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  • Honorius III et l’Orient (1216–1227). Étude et publication de sources inédites des Archives vaticanes (ASV) by Pierre-Vincent Claverie
  • Peter W. Edbury
Honorius III et l’Orient (1216–1227). Étude et publication de sources inédites des Archives vaticanes (ASV). By Pierre-Vincent Claverie. [The Medieval Mediterranean: Peoples, Economies and Cultures, 400–1500, Vol. 97.] (Boston: Brill. 2013. Pp. xiv, 502. $228.00. ISBN 978-90-04-24559-4.)

Sandwiched as it is between the pontificates of two of the greatest popes of the Middle Ages, Innocent III and Gregory IX, the reign of Honorius III has tended to be given scant attention. So far as the Crusades and the Latin East are concerned, that is unjustified, not least because Honorius’s registers are a major source of information for the Fifth Crusade (1217–22); the marriage of Emperor Frederick II to Isabella of Brienne, the queen of Jerusalem (1225); and much else besides. Pierre-Vincent Claverie has provided us with both a useful study of Honorius’s dealings with the East and a full edition of the texts of 150 papal letters, most of which have only been published previously in summary form. The study is divided into five chapters dealing with the necessarily distant papal supervision of the Fifth Crusade; the defense of the Latin East, including the Latin Empire of [End Page 595] Constantinople that during Honorius’s pontificate was in sharp decline; relations with the Latin Church in the East; relations with the Oriental and Greek Churches where, for example, in Cyprus we see the end during Honorius’s pontificate of what Christopher MacEvitt would call “rough tolerance” and its replacement by the subjugation of the Greeks to the Latins; and the patronage of the military religious orders. Claverie has provided a thorough and wide-ranging analysis of the pope’s approaches to the problems confronting him that arose in the East.

The publication of the complete texts of the papal letters is much to be welcomed. There is some overlap with Christophe Schabel’s Bullarium Cyprium (Nicosia, 2010), which gives the full texts of papal letters relating to Cyprus for the period 1196–1314 and includes seventy-six letters of Honorius III. However, it would seem that rather less than twenty letters appear in both collections. Schabel and William Duba intend to publish what they term the Bullarium Hellenicum—Honorius III’s letters for Frankish Greece and Latin Constantinople—and they allowed Claverie to consult a draft version of their work. These three publications together will constitute a major resource for the study of the Latin presence in the Eastern Mediterranean at this time.

It is unfortunate, therefore, that Claverie does not always remember to cite Schabel’s Bullarium Cyprium at appropriate points. There are several examples of him failing to do so, notably around pages 102–03, where he gives the manuscript references and then refers his readers to the nineteenth-century summaries as published by Pietro Pressutti. Indeed, the referencing is rather erratic—the manuscript references cease after the second chapter. Also, there are a number of minor but irritating errors such as the following: the future Hugh I of Cyprus was not affianced to Philippa, daughter of Henry of Champagne (p. 79); Aimery of Lusignan was older than Guy of Lusignan and so not his “cadet” (p. 100); the knight who was lynched for asserting his loyalty to Queen Alice was Baudouin “de Bellême” and not Baudouin “de Bethléem” (p. 104). In addition, it is sad to see the perpetuation of the baseless idea that the anonymous author of the work that goes by the name of La Chronique d’Ernoul et de Bernard le Trésorier was “Ernoul de Gibelet.” The index, too, contains an oddity. The names of modern historians whose works are discussed should be included in the index, but listing them by their first names—so that, for example, Joseph Donovan and Joshua Prawer appear under “J”—is not normal practice.

Peter W. Edbury
Cardiff University


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