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Rome and the Invention of the Papacy


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Table of Contents

1. The Liber pontificalis: text and context; 2. The Liber pontificalis and the city of Rome; 3. Apostolic succession; 4. Establishing visible power; 5. Bishop and pope; 6. Transmission, reception and audiences: the early medieval manuscripts of the Liber pontificalis and their implications; Conclusion: the power of a text

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The first full study of the most remarkable history of the early popes and their relationship with Rome, the Liber pontificalis.

About the Author

Rosamond McKitterick is Professor Emerita of Medieval History at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, and Chair of the Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters of the British School at Rome. She was awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken International Prize in History in 2010. Her previous publications include History and Memory in the Carolingian World (2004), Perceptions of the Past in the Early Middle Ages (2006), Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity (2008), and two co-edited volumes on medieval Rome, Rome Across Time and Space: Cultural Transmission and the Exchange of Ideas (2011), and Old Saint Peter's, Rome (2013).


'With this book, Rosamond McKitterick makes a powerful contribution to medieval history. Her thorough study demonstrates the construction of the papacy through the act of collective biography embodied in the Liber Pontificalis, enabling us to look with new eyes at the city of Rome during its momentous transition from imperial capital to centre of western Christianity.' Marios Costambeys, University of Liverpool
'McKitterick shows how the Liber pontificalis, never objective or neutral, both chronicled and was itself an instrument in the transformation of Rome from imperial city to Christian capital, a capital in which the popes replaced the Emperor as its master.' Patrick J. Geary, Institute for Advanced Study
'A key narrative on the authority of papal Rome, the Liber pontificalis still carries so much weight that many historians take it for granted. This is no longer possible with Rosamond McKitterick's book at hand. It is an absorbing enquiry into the creation and dissemination of a powerful text.' Mayke de Jong, Utrecht University
'McKitterick's masterful book offers a novel approach to the Liber pontificalis, showing how diligently it shaped medieval views of Christian Rome, of the papacy and of the Church as an institution. She combines careful manuscript scholarship with a thorough explanation of the changing historical context and a broad sweep of ideas. This is a highly rewarding read for anyone interested in medieval Rome, in the formation of the Western Church and in the cultural transformation of post-classical Europe.' Walter Pohl, University of Vienna

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