1st Edition

Communicating Papal Authority in the Middle Ages

Edited By Minoru Ozawa, Thomas W. Smith, Georg Strack Copyright 2023
    222 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book bridges Japanese and European scholarly approaches to ecclesiastical history to provide new insights into how the papacy conceptualised its authority and attempted to realise and communicate that authority in ecclesiastical and secular spheres across Christendom. Adopting a broad, yet cohesive, temporal and geographical approach that spans the Early to the Late Middle Ages, from Europe to Asia, the book focuses on the different media used to represent authority, the structures through which authority was channelled and the restrictions that popes faced in so doing, and the less certain expression of papal authority on the edges of Christendom. Through twelve chapters that encompass key topics such as anti-popes, artistic representations, preaching, heresy, the crusades, and mission and the East, this interdisciplinary volume brings new perspectives to bear on the medieval papacy. The book demonstrates that the communication of papal authority was a two-way process effected by the popes and their supporters, but also by their enemies who helped to shape concepts of ecclesiastical power.

    Communicating Papal Authority in the Middle Ages will appeal to researchers and students alike interested in the relationships between the papacy and medieval society and the ways in which the papacy negotiated and expressed its authority in Europe and beyond.


    Minoru Ozawa, Thomas W. Smith, and Georg Strack

    Part I

    Representations of Papal Authority

    1. Authority at a Distance: Popes, their Media, and their Presence Felt in the Frankish Kingdom

    Shigeto Kikuchi

    2. Imitatio Christi in Papal Synodal Sermons, 1095–1274

    Georg Strack

    3. John XXII as a Wavering Preacher: The Pope’s Sermons and the Norms of Preaching in the Beatific Vision Controversy

    Yuichi Akae

    4. Franciscan Identity and Iconography in the Assisi Tapestry commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV

    Alessandro Simbeni

    Part II

    Structural Restrictions and Challenges to Papal Authority

    5. Crisis and Antagonism: Contending Popes as a Challenge to Papal Authority

    Harald Müller

    6. Papal Communication and the Fifth Crusade, 1217–1221

    Thomas W. Smith

    7. ‘Having one little wolf at the papal court is not enough’: The Limits of Papal Authority in Milanese Affairs in the Mid-Fifteenth Century

    Jessika Nowak

    Part III

    Papal Authority on the Edges of Christendom

    8. Why did a Viking King meet a Pope? Cnut’s Imperial Politics, Scandinavian Commercial Networks, and the Journey to Rome in 1027

    Minoru Ozawa

    9. Papal Contact with the Mongols: Means of Communication in the Thirteenth Century

    Mamoru Fujisaki

    10. Dei et ecclesiae inimicus: A Correspondence between Pope Gregory IX and John III Batatzes

    Koji Murata

    11. Medieval Heretics in the East: A Heresiological Label for Bosnian Bogomils/Patarenes in the Thirteenth Century

    Hisatsugu Kusabu

    12. The Papacy and Crusading in the Far North? A Forgotten Religious Frontier of Medieval Latin Christendom

    Takahiro Narikawa


    Minoru Ozawa is Professor of Medieval History at Rikkyo University, Japan.

    Thomas W. Smith is Keeper of the Scholars and Head of Oxbridge Admissions (Arts and Humanities) at Rugby School, UK.

    Georg Strack is Professor of Medieval History at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany.