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312BOOK REVIEWS Ancient Storia dell'Italia religiosa, I: L'antichità e il medioevo. Edited by André Vauchez. [Storia e Società.] (Bari: Editori Laterza. 1993. Pp. xvi, 612; 20 plates. Lire 50,000.) The editors of this book have shown a great deal of courage in imagining its subject and Ln approaching that subject with the structure they have chosen. In fact, it could be argued that there cannot be a religious history of something called Italy stretching from the pre-Roman period to the Second Vatican Council (in the early sixteenth century). It would not be an unreasonable argument; but readers aware of the activities and work of Gabriele De Rosa (one of the general editors of this volume) and André Vauchez would probably agree that if anyone could make this a subject, and this a way to treat the subject, they could. They have chosen not to write a single narrative controlled by a single mind, like, say, Colin Morris's The Papal Monarchy, but rather to put together seventeen essays by twelve eminent French and ItaUan scholars (and it is a very French-Italian production). Four of the writers contribute more than one essay: GiuUa Barone, Grado Merlo, and Roberto Rusconi, each two; André Vauchez himself, three and an introduction. Although the repeaters do not always speak in the same voice, their repeated presence gives a sense of continuity and connection to the book. The preface and introduction suggest that the editors were aware of difficulty, and both pieces persuade the, at least already persuaded, reader that there was an Italy, and less successfully at least in terms of the offered essays, that there is a real connection between pre-Roman and Vatican Council II, as Vauchez suggests (p. 7), for example, in the attachment of the people of questo paese to the visibUity of the sacred. Vauchez's introduction seems to promise an approach which, probably fortunately, is not really much pursued except in one ofVauchez's own essays, which deals with relics, sanctuaries , and sacred space, and in Chiara Frugoni's essay on, at least according to its title, iconography and the religious life in the later Middle Ages (thirteenth to fifteenth centuries), and in the last part of Paolo GolineLU's essay. The essays are arranged in chronological, but of course not completely chronological, order. They are repeatedly forced to provide continuum and generaUzation , not the most enticing kind of writing. That they face their jobs differently a glance at the numbers and kinds of footnotes makes clear. But, of course, historians as talented as these men and women are cannot be kept from presenting much of value and interest and even some surprises. Most obviously briUiant is that part of Giorgio Cracco's essay (which covers the period from the Lombards to the Carolingians) which creates in "The miracoW of Gregory the Great" a focused, ItaUan, vivaciously active, Gregory, shorn of aspects (and bibUography) that would distract from his Italian importance. Frugoni,who proclaims the impossibiUty of doing too much in so little space, adapts her skiU to the volume's seeming purpose and approaches an applied piety (devozione "applicata"), images of practical use and in public places; she offers a model BOOK REVIEWS313 iconographical deconstruction of a 1464 gonfalone by Benedetto Bonfigli. Roberto Rusconi twice shows his unusual ability to combine the long, broad coverage helpful to this kind of venture with repeated thought-provoking insight and cheering example.Jean Guyon provides what seems to me a dense Uttle masterpiece in his essay on the first centuries of the Christian mission in Italy; and Grado Merlo in the first of his essays, on monastic reform and the vita apostólica, ties and evokes with accomplished mastery, as in his use of CamaldoU and VaUombrosa. GolinelU's relatively long essay on organizational structure and reUgious Ufe in the age of particularism is, especially in its first ten pages, fuU of crisp information and argument. Jean-Marie Martin confronts and analyzes the existence of and relations between Lombard, Greek, Islamic, and Norman, in the South, through the twelfth century. This book complements rather than replaces the long essays by Giovanni MiccoU and Jacques LeGoff in...


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