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The Deeds of Pope Innocent III

James M. Powell

Publication Year: 2011

The Deeds of Pope Innocent III, composed before 1210 by an anonymous member of the papal curia, provides a unique window into the activities, policies, and strategies of the papacy and the curia during one of the most important periods in the history of the medieval church.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

This project began when I asked Richard Spence to translate the Gesta as it appears in the Patrologia Latina. In typical fashion he made a heroic effort before turning the results over to me with his blessing. Though I have not used his translation, I have occasionally consulted his notes on the text. I wish to publicly thank him here. ...

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pp. xi-xlv

Composed in the years from about 1204 to 1209, the Gesta Innocentii III, or Deeds of Innocent III, belongs to a genre of biography that has its origins in the classical period, in such works as Plutarch’s Lives, Suetonius’s Lives of the Twelve Caesars, and the Scriptores historiae Augustae.1 ...

The Deeds of Pope Innocent III by an Anonymous Author

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[Family, Education, Election]

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pp. 3-6

I. Pope Innocent III, the son of Transmundus, from the family of the counts of Segni, and of Clarina, the daughter of a noble Roman line, was a man of penetrating mind and tenacious memory, learned in Divine and secular literature, eloquent in both the vernacular and in Latin, skilled in chant and psalmody. He was of medium stature and...

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[Rome and the Papal States]

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pp. 7-17

VIII. Immediately after his election, the Roman people began to press him urgently, beseeching and demanding that he receive them in fidelity and grant them the usual gifts. But he could not be persuaded to agree to this before his consecration. After his consecration, when they began to clamor more turbulently, he gave serious...

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[The Kingdom of Sicily]

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pp. 17-55

XVIII. But the more he wanted to be free of secular business, the more he was enmeshed in worldly cares.31 After the death of Roger,32 the son of Tancred, King of Sicily, whom his father had made king during his lifetime and had ordered to be crowned, and who had married the daughter of Isaac, emperor of Constantinople, the father also soon died, it was said, from an excess of sorrow, leaving three...

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[Spiritual Concerns]

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pp. 55-77

XLI. Although we have digressed here into Innocent’s conduct of temporal affairs, we return to the beginning of his pontificate, in order to pursue his spiritual activities.67 Thus, among all the pestilences, he hated venality the most, and he pondered how he could extirpate it from the Roman Church. He immediately, therefore, made an edict...

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[The Crusade and Church Unity]

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pp. 77-228

LX. After he had heard of the promotion of the Lord Innocent, Alexius, the Emperor of Constantinople, sent honorable messengers to him with precious gifts, asking him to visit his empire in the person of his legates. The Pope sent Albert the Subdeacon and Albertinus the notary to advise the emperor through them of his intention to aid the...

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[Peter of Aragon in Rome]

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pp. 228-231

CXX. In the seventh year of the pontificate of the Lord Pope, Innocent III, in the month of November, Peter, king of Aragon, approached the Apostolic See so that he might receive a military girdle and a royal diadem from the same Lord Pope. Moreover, he came by sea with five galleys and landed on the island between Porto and Ostia, bringing...

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[The Papal States]

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pp. 231-234

CXXIII. In the tenth year, after the celebration of the feast of the Ascension, the Lord Pope left the city and went to Viterbo. He was received by the Viterbans with great joy, glory, and honor. He began to examine the situation for eliminating the filth of the Patarenes,226...

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[Papal Concerns with the Churches]

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pp. 235-241

CXXVI. But when he found the monastery of St. Martin de Monte in an extreme situation, so that hardly three monks remained there, with its possessions entirely lost or mortgaged at heavy interest, the Pontiff, intending mercifully to reform it, paid a thousand pounds to redeem its possessions and wrote to the Abbot and convent of Pontigny...

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[Rome, Again!]

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pp. 241-257

CXXXIII.234 Just as the strength of gold is proved in the furnace of persecution [Prv 27:21], God, wishing to prove the patience of his bishop in the midst of adversity, exposed him as it were as a target to arrows, causing him to be tested with many temptations by his citizens but, as we read in the Psalm: “The arrows of the children are...

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[Works of Piety: The Gift List]

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pp. 257-268

CXLIII. In the meantime, Innocent, trusting in the Lord, was pressing on with works of piety. For when a great famine prevailed with such rumors that a rublum241 of grain sold from twenty to thirty solidi, he was then staying in Anagni; he returned to the city right away and began to pay out liberally the necessary alms for needy people. ...

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Appendix I: Martin of Tropau’s Life of Innocent III

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pp. 269-270

Innocent, who was born in the Compagna, was consecrated on the feast of St. Peter’s Chair and reigned eighteen years, four months, and twenty-four days. Insofar as he was glorious, his works testified to the truth. For he built the Hospital of the Holy Spirit and he renovated the church of St. Sixtus. He composed decretals, sermons, and books On the Misery of the Human Race...

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Appendix II: Significant Emendations to the Edition of the Gesta Innocentii III

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pp. 271-272

The following list of changes in the text of the Gress-Wright edition is based chiefly on two sources. The first is Ms Vat. Lat. 12111, a fourteenth-century transcript of the original manuscript, long housed in the Vatican archives. The manuscript was transferred from the archives to the Vatican Library in 1920. ...

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Appendix III: Terracina

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pp. 273-274

Terracina1 is situated at the point where the Via Appia meets the coast at the foot of the Ausoni Mountains. It was always of importance to Rome, whether as a Roman colony or as a strategic town where Trajan cut a tunnel through the rocks to allow passage of the Appia. It was equally important in the medieval period as the main...


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pp. 275-279


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pp. 281-286

E-ISBN-13: 9780813216430
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214887

Page Count: 331
Publication Year: 2011