This collection examines the image of Rome through Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Persian descriptions of the eternal
270 38 5MB
English Pages 160  Year 2012
This collection takes a new approach to understanding religious plurality in the Iberian Peninsula and its Mediterranean
334 16 6MB Read more
Abraham's Children brings together essays by leading scholars of each faith to address key issues for the faiths an
281 87 18MB Read more
Read this book if you have ever wondered why the Catholic Church specifically claims to be Roman? It would seem that the
332 46 280KB Read more
The idea of punishment after death ― whereby the souls of the wicked are consigned to Hell (Gehenna, Gehinnom, or Jahann
1,010 11 2MB Read more
How can one visit the monuments and sites of Rome and not feel overwhelmed? Strolling Through Rome guides visitors, firs
365 44 18MB Read more
One of the most visited places in the world, Rome attracts millions of tourists each year to walk its storied streets an
545 103 93MB Read more
Table of contents :
Note from the Publisher
Introduction: Rome Re-imagined
The Rituals of Renaissance: Liturgy and Mythic History in The Marvels of Rome
Rewriting Antiquity, Renewing Rome. The Identity of the Eternal City through Visual Art, Monumental Inscriptions and the Mirabilia
Walking in the Shadows of the Past: The Jewish Experience of Rome in the Twelfth Century
Viewing Rome from the Roman Empires
An Assessment of the Political Symbolism of the City of Rome in the Writings of John of Salisbury
Decoding the Labyrinth: Rome in Arabic and Persian Medieval Literature
Conclusion: An Imagined City
Rome Re-Imagined: Twelfth-Century Jews, Christians and Muslims Encounter the Eternal City Louis I. Hamilton Drew University, Madison, NJ, USA and Stefano Riccioni Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy
Leiden • Boston 2011
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Rome re-imagined : twelfth-century Jews, Christians and Muslims encounter the Eternal City / [edited by] Louis I. Hamilton and Stefano Riccioni. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-90-04-22528-2 (pbk. : acid-free paper) 1. Rome (Italy)—History—476-1420. 2. Rome (Italy)—Church history. 3. Rome (Italy)—In literature. 4. Rome (Italy)—In art. 5. Jews—Italy—Rome—History—To 1500. 6. Christians—Italy—Rome—History—To 1500. 7. Muslims—Italy—Rome—History— To 1500. 8. Papacy—History—To 1500. 9. Civilization, Medieval—Classical influences. 10. Travelers’ writings—History and criticism. I. Hamilton, Louis I. II. Riccioni, Stefano. DG811.R66 2012 305.609456’3209021—dc23
ISBN: 978 90 04 22528 2 © Copyright 2011 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Global Oriental, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers and Martinus Nijhoﬀ Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal personal use is granted by Brill provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. Printed in The Netherlands
CONTENTS Note from the Publisher..................................................................
Introduction: Rome Re-imagined Herbert L. Kessler . ...............................................................
Articles Louis I. Hamilton, The Rituals of Renaissance: Liturgy and Mythic History in The Marvels of Rome ..................................... 5 Stefano Riccioni, Rewriting Antiquity, Renewing Rome. The Identity of the Eternal City through Visual Art, Monumental Inscriptions and the Mirabilia . ............................ 27 Marie Thérèse Champagne and Ra‘anan S. Boustan, Walking in the Shadows of the Past: The Jewish Experience of Rome in the Twelfth Century ................................................................. 52 Emily Albu, Viewing Rome from the Roman Empires ................ 83 Irene A. O’Daly, An Assessment of the Political Symbolism of the City of Rome in the Writings of John of Salisbury ................... 100 Mario Casari, Decoding the Labyrinth: Rome in Arabic and Persian Medieval Literature ...................................................... 122 Louis I. Hamilton and Stefano Riccioni, Conclusion: An Imagined City .................................................................... 154 Index . ......................................................................................... The page numbers in the above Table of Contents and in the Index refer to the bracketed page numbers in this volume.
