Skip to main content
Shopping cart: items Cart

The Pope’s Body

In contrast to the role traditionally fulfilled by secular rulers, the pope has been perceived as an individual person existing in a body subject to decay and death, yet at the same time a corporeal representation of Christ and the Church, eternity and salvation. Using an array of evidence from the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries, Agostino Paravicini- Bagliani addresses this paradox. He studies the rituals, metaphors, and images of the pope’s body as they developed over time and shows how they resulted in the expectation that the pope’s body be simultaneously physical and metaphorical. Also included is a particular emphasis on the thirteenth century when, during the pontificate of Boniface VIII (1294-1303), the papal court became the focus of medicine and the natural sciences as physicians devised ways to protect the pope’s health and prolong his life.

Masterfully translated from the Italian, this engaging history of the pope’s body provides a new perspective for readers to understand the papacy, both historically and in our own time.

352 pages | 6 color plates, 10 halftones | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2000

History: European History

Medieval Studies

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction
Acknowledgments
Part I - The Carnal Metaphor
1. Mortality and Transience
The Short-Lived Popes
"You’ll Not See Peter’s Years"
A Warning Tomb and Rumbling Bones
Papyrus Pillows
Ashes
Bands of Flax
The Lateran Chairs
Sedes Stercorata
Sitting and Lying
2. Persona Christi
Vicarius Christi
Regality
Ubi Papa, ibi Roma
Pars Corporis Pape
Christly Visibility
Infallibility
Christ’s Two Natures
Corpus Ecclesiae
Mortality
3. Whiteness
Wax Lambs
The Golden Rose
Red and White
White and Black
Part II - The Pope’s Death
4. New Spaces and Times
Protecting the Palace
Burial and Honor
Burial and the Electoral Process
Letters of Election
A Time of Mourning
Funeral Rites
5. The Corpse
Nudity
Display
Embalming
Burial
Saintly Bodies
6. Perpetuity
Novena
Elections and Sackings
College! College!
Part III - Coporeity
Mobility and Holidays
Fear of Contagion
The Pleasure of Water
8. Cura Corporis
Doctors and Prescriptions
Appearances
9. Prolongatio Vitae
Delaying Old Age
Immortality
Part IV - Boniface VIII
10. The Body in Images
Apostolicity and Plenitudo Potestatis
Pope-Saint
Imitatio Imperii
Una et Sancta
Jurisdiction and Unity
11. Physiognomy and Immortality
Cura Corporis
Elixir
Epilogue
Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Index

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press