Honorius did not understand the aims of the Dominicans. Maria Pia Alberzoni's essay on the Humiliati, "Quiddam minus catholicum sapiebat, Consuetudines and Rule Among the Humiliati of the Milanese House of the Brera," demonstrates another side to the papacy's relation to new orders. In contrast to the Dominicans and Franciscans, the Humiliati were slow to develop due autonomies of local communities and to the absence of a saintly founder, both of which made communication with the papacy more difficult. Alberzoni calls attention to the surprising role of the Lombard League and its negotiations with Honorius III, as a mechanism by which members of the Humiliati house of the Brera sought the help of the papacy in stabilizing the order's rule and institutional structure. At the end of the essay, Alberzoni includes an edition of two letters of Honorius III to the house of the Brera in Milan. Louise Bourdua concludes this part of the book with "Guariento's Crucifix for Maria Bovolino in San Francesco, Bassano: Women and Franciscan Art in Italy During the Later Middle Ages." After a survey of the representation of women in thirteenth-century Franciscan art, she examines Maria Bovolino's will to shed light on the date of a painted crucifix by Guariento d'Arpo. Following the essay is an edition of this will.

The final section of this book takes us beyond the papacy and Rome to the world of the communes, in particular Florence, Bergamo, and Siena. Each of these essays examines the relation between secular and spiritual aspects of the communes, an issue that has taken on new life with studies such as Augustine Thompson's, Cities of God. Katherine Jansen's "Florentine Peacemaking: the Oltrarno, 1287-1297," looks at an aspect of peacemaking that too often escapes the notice of Italianists. Rather than focusing on high profile missions such as that of Cardinal Latino to Florence in 1280 to reconcile feuding magnates, she examines the restoration of peace in local neighborhoods. She concludes,"day-to-day peacemaking was not in the ecclesiastical purview; rather its practice was embedded in the civic institutions of the medieval commune." Particularly important were notaries, who provided a quick and inexpensive means for peace making outside of the system of public courts. While Jansen's work seeks to downplay the role of ecclesiastical institutions, at least in the area of peace making, the last two articles emphasize the importance of such institutions in the life of the communes. James Powell's essay, "The Misericordia of Bergamo and the Frescoes of the Aula Diocesana: A Chapter in Communal History," examines the important role of Santa Maria della Misericordia in distributing charity and healing political divisions of the city. Finally, Frances Andrews examines the role of members of religious orders in Siena's civic institutions, particularly the treasury. Typically, historians of Siena have argued that members of religious orders, especially Cistercians and Humiliati, were perceived as outsiders, unconnected to ruling families and factions, and therefore could be trusted with such positions. Andrews argues that recent work on kinship networks in Siena suggests that just the opposite may be the case. In examining these issues, Andrews questions the often rigid distinctions that historians make between religious and secular communities in the Italian communes.

The essays in Part V are, perhaps, emblematic of the entire book. While Jansen's work on notaries, which downplays the ecclesiastical role in peacemaking, seems to challenge the work of Powell and Andrews, which argue for a more expansive role for religious communities in communal life, the three essays are, in fact, complementary, calling attention to the irreducible complexity of life in urban communities. Likewise, Innocent III, by using the interdict and by reinterpreting the concept of the bishop's marriage to the church, greatly expanded papal authority in both the secular and ecclesiastical spheres. The essays by Moore, Smith, Duggan, and Alberzoni, remind us of the practical realities that often frustrated such attempts at an expansive interpretation of papal authority. As Twyman's essay on Roman liturgy and Sommerlechner's essay on Roman monuments in histories of Rome remind us, beneath every cultural production, there lies many voices contesting for precedence. I would argue that one of the elements that makes this collection of essays so successful is the irreducible complexity of many voices that one hears.