Power & Purity: Cathar Heresy in Medieval Italy by Carol Lansing

By Carol Lansing

Catharism used to be a well-liked medieval heresy according to the assumption that the production of humankind used to be a catastrophe during which angelic spirits have been trapped in subject via the satan. Their purely objective used to be to flee the physique via purification. Cathars denied any worth to fabric lifestyles, together with the human physique, baptism, and the Eucharist, even marriage and childbirth. What may possibly clarify the lengthy acclaim for this sort of bleak religion within the cities of southern France and Italy? Power and Purity explores where of cathar heresy within the lifetime of the medieval Italian city of Orvieto. in accordance with broad archival learn, it info the social make-up of the Cathar group and argues that the heresy was once relevant to the social and political adjustments of the thirteenth century. The past due 13th-century repression of Catharism through a neighborhood inquisition used to be a part of a bigger redefinition of civic and ecclesiastical authority. writer Carol Lansing indicates that the religion attracted no longer an alienated older the Aristocracy yet artisans, retailers, well known political leaders, and certainly circles of ladies in Orvieto in addition to Florence and Bologna. Cathar ideals weren't a lot a pessimistic anomaly as part of a bigger weather of spiritual doubt. the lessons at the physique and the perform of Cathar holy individuals addressed questions of sexual distinction and the constitution of authority that have been key components of medieval Italian existence. The natural lives of the Cathar holy humans, either female and male, verified a human skill for self-restraint that served as a robust social version in cities torn by way of violent clash. This learn addresses present debates in regards to the upward thrust of persecution, and argues for a weather of well known toleration. Power and Purity will attract historians of society and politics in addition to faith and gender reviews.

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Then I focus on the Leggenda, and the relationship between the spread of Catharism, the extension of papal jurisdiction, and the murder of Parenzo. Pope and Bishop in Orvieto Orvieto had considerable strategic value for the papacy. It sits on a volcanic rock six hundred feet above the floor of the Paglia River valley. The sheer face of the rock was a considerable defense against assault. The town dominated a bridge over the Paglia River, on the major road north to Arezzo and Florence. This formidable military position, and perhaps also the town's loveliness, attracted the papacy, and from the mid—twelfth century on, papal efforts to strengthen their hold over the Tuscan Patrimony of Saint Peter centered in part on Orvieto.

Because scholars have argued that Cathar beliefs were spread through networks of clientage, I set out the 43 44 THE;POLITICS OF THE C A T H A R S meager evidence for thirteenth-century urban clientage. Then, I turn to the crucial political transformation of the period, the rise of popular political institutions. 1 he last section describes the failure of the early efforts against heresy. Chapter 4 locates the Orvietans linked to Catharism within this social and political context and compares them with what is known of the Cathars in Florence in the 1240s.

39 Innocent thus interwove a new definition of heresy as treason with a new definition of papal sovereignty: the two were bound up together. The appointment of Parenzo was part of the larger effort to expand papal jurisdiction in the towns of the Patrimony. After Innocent's election, rectors were quickly sent to a number of towns. The Orvietan messenger who complained of the threat of Cathar heresy and wolves among the flock and asked for aid thus offered Innocent an irresistible political opportunity.

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