Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447

Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447

by Elizabeth McCahill


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In 1420, after more than one hundred years of the Avignon Exile and the Western Schism, the papal court returned to Rome, which had become depopulated, dangerous, and impoverished in the papacy's absence. Reviving the Eternal City examines the culture of Rome and the papal court during the first half of the fifteenth century, a crucial transitional period before the city's rebirth. As Elizabeth McCahill explains, during these decades Rome and the Curia were caught between conflicting realities—between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, between conciliarism and papalism, between an image of Rome as a restored republic and a dream of the city as a papal capital.

Through the testimony of humanists' rhetorical texts and surviving archival materials, McCahill reconstructs the niche that scholars carved for themselves as they penned vivid descriptions of Rome and offered remedies for contemporary social, economic, religious, and political problems. In addition to analyzing the humanists' intellectual and professional program, McCahill investigates the different agendas that popes Martin V (1417-1431) and Eugenius IV (1431-1447) and their cardinals had for the post-Schism pontificate. Reviving the Eternal City illuminates an urban environment in transition and explores the ways in which curialists collaborated and competed to develop Rome's ancient legacy into a potent cultural myth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674724532
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/28/2013
Series: I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History , #11
Pages: 302
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth McCahill is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Introduction: Rome ca. 1420 1

1 Rome's Third Founder? Martin V, Niccolò Signorili, and Roman Revival, 1420-1431 20

2 In the Theater of Lies: Curial Humanists on the Benefits and Evils of Courtly Life 45

3 A Reign Subject to Fortune: Guides to Survival at the Court of Eugenius IV 71

4 Curial Plans for the Reform of the Church 97

5 Acting as the One True Pope: Eugenius IV and Papal Ceremonial 137

6 Eugenius IV, Biondo Flavio, Filarete, and the Rebuilding of Rome 168

Abbreviations 199

Notes 201

Acknowledgments 277

Index 281

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