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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
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
Bands of Flax
The Lateran Chairs
Sedes Stercorata
Sitting and Lying
2. Persona Christi
Vicarius Christi
Ubi Papa, ibi Roma
Pars Corporis Pape
Christly Visibility
Christ’s Two Natures
Corpus Ecclesiae
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
Saintly Bodies
6. Perpetuity
Elections and Sackings
College! College!
Part III - Coporeity
Mobility and Holidays
Fear of Contagion
The Pleasure of Water
8. Cura Corporis
Doctors and Prescriptions
9. Prolongatio Vitae
Delaying Old Age
Part IV - Boniface VIII
10. The Body in Images
Apostolicity and Plenitudo Potestatis
Imitatio Imperii
Una et Sancta
Jurisdiction and Unity
11. Physiognomy and Immortality
Cura Corporis
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources

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