Note from the Publisher Introduction of Editorial Manager Brill is pleased to announce the introduction of the Editorial Manager system for its journal Medieval Encounters. Editorial Manager is a webbased manuscript submission and peer review system developed by Aries Systems Corporation for scholarly journals, reference works, and conference proceedings; more than 3000 publications currently use workflow solutions from Aries Systems (for example, Speculum also recently migrated to this system). The Editorial Manager system was tailored to fit Medieval Encounters’s particular needs and standards: new features include a requirement to present an abstract with a manuscript. Editorial Manager is simple to use, and tutorials and instructions are available to acquaint authors with the procedures. Using the system, authors submit original and revised manuscripts, editorial staff send manuscripts out for peer review, reviewers conduct reviews and return comments, and editors make final decisions. The entire process from submission to evaluation to decision is online only. Production and proofing of accepted manuscripts follows traditional practices and takes place outside the Editorial Manager system. Scholars who wish to submit manuscripts are now required to go to the Medieval Encounters Gateway at www.editorialmanager.com/ME. You will be asked to register giving your email address, you will be taken through the steps needed to upload your manuscript and you will receive a user name and password and automatic email updates on the progress of your manuscript. For the time being the system applies only to new article submissions, not to reviews or to articles in special issues organized by guest editors. This is the link to our Instructions to Authors on the Brill website (www.brill.nl/AuthorsInstructions/ME.pdf )
note from the publisher
and hope that you will soon be offering your new work to Medieval Encounters. Julian Deahl Senior Acquisitions Editor Medieval Studies BRILL
Introduction: Rome Re-imagined Herbert L. Kessler*
Department of the History of Art, Mergenthaler Hall, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA *E-mail: [email protected]
So much has been written about the Gregorian Reform and Renaissance of the twelfth century, especially recently, that the idea of adding anything new to the subject might seem an impossible task; this Special Issue of Medieval Encounters proves that assumption wrong. Offering original perspectives on both well-studied materials and sources never before considered in this context, the seven essays in this issue map outsiders’ and insiders’ understandings of the strengthening of papal authority, the battle against corruption in the Church, and the revival of classical culture, that began at the end of the eleventh century and gathered force during much of the twelfth. In so doing, they also demonstrate the contribution deep readings of historical texts, both local and generic, make to understanding diverse meanings adhering to a single, complex theme. Louis Hamilton’s and Stefano Riccioni’s examinations of the oftencited Mirabilia urbis Romae (1140-1143), for instance, unearth a Reform agenda even in what purports to be a descriptive guide. Disclosing liturgical routes underlying the text, the one shows how understanding the itinerary through Rome by means of the twelfth-century ordo reveals the author’s intention to cast the City’s history and monuments as a Christian triumph and, parenthetically, as a victory over the Infidels. Examining inscriptions and images that imposed multiple references on the classical spolia incorporated in Roman churches and architecture, and evoked also in the apse mosaics of San Clemente, the other “reads” the “stratigraphy” of multiple meanings in Rome and the Mirabilia as a work of literary exegesis designed to promote Christian superiority and, in that way, to reinforce the Reformers’ political claims. The ways in which twelfth-century Rome, with its ancient history, classical and Christian monuments, and reasserted papal power evoked diverse
herbert l. kessler
reactions in the minds of outsiders are brilliantly investigated in the other four chapters. The analysis of Benjamin Tudela’s 1161 Itinerary by Marie Thérèse Champagne and Ra’anan S. Boustan teases out an intercalation of ( Jewish) memory and twelfth-century reality in contemporary Rome, in this case, through a complex interplay of written sources, oral traditions, and actual monuments. Irene O’Daly shows how, from far away Canterbury, John of Salisbury viewed both papal ambition and the newly-instituted senate and imagined Rome simultaneously as an embodiment of ancient virtue and as a metaphor of modern corruption. Through an analysis of texts from the opposite end of the known world, Mario Casari examines the ways in which literary allusions to imperial Rome and its Byzantine successor on the Bosporus were fashioned into a maze of images that presented readers of Arabic and Persian texts with an almost impenetrable itinerary through an entirely fictive place. And comparing the views of Rome in Anna Komnene’s Alexiad and the Peutinger Map, Emily Albu discovers that persons in the New Rome itself and in the competing “Holy Roman Empire” transmuted the City’s special allure into an opportunity to promote partisan anti-papal positions based largely on transmitted sources. Long since displaced by other Romes across the Alps and beyond the sea but, in the twelfth century, bolstered by a resurgent papacy, the Eternal City was in fact more a construction than a reality. So, too, was the Gregorian Reform and its aftermath, which sought to reassert papal authority by rallying Rome’s special place in history and in the Mediterranean cultural ecology, or rather, the various Romes’ place—the imperial capital on the Tiber, the refigured “urbs beata Hierusalem,” the contemporary city governed by a pope embodying both the ancient and sacred pasts, and the extramural surrogates which in texts, rituals, and images were always connected to one another. Opening our ears to the voices of Jew and Muslim, Englishman, Spaniard, German, and Byzantine—as well as local Christians—the essays, thus, provide a new account of the City and the reform movement centered in it that were, themselves, fundamentally multi-vocal.
