Medieval rome history 303 Fall Semester 2010

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Medieval Rome Page


History 303


Fall Semester 2010

Tom Wukitsch – Instructor
Table of Contents

Unit 1: Introduction and the

Constantinian Legacy

Page 3

Unit 2: Barbarians

Page 29

Unit 3: Gregory and Other Christians

Page 35

Unit 4: Exarchs and the East

Page 56

Unit 5: Monastics

Page 68

Unit 6: Franks and Holy Romans

Page 83

Unit 7: Economics

Page 101

Unit 8: Late Architecture

Page 109

Unit 9: Late Artists and Writers

Page 118

Unit 10: Cola, Plagues, Other


Page 127

Unit 1--Medieval Rome

Introduction and the Constantinian legacy.


The Dark Ages” is the pejorative name that Renaissance humanists gave to the period that started with the “fall” of Rome and ended with their own arrival.

A. Introduction

Dark Ages or Darkened ages

In general, "Darkness" was pejoratively applied by snooty Renaissance folks much like "pre-Raphaelites" -- not liking what came in between.

This was particularly true of Italians who thought that what came

In between was German and thus Barbarian.
"Medieval" really just means "middle period"

Early and late Medieval

Different dates in different place -- like all historical period labels.

In "Western Civ", "medieval" is usually applied only to Europe,

but historians of other areas also use the term.

Even in Europe, period names don't always mean the same thing.

Historians usually pick their own parameters
For our purposes, we will try to drop the term "dark ages" but no penalty for

forgetting. We will, however, use Medieval, early and late, for Rome.

We'll use Early Medieval to mean the time between Gregory the Great

(born about 540, Pope from 590 until 604) and ca. 1000.
Late Medieval will mean 1000 through the debatable beginning

of the Renaissance -- we'll decide later when that is.

Although the course is about Rome, we will talk about other places if needed.

Milan, Ravenna, Constantinople, Avignon, etc.
Before starting on the Medieval period, we'll go into some background:

Constantine's legacy -- for better or worse

Barbarians -- anyone non-Roman -- "your barbarian is my cousin"

Benedict and early monasticism

Gregory was a monk and maybe a Benedictine

He wrote a biography of Benedict

Byzantines and their Representatives.
Despite what it sounds like, this isn't a linear history course

There are timelines and an abbreviated history, but we will concentrate on

trends and controlling factors (some of which are people) rather than

on events

We won't always go in chronological order

Benedict, for example, is in the century before Gregory

but will come after him in the course.

And the founders of the other Medieval monastic orders,

Francis and Dominic, will be discussed with Benedict even though

they're late Medieval. Even Ignatius, who was counter-Reformation, will rate a mention.

Krautheimer's Medieval Rome

B. Constantine's legacy

The "Donation of Constantine"

Constantine gives Rome and the Empire to Pope Sylvester 1 -- impious fraud

Extent of the Empire -- map exercise: from Augustus until 1500

Orphan maps? (Periodical Historical Atlas of Europe)

Structures: Church basilicas and rounds
Tituli -- home churches to which someone held title
Ancient Roman Basilicas

Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine

Largest built, curile basilica
Tomb dinners -- an ancient Mediterranean tradition:

Dining/assembly area in front of tombs
Grand triclinia: banquet halls for large numbers of guests

Exposing tombs -- ambulatoria around tombs


Old St. Peter's

Not oldest, but eventually assumed greatest importance.

Funerary chapel (martyrion) expanded into huge basilica

Good example of a semi-round ambulatory cut around a tomb

Perhaps built by Constantine (or Constantius)

Eventually demolished because it would have fallen --

but lasted more than 1000 yrs.

St. John Lateran

"Mother of all churches"

Converted grand tricliniun

Not a tomb church

(Lateran Continued)

Medieval Baptistery still standing

"Constantine's bathtub" (Rienzo connection)

Medieval cloister

Scala Sancta

Leo 3's Triclinium Mosaic from Palace

Disastrous Palace fires

Renaissance/baroque redecoration of the church
Quattro Coronati

4th Century Titulus Aemilianae built by Pope Miltiades (311-14)

Restored by Pope Honorius 625-638) and by Pope Hadrian 772-95

Basilica built by Pope Leo 4 (847-55).

Sacked by the Norman, Robert Guiscard, in 1048.

Rebuilt on a smaller scale by Pope Paschal 2 (1099-1118).

Monastery and cloister added in the 12th and 13th centuries,

held by Benedictines until the 16th.

Fortress guarding the Lateran (1246, Innocent 4)

and haven for Popes during conflict with the Hohehstaufen

Camaldolese monks got it in 1521 and 40 years later the Augustinians got it.

Now Augustinian nuns.

Fresco finds in late 1990's
St. Sabina

5th century (422-23), built on the site of Titulus Sabinae by Peter the Illyrian.
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