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Lordship, Reform, and the Development of Civil Society in Medieval Italy

Lordship, Reform, and the Development of Civil Society in Medieval Italy

The Bishopric of Orvieto, 1100-1250

David Foote

“David Foote’s study of the bishopric of Orvieto in the central Middle Ages is a felicitous combination of original archival research and broad, innovative thinking about the meaning of the past. It is an exemplary monograph.” — Maureen Miller, University of California, Berkeley

“In this highly significant case study of the bishopric of Orvieto, David Foote situates ecclesiastical institutions and traditions at the very heart of the development of the commune. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics and religion of twelfth and thirteenth century Italy.” — George Dameron, Saint Michael’s College

“This elegant book explores a crucial and under-studied problem: the role of episcopal administration in the formation of the Italian city-states. It is a fascinating account of the changing interplay of secular and spiritual power. The bishopric developed systems to collect revenues, exact justice, inventory property, and maintain records that were largely appropriated by the rising commune. The consequences for the bishopric were both political marginalization and also a new freedom to attend to reform and the care of souls.” — Carol Lansing, University of California, Santa Barbara

In his examination of the bishopric of Orvieto from 1100 to 1250, David Foote reveals how three defining developments of the High Middle Ages—the feudal revolution, ecclesiastical reform, and state building—played out in a typical medieval Italian commune. He challenges scholarship that overemphasizes the secular nature of Italian city-states by showing the extent to which developments in ecclesiastical institutions provided a model for the formation of civic institutions and defined a commune’s political and religious culture.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02871-8
272 pages
Publication Year: 2004

David Foote is associate professor of history at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota.

“[A] persuasively argued, thoroughly researched, and erudite work.” — Church History

“In a well-researched and richly-detailed study of the commune of Orvieto in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, David Foote traces the role of the bishopric in the development of civil society and the establishment of communal government. Rather than viewing the formation of communes as a strictly secular process, the author demonstrates well the central role played by bishops and the cathedral church in Orvieto, as well as the interpenetration of religious and political interests. David Foote’s book is an important addition to the history of communal Italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.” — The Catholic Historical Review

“What lifts Foote’s study beyond the cluster of books that study the rise of the commune is that he resolves not to banish to the margins bishops and episcopal institutions. What makes Foote’s book of interest to legal historians is that he takes institutions seriously (not as mere facades for personal power) and treats his sources with respect for their form and provenance.” — Law and History Review

“David Foote’s examination of the bishopric of Orvieto . . . is a useful addition to the growing number of scholarly investigations of the interconnections between the developments in episcopal lordship in northern Italy between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, and the emergence and consolidation of communal government in the region’s cities after 1150. . . . [A] useful book [that] . . . contributes to several ongoing debates. Its Italian focus does not limit its interest; the discussion of the episcopal register contributes to the Europe-wide analysis of the significant cultural shift introduced by an emphasis on textuality in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.” — The Heythrop Journal

“[T]his is an interesting and thoughtful study, from which students both of the Church and of urban history will profit.” — Journal of Ecclesiastical History

“Foote’s study of bishop and commune in 12th- and 13th-century Orvieto is a work to be appreciated on several levels. It is a significant contribution to early European urban and diocesan history; it is strong on connecting that history to the papal-imperial conflicts of the 12th and 13th centuries; it is unusually sensitive to the role played by Orvietan bishops in the commune-forming process; and it is based on extensive, original archival research, expertly handled and gracefully analyzed. Foote . . . makes skillful use of the contrasting hagiographies of Pietro Parenzi and Franciscan monk Ambrogio da Massa to illuminate his thesis. The book is also highly readable. Highly recommended.” — Choice

“This is a mandatory book for anyone interested in high medieval history. . . . Foote has written a clear, concise, original, and extremely informative study that will yield rich dividends to all readers.” — Cistercian Studies Quarterly

“An extensively researched and carefully reasoned study of the institutions and forces that shaped a phase of Italian history. . . . a work of superb scholarship and a welcome addition to academic library Middle Ages studies and World History reference collections.” — Midwest Book Review

“David Foote’s contribution to medieval Orvieto’s history focuses on the bishopric, the administrative territorial area under the jurisdiction of the city’s bishop.” “David Foote’s contribution to medieval Orvieto’s history focuses on the bishopric, the administrative territorial area under the jurisdiction of the city’s bishop.” — American Historical Review

“David Foote’s study of the Orvieto in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries is a welcome addition to the literature of medieval Italy. It is an ambitious attempt to link the creation of a ‘civil society’ to episcopal authority in the city. . . The book is an invaluable contribution to the field.” — Speculum