The Rituals of Renaissance: Liturgy and Mythic History in The Marvels of Rome Louis I. Hamilton*
Religious Studies Department, Faulkner House 303, Drew University, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940, USA *E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract The Mirabilia urbis romae offers us insight into the symbolic meaning of the streetscape of Rome from the perspective of a canon of St. Peter’s. It should be read alongside the contemporary Roman Ordo with which it was certainly associated in the twelfth century. When read in that context, the Mirabilia serves as a kind of direct and indirect commentary on the papal liturgy. The papal liturgies at Easter and Christmas moved through an environment that was “re-written” by the Mirabilia as a narrative of Christian Roman renewal and of triumph throughout the Mediterranean world. The Mirabilia celebrates both Roman renewal and hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean, giving heightened significance to the liturgical life of the twelfth-century papacy. The papal liturgy, at these most triumphant processional moments, celebrated that historic and, ultimately, eschatological triumph. Keywords Rome, Benedict of St. Peter’s, papal liturgy, adventus, reform, dedication of churches, Easter liturgy, Christmas liturgy
The twelfth century has long been considered a period of “renaissance” emerging from the papal reforms of the eleventh century.1 Integral to this The historiography on this complex notion of renaissance is prohibitive; important works include: Charles H. Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927); Percy E. Schramm, Kaiser, Rom und Renovatio: Studien und texte der Geschichte des römischen Erneuerungsgedankens vom Ende der karolingischen Reiches bis zum Investitutstreit, 2 vols. (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1929); Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (Stockholm: Alqvist and Wiskell, 1960); Christopher N. Lawrence Brooke, The Twelfth Century Renaissance (London: Thames and Hudson, 1969); Richard Krautheimer, Rome, Profile of a City, 312-1308 (Princeton, 1
louis i. hamilton
understanding of renaissance is the revival of the genre of a descriptio urbis from antiquity.2 Multiple descriptions of the city of Rome were created in the Latin West in the twelfth century and the most influential of these was the Mirabilia urbis Romae, the Marvels of the City of Rome. The Mirabilia concludes quite wistfully, These and more temples and palaces of emperors, consuls, senators, and prefects were inside this Roman city in the time of the pagans, as we have read in old chronicles, have seen with our own eyes, and have heard the ancient men tell. In writing we have tried as well as we could to bring back to human memory how great was their beauty in gold, silver, brass, ivory and precious stones.3
So, the Mirabilia, ever since Charles Haskins famously first considered the twelfth century a period of renaissance, has itself served as a key example of the renewed interest in antiquity, its history and literary and artistic forms, that marks for us a “renaissance” period. In a slightly broader sense, scholars have considered the twelfth-century’s self-conscious efforts at renewal and reform, as also typifying a renaissance model.4 This emphasis on renewal and reform framed in terms of the classical and Constantinian NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980), 198-202; Robert L. Benson, Giles Constable, and Carol D. Lanham, eds., Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992); Anna Sapir Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the TwelfthCentury Renaissance (New York, NY: Routledge, 1995); Giles Constable, The Reformation of the Twelfth Century (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Robert N. Swanson, The Twelfth-Century Renaissance (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999); Giles Constable, ed., Il secolo XII: la “renovatio” dell’Europa Christiana (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2003); Dale Kinney, “Rome in the Twelfth Century: Urbs fracta and renovatio,” Gesta 45, no. 2 (2006): 199-220. 2 Dale Kinney, “Fact and Fiction in the Mirabilia Urbis Romae,” Éamonn Ócarragáin and Carol Neman de Vegvar, eds., Roma Felix—Formation and Reflections of Medieval Rome (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 235-252, at 238. See also, Herbert Bloch, “The New Fascination with Ancient Rome,” in Benson and Constable, eds., Renaissance and Renewal, 615-636; Robert Brentano, Rome before Avignon, a social history of thirteenth-century Rome (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990), 75-91; Debra J. Birch, Pilgrimage to Rome in the Middle Ages (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1998), 117-118. 3 Roberto Valentini and Giuseppe Zuchetti, Codice Topografico della Citta di Roma 3 (Rome: Tipografia del Senato, 1946), 65. 4 Constable has come to prefer “reformation” over “renaissance” because the former “is a less exclusively cultural and secular term than renaissance, as it is used today, and is thus a reminder that the movement of renewal included religious life and institutions as well as intellectual and artistic developments,” Constable, Reformation of the Twelfth Century, 3.
