This is a study of the history and function of the highest ecclesiastical tribunal, the Sacra Romana Rota, from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries. Despite its importance for Christendom and in contrast with other important papal offices, the activity of the Rota has never been thoroughly investigated on the basis of archival sources, in large part due to the vast source material and the perceived "difficulty" of the subject. This book fills this significant gap by explaining how the Rota functioned-its organization, the phases of a Rota process, everyday practices at the tribunal-and the kinds of issues it handled, where the processes originated from and how long they lasted. The study demonstrates that the Rota dealt with a range of cases much broader than has previously been acknowledged, whilst also confirming that the tribunal mainly oversaw litigation over benefices. The results of this research reveal the true role of the Rota and its significance for Christians from the middle ages to the dawn of the Reformation.
"Kirsi Salonen’s study of the papal tribunal called the Sacra Romana Rota offers an excellent model of compelling institutional history, and should be useful to scholars of premodern justice and the Catholic Church."
- Jennifer Mara Desilva, Ball State University, US
"The author presents interesting samples of procedural documents, together with notaries’ remarks which cast light on the cycle of audiences in court, holidays, special events in the curia, locations where court sessions were held, and the provisional replacement of judges during illness or temporary absence from Rome."
- Gero Dolezalek, University of Aberdeen, UK
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations
PART I: THE TRIBUNAL OF THE SACRA ROMANA ROTA
1 Sources and Research on the Roman Rota
2 The Roman Rota and the Papal Curia
3 The History of the Roman Rota
4 The Organization and Personnel of the Rota
5 The Stages of Rota Processes
6 The Activity of the Rota as Recorded in the Rota Manualia
7 The Litigation of Henricus Meyer over the Parish of Mynämäki
PART II: ROTA PROCESSES IN THE LATE MIDDLE AGES AND ON THE EVE OF REFORMATION
8 The Classification and Number of Cases Heard in the Rota
9 The Geographical Range of Cases heard by the Rota
10 The Length of Rota Processes
Sources and Literature
Index of Persons
Index of Places
The series Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West reflects the central concerns necessary for any in-depth study of the medieval Church - greater cultural awareness and interdisciplinarity. Including both monographs and edited collections, this series draws on the most innovative work from established and younger scholars alike, offering a balance of interests, vertically through the period from c.400 to c.1500 or horizontally across Latin Christendom. Topics covered range from cultural history, the monastic life, relations between Church and State to law and ritual, palaeography and textual transmission. All authors, from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, share a commitment to innovation, analysis and historical accuracy.