By Robert Brentano
Uncommon historian Robert Brentano presents a completely new point of view at the personality of the church, faith, and society within the medieval Italian diocese of Rieti from 1188 to 1378. Combing via a cache of formerly neglected files kept in a tower of the cathedral, he makes use of wills, litigation court cases, economic money owed, and different documents to reconstruct the lifestyle of the diocese.
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Extra resources for A New World in a Small Place: Church and Religion in the Diocese of Rieti, 1188-1378
53 There is some talk of their size, their lettering, their binding and condition, their glosses, the signs (like call numbers) which distinguish a few of them. There are missals, antiphonals, an evangelary, an epistolary, a hymnal, responsories, legendaries, passional, breviaries, office books of various sorts, psalters, Bibles, books of the Bible from both testaments, Paul, books of prayer, scholarly books (some) and books of devotion, books of medicine (a number, including one specified as Constantine on fevers translated from the Arabic), books of laws or canons (not many or modern), Isidore, histories (including one specified as a history of the Franks and the Lombards), lives of the saints, classics (Cicero on rhetoric, fifty homilies of Augustine, Josephus, Gregory on Job or a book commenting on Gregory's Moralia).
One must imply the Christ of corporal acts of mercy, the Christ of Cana, who directly or indirectly provoked the soldi's giving. The development from Fragulino to Pietro and Colaxia, however, is not so simply one of opening and blossoming as it at first may seem. Pietro's charity, or at least Colaxia's and her colleagues', is caught in a specifically institutional container. Stefania's vineyard dowry is to be hers only if, within two years time, she enters a monastery of nuns within, or in the immediate neighborhood of, Rieti, and takes her vineyard dowry to that monastery, and if she then dwells in habit there like the other nuns.
What is the place, the diocese of Rieti, in which it is occurring? Chapter 2 is meant to be a lens through which ''church" can be seen: two senses of church defined by the roughly contemporary actions, words, and memories (or reconstructions of memory) of two sets of actors on roughly adjacent, and sometimes identical, physical parts of the diocese. These chapters are meant to supplement each other and introduce the rest. Chapters 3 and 4 try in a number of very different ways to define "diocese" and "diocesan boundary"; they mean to describe change.