the rituals of renaissance
Roman past (expressed through a variety of literary and legal genres as well as artistic media) enables us to appropriately describe the period as a twelfth-century renaissance.5 The text was copied, expanded upon, and imitated throughout the century but this essay will consider primarily that text in its earliest form. The Mirabilia had been commonly accepted to have been written no later than 1143 by a canon of St. Peter’s named Benedict.6 That attribution has recently been questioned because of inconsistencies between the Mirabilia and another important topographical text written by Benedict prior to 1143, the compilation of texts known as the Liber Politicus, in its descriptions of various portions of the city.7 That argument places the text around the millennium and has not, it seems, been widely accepted, although recent work has shown that the Mirabilia was dependent on earlier written sources.8 In fact both the Politicus and Mirabilia offer the reader multiple The term “renaissance” as applied to the twelfth century has been a point of contention for nearly a century and I cannot summarize the historiography here. A recent critical voice is C. Stephen Jaeger, “Pessimism in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance,” Speculum 78 (2003): 1151-1183. Jaeger critiques the use of the term based on twelfth-century pessimism about the age (as distinct from the humanists’ enthusiasm for their own period of renewal). Many critics point to the vagueness of the application of the term; see, for example, the extended review by Bernard McGinn, “Renaissance, Humanism and the Interpretation of the Twelfth Century,” The Journal of Religion 55 (1975): 444-455. At least in part, Benson and Constable turn away from Haskins’ more vague language and point to the twelfth century “desire to restore or return to a lost or buried past,” a past that was only partly classical, but also Constantinian and apostolic, and “its sense of renewal, reform and rebirth,” as the essential features of this particular renaissance. This enthusiasm for the Roman past of the first four centuries shaped many of the most prominent endeavors of the twelfth century (in architecture, law, and religious reform). For a nuanced discussion that engages the ambivalence of the renewal of ancient political and architectural forms see, Kinney, “Urbs fracta and renovatio,” especially at 213-217. 6 Louis Duchesne, “L’auteur des Mirabilia,” Mélanges d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de l’Ecole Française de Rome 24 (1904): 479-489. 7 Cesare D’Onofrio, Visitiamo Roma mille anni fa, La città dei Mirabilia (Rome: Romana società editrice, 1988) 14-18, 25-26. The original attribution was by Duchesne, “L’Auteur des Mirabilia,’’ 479-489. See the discussion by Dale Kinney, “Fact and Fiction,” 235-237. For the text of the Liber Politicus see volume 2 of Paul Fabre and Louis Duchesne, Le Liber Censuum de l’Église romaine, 3 vols. (Paris: Fontemoing et Cie, [puis] E. de Boccard, 19101952). 8 Nine Robijnte Miedema, Die “Mirabilia Romae:” Untersuchungen zu ihrer Überlieferung mit Edition der deutschen und niederländischen Texte (Tübingen: M. Niemeyer, 1996), 4-11, thinks it unlikely that Benedict was the author. She is following Bernhard Schimmelpfennig, Die Zeremonienbücher der römischen Kurie im Mittelalter (Tübingen: M. Niemeyer, 1973). 5
louis i. hamilton
ways of organizing the city and neither text is overly scrupulous about making those multiple modes of presentation consistent. The two texts, however, have long been associated since they are bound within the same twelfth-century manuscript containing the earliest redactions of both: Cambrai, Bibliothèque Communale, Cod. 354 (512).9 Putting aside the question of authorship, that the Politicus and the Mirabilia were so closely associated at the outset of the manuscript tradition suggests that contemporaries considered them to be related and, therefore, must have seen them as somehow coherent. Furthermore, the Politicus contains a Roman Ordo that details papal liturgy in the city; an Ordo derived from the Roman Ordo of the Politicus is also bound with the Mirabilia in the later twelfthcentury manuscript containing the Liber Censuum, the administrative records of the papal camerarius (Cod. Vaticano Latino 8486, compiled in 1192).10 Thus, the Mirabilia continued to be associated with the Roman Ordo in the later twelfth century. The Roman Ordo is itself another set of itineraries across the city, crisscrossing Rome as the pope proceeded from either St. Peter’s or from the Lateran to the church appropriate to the feast. Since these were never simple or direct routes, Benedict’s Ordo also provides a list of monuments in the City. With few exceptions, historians have tended to treat the Ordo as distinct from the Mirabilia even though, as we have noted, they had a shared manuscript tradition and a shared home among the canons of St. Peter’s in the twelfth