- Die Kardinäle des Mittelalters und der Frühen Renaissance Edited by Jürgen Dendorfer and Ralf Lützelschwab
This collection of papers is the fruit of an international collaborative project to provide a scholarly history of cardinals from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. Its focus is on the cardinals’ role in the networks of diplomacy and patronage linking the Church and the secular powers of Western Europe to the Curia and the papacy, the means of communication they used, and the image of themselves that the cardinals presented. About half the papers are in German; the rest are in French, Italian, or English. The standard of the essays is uniformly high and the standard of editing exemplary.
The first section deals with the personal networks of cardinals. Andreas Fischer describes their role in the thirteenth century as intermediaries at the papal court and how their multiple personal loyalties might override their connection to secular princes. Étienne Anheim argues that powerful Roman and French families who had generations of cardinals played a significant role in the transmission of collective memory between the Roman and Avignonese curias. Both he and Andreas Rehberg, who analyzes the cardinals of Roman origin from 1277 to 1527, present Roman baronial cardinals in an unusually positive light. To Rehberg, their multiplicity of social, cultural, and political contacts benefited the Church and was an element of stability in the College. A case study by Anna Esposito of Guillaume d’Estouteville, the wealthy French cardinal who tried to found a baronial dynasty around Rome in the fifteenth century, emphasizes the network of relationships he built up in Rome and the Curia over forty years.
Two essays discuss the diplomatic activity of cardinals. Claudia Zey questions whether cardinal-legates in the eleventh and twelfth centuries should be seen as alter egos of the popes or whether a distinction between the authority of pope and legate gave both room to maneuver in negotiations. Missions on behalf of the pope by fourteenth-century cardinals in France, Spain, England, and Italy, analyzed by Blake Beattie, were mainly efforts at peace-making until the years of the Schism, when rousing support for one or another pope became the major task.
The third section is the most miscellaneous, ranging from Matthias Thumser’s essay identifying documents that might have been brought together by Rainer of Viterbo for use in his propaganda attacks on the Emperor Frederick II, and Pierre Jugie’s summary of his work on the chanceries of legatine cardinals during the Avignonese papacy, to Marco Pellegrini’s analysis of the composition of the College of Cardinals in the sixteenth century that traces the growth in their numbers and in the proportion of Italians in the College, as well as the changing criteria for selection—with loyalty to the popes and administrative efficiency becoming key qualities for advancement. Werner Maleczek studies the iconography of the seals of thirteenth-century cardinals, their funerary monuments, and [End Page 117] their representation in depictions of the papal entourage. Many of the works he discusses are illustrated in an appendix of good-quality photographs, together with works referred to in Claudia Märtl’s analysis of the iconography of cardinals in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with particular attention to how their dress differed from or reflected the color and style of the costume of the popes, and Pio Francesco Pistilli’s discussion of the little-studied artistic patronage of cardinals in Rome in the period from Pope Boniface IX to Pope Martin V.
A concluding summary by Ralf Lützelschwab poses questions calling for further elucidation, including questions about the spirituality of medieval cardinals—one aspect that receives little coverage in this book. But that cannot be called a fault of this collection, which has such an admirable range of papers, all evidently the fruit of research and reflection. It will be a point of...