Medieval Rome. Stability and Crisis of a City, 900-1150 by Chris Wickham

By Chris Wickham

This quantity doesnt simply search to inform the tale of the town from the conventional Church perspective as a substitute, it engages in reports of the citys processions, fabric tradition, felony adjustments, and feel of the previous, trying to get to the bottom of the complexities of Roman cultural id, together with its city economic climate, social background as obvious around the diversified strata of society, and the articulation among the citys areas. This new strategy serves to underpin an incredible reinterpretation of Romes political background within the period of the reform papacy, one of many maximum crises in Romes background, which had a resonance around the whole continent. Medieval Rome is the main systematic research ever made up of and a part centuries of Romes background, one that observed centuries of balance undermined by means of exterior quandary and the lengthy interval of reconstruction which undefined.

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It was full of artisans, who are better documented in our period in Rome than anywhere else, as we shall see in Chapter 3. It also took a higher percentage of the agricultural surplus of the countryside around it than any other city did, and developed a set of agrarian specialisms in that countryside earlier than almost any other city, too: this agrarian Grand Narratives 5 dominance seems to me the fundamental underpinning of Rome’s economic exceptionality, and it is why Chapter 2, on the countryside, is the first of my main monographic chapters.

It privileges some areas too much (Otto III; most popes and many cardinals; the establishment of the Senate), others too little. But the long-standing attraction of the city—and of its numerous foreign academies—has brought many outsiders in to do work on Rome, some of whom have done their best work there; and the strength of by far the largest university in Italy, the Sapienza, now flanked by two others, also highly active in this field, plus the country’s Istituto Storico per il Medio Evo and a venerable and important school of palaeography, have provided firm bases for a dense body of work by Romans on their own city.

14 Medieval Rome Ottonian intervention, in the Crescenzian period, which lasted up to 1012; then the stable but still degraded Tuscolano papacy. Emperor Henry III again saved Rome at the synod of Sutri in 1046, when he overthrew three rival popes and installed a period of foreign pontiffs, first German, then Italian and French, which continued until 1130. The ‘reform’ papacy began here too, first under imperial patronage (Leo IX most notably), then increasingly independently of the emperors, until Gregory VII dramatically broke with them in 1076.

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