century. Dale Kinney has recently shown that the Christmas processional of Benedict’s Ordo mirrors Dale Kinney finds the argument against Benedict unpersuasive, “Mirabilia Urbis Romae,” in Aldo S. Bernardo and Saul Levin, eds., The Classics in the Middle Ages: Papers of the twentieth annual conference of the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies (Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, 1990), 207-221, at nt. 12. See the extended discussion in Maria Accame and Emy Dell’Oro, I “Mirabilia Urbis Romae” (Rome: Tored, 2004), 15-25. Benedict’s authorship has been vigorously defended by John F. Romano, “The Ceremonies of the Roman Pontiff: Re-reading Benedicts TwelfthCentury Liturgical Script,” Viator 41, no. 2 (2010): 133-149, at 147. 9 Valentini and Zuchetti, Codice Topografico, 11-13. Miedema, Die “Mirabilia Romae,” 4-11 agrees with Valentini and Zuchetti on its probable ur-text. 10 Valentini and Zuchetti, Codice Topografico, 15. For a direct comparison of the major litany in view of the topographical evidence in the Mirabilia, see Joseph Dyer, “Roman Processions of the Major Litany (litaniae majores) from the Sixth to the Twelfth Century,” Roma Felix, 112-137. Kinney examines the relationship between the Christmas processional of the Ordo and the descriptions of the Mirabilia to argue in favor of Benedict’s authorship (or at least, “surely an intimate colleague”); Kinney, “Fact and Fiction,” 245-252, at 252.
the rituals of renaissance
the itinerary of the eighth-century Einsedeln itinerary, even though it does not share its toponyms. At the same time she argues convincingly that Benedcit’s Ordo and the Mirabilia are “intimately related” without organizing the material in the same fashion.11 This suggests the possibility that the Mirabilia is best read through the lens of the papal ritual and ceremonial of the twelfth century (most notably Benedict’s Ordo) and, in turn, that the meaning of the ritual life of the twelfth-century papacy can be better understood through the Mirabilia. The Mirabilia’s descriptions of the city and its monuments are relatively brief and have been thought of as being organized in three sections.12 The first section lists the essential infrastructure of the city, its walls, gates, triumphal arches, hills, palaces, and bridges, but also its cemeteries and places of martyrdom (sections 1-10 in the Valentini and Zucchetti edition). This first section is quite brief and is concerned primarily with listing rather than describing sights. The second section, by contrast, concerns many fewer sites in the City and is often described as “legendary,” since it presents longer narratives associated with a given sight such as the vision of Octavian on the Ara Coeli or the naked philosophers Praxilites and Phidias (i.e., the Dioscori) (sections 11-19). Finally, the third section (20-32) is most often described as an itinerary (a “perambulation” in one editor’s words) or a region-by-region guide to the City.13 Scholars have observed that the narrative moves, approximately, from the area of the Vatican across the Tiber towards the tomb of Octavius through the area of the Forum, and into Trastevere (we will return to this itinerary in detail in a moment). This third section is so concerned with ancient Roman (i.e., not Christian) temples, that it has been called “de templis” by modern scholars.14 The combination of legends of the city in the second section and the rough itinerary of the third section, proceeding, as it were, temple Kinney, “Fact and Fiction,” 245, 249-251. The text is typically presented in this manner, although the divisions are not part of the original manuscript. For example, Eileen Gardiner and Francis Morgan Nicholas, eds., The Marvels of Rome: Mirabilia Urbis Romae (New York, NY: Italica Press, 1986), xi, xxi-xxii, citing Henri Jordan Topographie der Stadt Rom in Alterthum, 2 vols. (Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1871). I am largely following the Nichols’ translation, correcting it against the Valentini text as needed. 13 Gardiner, 31; Valentini and Zuchetti, 3:10; Kinney, “Fact and Fiction,” 238. 14 Fabre and Duchesne, Liber Censuum, 1:98, noted by Dale Kinney, “Fact and Fiction,” at nt. 17. 11 12
louis i. hamilton
