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In this study on the role of patronage in ecclesiastical careers, the central role of Rome in the distribution of benefices in Portuguese cathedrals is highlighted. Kings, bishops, and others used canonries as payment for services rendered. Although the virtues of the applicants for canonries were important, patronage ties could override personal qualifications. There also were alternative routes to obtaining an office in a cathedral that circumvented the power of the appointment holders, which allowed some to overcome possibly weaker patronage ties.