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  • Portugalia Pontificia: Materials for the History of Portugal and the Papacy 1198–1417 ed. by Peter Linehan
  • Kate Craig
Portugalia Pontificia: Materials for the History of Portugal and the Papacy 1198–1417, ed. Peter Linehan (Lisbon: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian 2013) 2 vols.

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The scholarly roots of this impressive work lie in the collective project of the Index Actorum Romanorum Pontificum ab Innocentio III ad Martinum V electum, begun after Franco Bartoloni pointed out the need for a comprehensive survey of original papal documents from the period between 1198 and 1417. Completed country-by-country, this proposed “censimento” would give a better picture of the late medieval papacy’s activity than the registers alone could provide. Since then, painstakingly researched inventories of papal documents have been published (both within and without the Index) for several European archives, including those of Switzerland (Largiader, 1968–1970), France (Barbiche, 1975–1982), Austria (Hilger, 1991), England (Zutshi, 1990; Sayers, 1999), and several regions of Germany. Linehan’s work, although not formally part of the Index, does the same (and more) for Portugal. It calls attention to the papacy’s involvement in Portugal as a necessary and often neglected counterbalance to other better-known cases, while providing the tools for future serious scholarly attention. In addition, rather than restricting himself only to papal originals, as in the surveys done for other countries, Linehan also includes materials useful for broader comprehension of the Portuguese church (especially regarding prolonged local conflicts) and, exceptionally, edits the texts of key documents in the second volume. This is the result of many years of work in eleven archives which are for the most part neither easily accessible nor extensively cataloged; as such, it represents a major contribution to Portuguese history, as well as papal history, and to say that there is material here for many future monographs is an understatement.

The first volume is devoted to the calendar of 1396 documents, organized by papacy and date, running from Innocent III (1198–1216) to John XXIII (1410–1415) and the Council of Constance. Each entry gives the place of composition, the date, the address, a short description of the document in English, the dating clause, archival information, and a citation to the edition (if one exists) or bibliographic information. Extensive footnotes add additional information ranging from peculiarities of paleography or physical damage (for example, smudges, tears, or burns) to lengthy transcriptions of a document’s dorsal side. Also included in the first volume are Linehan’s introduction and general bibliography. The introduction is written for a scholarly audience more or less familiar with the intricacies of late medieval Portuguese ecclesiastical history, rather than the newcomer; those looking for a simple summary of the Portuguese church would be better off beginning elsewhere (aided by the bibliography given here). Linehan dives quickly into some particularities of the often fraught relationship between Rome and Lisbon, for example the formal complaints regarding the king and his agents made by the Portuguese bishops to Clement IV in 1268 and revised and reissued over the following twenty years. As he notes, “Portuguese ecclesiastical society was suffused with the culture of litigation, of exceptions and procedural devices, of suggestio falsitatis and suppressio veritatis” (46), making the documentation vast, tangled, and often confusing, but also a rich source of evidence for the range and foundations of Portuguese medieval legal expertise. In spite of the unavoidable limitations of the documents presented here, especially unexplained lacunae (13–14, 19), Linehan argues that we can clearly see the paradox lying at the heart of the history of Portugal and the papacy; Portugal, [End Page 323] “a very kingdom of churches and monasteries” (66), was nevertheless the site of some of the bitterest tensions between clergy and crown.

The second volume contains editions of selected documents (marked with an asterisk next to their précis in the first volume) and a scholarly apparatus. The work that Linehan has done in editing these texts in addition to completing the survey is unparalleled, and will be happily welcomed by those unable to retrace his steps in the archives. To give one example of the kind of promising material available here...


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