On 18th January 2017 a workshop took place in Milan to commemorate Paola Vismara. We publish here the texts read on that occasion, when colleagues and friends remembered several aspects of the historiographical work of the scholar, professor of Early Modern Church History at the University of Milan and member of the Directive Board of «Rivista di storia della Chiesa in Italia», dead before her time on 7th October 2015.
This essay analyses a false donation that Anselm, bishop of Aosta and count, made to the chapters of the cathedral and of St. Ursus of Aosta, which bears the date of 923 but was written by the middle of the eleventh century. The political and ideological motives of the forgery are related to the contrast between the local church and the Humbertian dynasty, which aimed to control the property of the episcopal mensa. The graphic features and the textual structure of the document are then examined. The forger, while using as a main model a charta written in 1040 for count Humbert, exploited a wide range of suggestions, which were related not only to local traditions, but also to the customs of Burgundy’s royal chancery and of transalpine churches. Such complexity may be an indication of the variety of the documentary models which the scribes of the chancery of Aosta could master, and it must be considered in studying the parallel evolution of an endemic documentary form of the Aosta valley: the charta Augustana.
The papal chapel played a remarkable role in the Roman Church. To this institution belonged clerics who helped the pope during the liturgical services and who, due to their exceptional relationship with the Vicarius Christi, were operating in the various ecclesiastical provinces of Christendom. Beginning with the historiographical reflexion, this paper focuses on the papal subdeacons active in the ecclesiastical province of Milan during the papacy of Alexander III and Innocent III (1159-1216). Thanks to the analysis of their careers, I describe their functions and their tasks, in order to explain the earliest results of my research project.
This article analyses the political, juridical, theological and pastoral action of pope Innocent III (1198-1216) towards Norway, on the basis of the contemporary narrative and diplomatic sources. The main issues Innocent dealt with during his pontificate were the struggle with the excommunicated king Sverrir (†1202) and the many theological/doctrinal questions posed by the archbishops of Trondheim. Such epistolary relations did proved important for the advancement of the Church reform in an ecclesiastical province so vast and far from Rome. Thus, Innocent III’s action was a fundamental step in Norway’s long process of integration in Western Christendom.
The essay illustrates the figure of Hugh from Pisa, a personage of undeniable spiritual charisma – so much to be included among the Blesseds of the Pisan Church – who, like many other fellow-citizens, has an international dimension: after his studies in utroque iure in Bologna, he became Canon of the Cathedral of Pisa (1226-1237) and lawyer in the Roman Curia. He studied theology in Paris (1233-1237), was elected archdeacon of Rouen (1237) and later participated in the crusade of St. Louis IX. In Cyprus he entered the Premonstratensian Order in the convent of Episcopia and shortly thereafter became Archbishop of Nicosia (1251). Returning to Italy in 1263, first in Rome and then in Pisa, in the same year he founded and endowed the regular Canons’ convent of Sant’Agostino of Calci, who from his episcopal seat assumed the name of Nicosia, still used today.
The church of St. Bartholomew the Apostle in Campobasso stands on the higher point of the city. The main feature of its decoration can be observed on the central portal, with Christ inside an almond supported by two angels and the symbols of the four Evangelists, biblical kings and prophets. The most important comparison can be done with the northern entrance of the church of San Leonardo in Lama Volara in Siponto. Although both are dated to the mid-thirteenth century, the workforces came from different contexts; those involved in Siponto were closely linked to the Benedictines who commissioned the building of San Clemente a Casauria in the late twelfth century, while the workers of St. Bartholomew came from the local area. In both cases there is the figurative exhibition of the theme of pilgrim’s travel, conceived as a metaphor of man’s wanderings until the redempion, exposed on the portal.
The attitudes to the death in the Christian West have been investigated, till now, through the testamentary practices, which were analyzed in various ways and gave discordant results. Instead, it has been neglected the fate which had to face, once dead, those who had not entrusted the inheritance of property and their salvation to the testamentary document, because of their own will or of their sudden death. Therefore, sudden death and intestate death constitute a privileged field of investigation, where it is possible to analyze, referring to Europe in the modern age, the practices of so-called testamenti dell’anima or in loco defuncti, an ancient custom by virtue of which, in some dioceses, the bishops, sometimes into the presence of the corpse (supra corpus), imposed a forced withdrawal on the intestate dead’s property, rousing a strong indignation of the central and peripherals authorities and of the same heirs of those who had died without making any testamentary dispositions in Church’s favour.
The theme of marriage and family was at the centre of the Church’s Magisterium and its pastoral care throughout the twentieth century. At the end of the nineteenth century, Leo XIII realized a real turning point devoting an entire encyclical to the Christian family. Also the 60s of the twentieth century were strongly innovative thanks to the novelties proposed by John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council. His basic attitude was aimed at grasping the suffering and complexity of modern man and woman. With the Second Millennium, many things have changed. Already Benedict XVI and above all pope Francis have given a new approach to the theme of the family. It is paid more attention to listening than to judging, to appreciation rather than condemnation.
The paper discusses a particular exemplar of the canonization letter of Clare of Assisi, which is kept in the State Archive of Ascoli Piceno. This document shows a number of diplomatic peculiarities: first of all, it is one of the rare surviving examples of the papal canonization bull Clara claris preclara; at the same time it contains diplomatic elements, e.g. dating and address, differentiating it from the rest of the textual tradition. Through an analysis of both, internal and external features of the document concerned, as well as of the relationship between the Apostolic See and the institutions of the municipality and bishopric of Ascoli around the middle of the 13th century, the paper interprets the canonization bull as part of a close cooperation between the papacy and the local mendicant orders. The appendix comprises an edition of the canonization bull and eight further unpublished papal documents directed at the municipality and diocese of Ascoli.
Henry VI’s charter for S. Maria Assunta in Asola (MN), dated 1192 July 27, has long been suspected to be a forgery but never underwent critical diplomatic analysis. This essay aims to finally settle the question. The charter most likely was forged in order to serve as a piece of evidence in a litigation between the archpriest of Asola, Giovanni Battista Tosio, and the bishop of Brescia in 1676. It led to the desired success, and was later used as an important argument when Asola managed to be established as an exempt abbey in 1697. Furthermore, most probably it induced the early modern historian of Asola, Lodovico Mangini (1664-1723), to forge fragments of imperial diplomas to heighten his historiographical work.
Storia di Bonfilio, un monaco-vescovo alla prima crociata. Atti del Convegno di studio nel IX centenario della morte (1115-2015) (Cingoli, 25-26 settembre 2015), a cura di Massimiliano Bassetti - Nicolangelo D’Acunto (Caterina Ciccopiedi) p. 231 – Camaldoli e l’ordine camaldolese dalle origini alla fine del XV secolo, a cura di Cécile Caby - Pierluigi Licciardello (Raffaele Savigni) p. 235 – Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Libellus Dialogorum, a cura di Simona Iaria (Michele Lodone) p. 244 – Angelo Turchini, Cultura del libro, chierici e modernizzazione. ‘Inventari’ di biblioteche del clero della città e arcidiocesi di Milano (Luca Ceriotti) p. 246.