The renaissance in Rome

The renaissance in Rome

346 Book Reviews court and an intellectual centre as that of Otto I or Henry Ill. With regard to transmission more emphasis might also have been giv...

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Book Reviews

court and an intellectual centre as that of Otto I or Henry Ill. With regard to transmission more emphasis might also have been given to deliberate efforts by the clergy to civilise and control the brutality of the warrior class. The Peace and Truce of God and the Crusade are notable omissions from Jaeger's analysis; and if not directly linked with courtier-like qualities they did play a part in the origins of the broader chivalric concept among the laity? On a more mundane level quibbles are few, though that prickly scholar Peter of Blois might well have cavilled at being described as 'subdeacon at Bath' (p. 66) rather than archdeacon of Bath. Jaeger's greater familiarity with German material than with that from the rest of Europe is perhaps indicated by his use of older and inferior editions of such N o r m a n writers as William of Jumi~ges and Geoffrey Malaterra. And Orderic Vitalis's complaint about effete dress and behaviour were of more general application than just the court of Count Fulk Le Rechin of Anjou (p. 158). But given the mass of material utilised Jaeger's accuracy is remarkable and his eye for the apt quotation is striking. This is a very interesting book and one which it will profit all mediaevalists to read. Not all will be convinced by all the arguments advanced, but all will be stimulated and made to think that much harder about their own ideas on a wide variety of topics.

NOTES 1. An opinion still present in the most recent German textbooks, e . g . H . Fuhrmann, Germany in the High Middle Ages c. 1050-1200, English trans. T. Reuter (Cambridge, 1986, p. 179. 2. Notably 'The German aristocracy from the ninth to the early twelfth century: a historical and cultural sketch', Past and Present xli (1968), 25-53, reprinted in K. Leyser, Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 (London, 1982), pp. 161-89 and Ruh" and Conflict in an Early Medieval Society: Ottonian Saxon), (London, 1979). 3. Here a brief but suggestive article by Colin Morris is of value, 'Chivalry as a vocation in the twelfth century', Studies in Church History xv (1978), 87-96. G.A. Loud

Univers'ity of Leeds

The Renaissance in Rome, Charles L. Stinger (Bloomington, 1985), xv +444 pp., cloth $37.50. This book presents a broad synthesis of the basic attitudes, ideals and convictions of the papacy, the intellectuals and the artists of Renaissance Rome, defined as the period spanning the return of Eugenius IV to the Eternal City in 1443 when the papacy was finally, permanently established there, and the Sack of Rome of 1527. Only peripherally does it touch on social, economic and political aspects of the city during this period because the author believes that these, while playing some role, are distinctly subordinate to the city's cultural and intellectual history. Thus, in the discourse between mundane and mythic realities, it is the latter dimension that is emphasised as providing the most cogent explanation for the central place of Renaissance Rome in European history. While some specialists may quarrel with the limitations of this bias, the result is a panoramic overview of the tactors that, if often belying political realities, constituted thc Weltan~chauung of the populace of R o m e - - b o t h the masses, particularly the pilgrims who thronged to the holy sites, and the Establishment. After an Introduction (Chapter I) that offers a sketch of papal history, there is a chapter

Book Reviews


devoted to the urban topography of Rome during the early fifteenth century. Economic stagnation, urban decay and the surrounding desolate countryside commingle with the stupendous remains of both pagan and paleo-Christian antiquity. Against this background Stinger paints a picture, in the chapters that follow, of the transformation of Rome into Europe's intellectual and cultural centre during the course of the fifteenth and early sixteenth century. The following chapters deal topically (and only within each chapter, chronologically) with the central issues of R o m a n ideology. Chapter III discusses the efforts to entrench the papacy, after the debacle of Avignon and the Schism, in the city of Rome itself, and the consequent need to enlarge the papal domains as a means of solidifying that entrenchment. Next follows a chapter devoted to the issue of the primacy of Peter as spiritual and temporal authority, and the theological, humanistic and historical basis for the defence of papal absolutist power. It may come as a surprise to the non-specialist that among the most vocal advocates of papal monarchy were the Roman humanists who, it should be noted, were quite frequently clerics and in the employ of the Curia. Chapter V is concerned with the renewal (renovatio) of Imperial Rome with its implications of the Pope as caesar (e.g. Julius II as the second Julius Caesar); it was this ideal which, in part, led to the extensive physical rebuilding of Rome on a scale and grandeur to match and exceed that of the ancients. The penultimate chapter presents the reader with the mythic selfimage of Renaissance Rome: in this chosen land, pagan, Jewish and Christian history is reconciled, and the divine and earthly meet; during this Golden Era, Rome, in the fulfillment of God's plan, has become the centre not only of Italy but of Christianity and, indeed, of the universe. These are the major themes that lie behind the archaeological and literary research of Rome's humanists; they also explain the motivation for the building campaigns, artistic patronage and elaborate ceremonies performed at every possible opportunity. Above all other factors that promoted the flowering of Roman culture, art, scholarship and ceremony all served the needs of papal propaganda and helped instill, in the eyes and minds of observers both rich and poor, the proper awe, respect and admiration for Rome and its ruling powers--admittedly, as the author states, at the expense of a critical and realistic view of papal achievements. A final chapter, an 'Epilogue' briefly deals with the Sack of Rome and the irreconcilable chasm between the Lutheran and Catholic ideologies. The world, from the Roman and papal point of view, had fundamentally changed. Although the author does not lament Rome's rude awakening to the realities both of international politics and of the spiritual response to the abuses of papal power and excesses of curial privilege, he balances these against the unique and creative fusion of Christianity with classicism during the Roman Golden Age irretrievably lost. This book manages to orchestrate a vast amount of historical, literary and to some extent visual material. It will be read with interest by Renaissance historians but will be particularly appreciated by non-specialists who teach other aspects of the Renaissance. While Renaissance art historians, for instance, will find few new insights in the many discussions of artistic m o n u m e n t s - - a n exception, however, is a suggestion identifying the background architecture in Raphael's Disputa (pp. 196ff. }--they, and perhaps especially those whose teaching rather than whose research interests bring them into close contact with sixteenth-century Rome, will welcome the broad context of papal and humanistic goals so well documented in Stinger's work. In lively prose--which shifts from a narrative to a more descriptive or analytical mode in the course of each chapter--the author paints a complex multilayered image of compelling vividness. Anita F. Moskowitz

State University of New York at Stony Brook