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Janine Larmon Peterson
Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY 12601-1387)
Contested Sanctity: Disputed Saints, Inquisitors, and Communal Identity in North-Central Italy, 1250-1400

This monograph examines how politics to a great extent determined the survival, or demise, of local saints' cults through an investigation of the phenomenon of disputed saints. Disputed saints were individuals whom the populace venerated in the face of papal and inquisitorial opposition. Their cults constituted a direct challenge to the papacy's spiritual authority as well as to its claims for temporal authority as a terrestrial lordship. I examine the social and political contexts of specific communities engaged in such struggles. These micro-historical studies are the basis for my larger contention that disputes regarding the legitimacy of local saints became a means through which the towns of north-central Italy articulated their desire for political and religious autonomy. The study of disputed saints contributes to the larger historical dialogue regarding how popular protest functioned as a negotiating tool between dominant and subordinate groups.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
European History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2010 – 9/30/2010