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Lordship, Reform, and the Development of Civil Society in Medieval Italy

The Bishopric of Orvieto, 1100-1250

David Foote

 Lordship, Reform, and the Development of Civil Society in Medieval Italy: The Bishopric of Orvieto, 1100-1250
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

“David Foote’s study of the bishopric of Orvieto in the central Middle Ages is a felicitous combination of original archival research and broad, innovative thinking about the meaning of the past. It is an exemplary monograph.” — Maureen Miller, University of California, Berkeley

“In this highly significant case study of the bishopric of Orvieto, David Foote situates ecclesiastical institutions and traditions at the very heart of the development of the commune. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics and religion of twelfth and thirteenth century Italy.” — George Dameron, Saint Michael’s College

“This elegant book explores a crucial and under-studied problem: the role of episcopal administration in the formation of the Italian city-states. It is a fascinating account of the changing interplay of secular and spiritual power. The bishopric developed systems to collect revenues, exact justice, inventory property, and maintain records that were largely appropriated by the rising commune. The consequences for the bishopric were both political marginalization and also a new freedom to attend to reform and the care of souls.” — Carol Lansing, University of California, Santa Barbara

In his examination of the bishopric of Orvieto from 1100 to 1250, David Foote reveals how three defining developments of the High Middle Ages—the feudal revolution, ecclesiastical reform, and state building—played out in a typical medieval Italian commune. He challenges scholarship that overemphasizes the secular nature of Italian city-states by showing the extent to which developments in ecclesiastical institutions provided a model for the formation of civic institutions and defined a commune’s political and religious culture.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02871-8

272 pages

“[A] persuasively argued, thoroughly researched, and erudite work.” — Church History

“In a well-researched and richly-detailed study of the commune of Orvieto in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, David Foote traces the role of the bishopric in the development of civil society and the establishment of communal government. Rather than viewing the formation of communes as a strictly secular process, the author demonstrates well the central role played by bishops and the cathedral church in Orvieto, as well as the interpenetration of religious and political interests. David Foote’s book is an important addition to the history of communal Italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.” — The Catholic Historical Review

“What lifts Foote’s study beyond the cluster of books that study the rise of the commune is that he resolves not to banish to the margins bishops and episcopal institutions. What makes Foote’s book of interest to legal historians is that he takes institutions seriously (not as mere facades for personal power) and treats his sources with respect for their form and provenance.” — Law and History Review

“David Foote’s examination of the bishopric of Orvieto . . . is a useful addition to the growing number of scholarly investigations of the interconnections between the developments in episcopal lordship in northern Italy between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, and the emergence and consolidation of communal government in the region’s cities after 1150. . . . [A] useful book [that] . . . contributes to several ongoing debates. Its Italian focus does not limit its interest; the discussion of the episcopal register contributes to the Europe-wide analysis of the significant cultural shift introduced by an emphasis on textuality in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.” — The Heythrop Journal

“[T]his is an interesting and thoughtful study, from which students both of the Church and of urban history will profit.” — Journal of Ecclesiastical History

“Foote’s study of bishop and commune in 12th- and 13th-century Orvieto is a work to be appreciated on several levels. It is a significant contribution to early European urban and diocesan history; it is strong on connecting that history to the papal-imperial conflicts of the 12th and 13th centuries; it is unusually sensitive to the role played by Orvietan bishops in the commune-forming process; and it is based on extensive, original archival research, expertly handled and gracefully analyzed. Foote . . . makes skillful use of the contrasting hagiographies of Pietro Parenzi and Franciscan monk Ambrogio da Massa to illuminate his thesis. The book is also highly readable. Highly recommended.” — Choice

“This is a mandatory book for anyone interested in high medieval history. . . . Foote has written a clear, concise, original, and extremely informative study that will yield rich dividends to all readers.” — Cistercian Studies Quarterly

“An extensively researched and carefully reasoned study of the institutions and forces that shaped a phase of Italian history. . . . a work of superb scholarship and a welcome addition to academic library Middle Ages studies and World History reference collections.” — Midwest Book Review

“David Foote’s contribution to medieval Orvieto’s history focuses on the bishopric, the administrative territorial area under the jurisdiction of the city’s bishop.” “David Foote’s contribution to medieval Orvieto’s history focuses on the bishopric, the administrative territorial area under the jurisdiction of the city’s bishop.” — American Historical Review

“David Foote’s study of the Orvieto in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries is a welcome addition to the literature of medieval Italy. It is an ambitious attempt to link the creation of a ‘civil society’ to episcopal authority in the city. . . The book is an invaluable contribution to the field.” — Speculum

Publications in Medieval Studies

A 2005 Choice Outstanding Academic Book