Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, by Augustine Thompson

By Augustine Thompson

We all know a lot in regards to the Italian urban states-the "communes"-of the 12th and 13th centuries. yet historians have excited about their political accomplishments to the exclusion in their spiritual existence, going as far as to name them "purely secular contrivances."

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Extra info for Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325

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It was a presentation of the whole order of the cosmos, the machina mundi. ’’71 Taken as a whole, the cathedral made present the orders of the church, the society, and the commune. Medieval theologians saw in the Ecclesia Matrix the pattern of the heavenly Jerusalem come down to earth. This was the House of God, the Holy City, and the Gate of Heaven. 72 Baptism, above all else, identified the first church of the city. For thirteenth-century Italians, too, the religious heart of the commune was not the cathedral but the baptis.

Those with greater seniority found their assigned seats closer to the nave. The bishop, when he presided, however, had his throne in the center of the apse to the east. At Modena, after ascending to the choir by the flanking stairs, the visitor enters an upper extension of the aisles, with access outward into private chapels and a view inward toward the high altar within the choir. Modena’s . See Marcia Hall, ‘‘The Tramezzo in Santa Croce, Florence, Reconstructed,’’ Art Bulletin  (): pl.

Col.  (gambling); Lucca Stat. , p. – (prostitution). 32 Cities sought, in little ways, to protect the dignity of their Mother Church. At the end of the century, the archpriest of the duomo at Modena petitioned the city to purchase new clothing for Antonio, the poor fellow charged with sweeping, trimming the lights, and acting as night watchman in the duomo chapel of Saint Giminiano. The city was already providing for two other regular custodians to be properly attired, ‘‘to the honor of Saint Giminiano’’ and, of course, to the honor of Modena.

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