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  • Innocent VI (1352–1362): Lettres Secrètes et Curiales, publiées d'après les Registres des Archives Vaticanes
  • Brian Ferme
Innocent VI (1352–1362): Lettres Secrètes et Curiales, publiées d'après les Registres des Archives Vaticanes. Edited by Pierre Gasnault and Nicole Gotteri. [Bibliothèque des Écoles Françaises d'Athènes et de Rome,3e série, IV: Lettres, Secrètes et Curiales des Papes du XIVe siècle, Tome 5.] (Rome: École Française de Rome. 2006. Pp. vi, 232. paperback. ISBN 2-7283-0769-5.)

The publication of the Lettres Secrètes et Curiales of the fifth year of the pontificate of Innocent VI (1352–1362) marks a significant moment in the relatively lengthy project of editing the letters for his entire pontificate. The present editor, Pierre Gasnault, first decided to dedicate himself to the edition of Innocent VI's letters while in Rome at the École française during the years 1954–57. The previous four volumes, each corresponding to the first four years of the pontificate were published in 1959–60, 1962, 1968, and 1976. The present edition, published in 2006, has been prepared by Pierre Gasnault aided by Nicole Gotteri.

The first letter in the present excellent edition is dated from Avignon, December 30, 1356, and addressed to "Aegidium, episcopum Sabinensem, apostolicae Sedis legatum. . . ;" the last, from Avignon, dated December 28, 1357, is addressed to "Johanni Ferdinando de Heredia, castellano Empostae Hospitalis s. Johannis Jerosolimitani. . . ." These letters as well as those in between reflect both the variety of addressees as well as the variety of questions that Innocent VI was compelled to consider during his pontificate. They offer a fascinating and thought-provoking insight into the daily concerns of individuals scattered throughout Christendom, as well as the thinking of the Avignon Curia on these selfsame issues. Editions such as the present remain at the very heart of serious scholarship on the Middle Ages, especially the Avignonese Papacy. In particular they are important for understanding the vocabulary and the style of pontifical letters, as well as pointing the way to [End Page 348] identifying the individuals who wrote the texts on the basis of the notes taken on the oral instructions of the Pope (cf. Y. Renouard, "Les minutes d'Innocent VI aux Archives Vatican," Archivi d'Italia e rassegna internazionale degli archivi, II, [1935], 14-27).

The present edition maintains the high standard and rigorous scholarship reflected in the previous editions and characteristic of the École française in Rome. It should be warmly welcomed as a very important contribution, and the editor, Pierre Gasnault, should be warmly praised for his persistence, despite many other responsibilities, in bringing the present work to fruition. [End Page 349]

Brian Ferme
Venice, Italy


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