by temple around the city, has caused scholars to frequently refer to the work as a “guidebook” to the city of Rome; a guidebook with clear ambitions to renew the glory of the ancient city.15 If we examine the third section of the Mirabilia, the section often referred to as a “guidebook” for pilgrims, and consider the sites described in sequence, we discover a route that begins in a coherent manner but becomes increasingly confused.16 The third section (to provide only an outline), at chapter XIX, begins at St. Peter’s (Map 1, 1) drawing the reader’s attention to Nero’s obelisk and the great pine cone before proceeding toward the so-called Sepulcher of Romulus and the Terebenth of Nero near Castel Sant’Angelo, which it describes as the Temple of Hadrian.17 The route proceeds across the Tiber and arrives at the Mausoleum of Octavian (Map 1, 4), also described here as an ancient temple with priests. From there it continues to the Pantheon (Map 1, 5), likewise considered an ancient temple, and other ancient temples in the area are also described. Most notably an apt former inscription is recorded by the Mirabilia, “Old Rome was I, now new Rome shall be praised; I bear my head aloft from ruin raised.”18 The next stop is the Capitoline and it is described as the former Capitol of the world and that here was the Temple of Jupiter and Moneta as noted by Ovid; other temples are also described and noted to be lost. The reader is then taken to the Fora and a number of temples in the area are also named, with the Mamertine Prison (the traditional site of the incarceration of Peter and Paul) serving as a landmark to orient the reader amidst the ruins of temples.19 The “Arch of the Seven Lamps,” that is the Arch marking Titus triumphal return to the City with the spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem, is likewise merely a landmark here to help orient your gaze towards a variety of present and absent temples, including one in front of the Colosseum.20
Most notably Krautheimer, Rome: Profile of a City, 198. Valentini and Zucchetti, 3:10. All maps are based on those found in Gardiner and Nicholas, Marvels of Rome with the permission of Italica Press. A searchable map linked to a database that is part of an ongoing research project of mine, may be found at: http://users. drew.edu/lhamilto/cincproject/opening_page.html. 17 Mirabilia, XIX. 18 Mirabilia, XXII; Gardiner, 37. 19 Mirabilia, XXIII-XXIV. 20 Mirabilia, XXV. 15 16
the rituals of renaissance
Map 1. Mirabilia, Section 3: “Pilgrim’s Itinerary”.
louis i. hamilton
From here the matter gets more confused as we proceed over the Palatine to the Circus Maximus (Map 1, 11), where it is observed that Constantine took much of the Circus’ decorative materials to create Constantinople. From there, we proceed up the Caelian hill toward the Lateran; while local pagan temples are described, the beauties of the Lateran itself (Map 1, 12) are noted but the author demurs that they are “not to be described.” The confusion is compounded as the route moves from here to the Baths of Diocletian; this requires over a mile of backtracking to view what the Mirabilia describes as the ruins of the Palace of Diocletian with four temples. Worse still, from the vantage of an itinerary, is the decision to retrace one’s steps entirely and proceed from the Baths of Diocletian to the Aventine (past the Circus Maximus) to visit the Temple of Mercury (Map 1, 14).21 From there, the itinerary returns to a largely linear format. It identifies the neighborhood of the Schola Graeca and points the reader to a variety of temples, some simply remembered as formerly in the area. Santa Maria in Cosmedin is not mentioned by the Mirabilia. Rather, and tellingly, the author seems primarily concerned that the reader to know that we are in the Greek neighborhood of Rome, surrounded by former pagan sites. The route proceeds to and across the Tiber Island into Trastevere with multiple pagan temples observed along the route. The “Jew’s Bridge” and Santa Maria in Trastevere serve as landmarks to help orient the reader. The latter, as is often the case in this section, is described as having displaced a pagan temple. The temples at the base of the Janiculum (Map 1, 18) take us close to our starting point at the Vatican, before the traveler is asked to return to Tiber Island and conclude the tour outside the City gate on Via Appia with the Temple of Mars and an unnamed triumphal arch (Map 1, 20).22 There are three things about this third section worth noting at present. First, this is obviously a text with a keen interest in ancient, pre-Christian Rome, going so far as to list sights and inscriptions no longer present on the twelfth-century Roman landscape. Second, Christian and Jewish sites are named either to orient the reader or, in the case of churches, to point out that the church is on the site of a former temple. It is the renewed interest in the classical past of the city that makes this pointedly a “renaissance” text in the sense of the term discussed above. Third, while Mirabilia, XXVI-XXVIII. Mirabilia, XXIX-XXXI.
the rituals of renaissance
this section is a guide to the city’s regions, it makes for very rough travel along a route not overly concerned with linearity. It meanders around the city, doubling back on itself on multiple occasions, listing the local pagan sights as it proceeds. For this reason, while the text provides an itinerary, it seems more an imagined than practiced itinerary. This combination of imagination and topography only heightens its power as a “renaissance” text.23 That is to say, the Mirabilia is less concerned to describe the city as it was than “to reconstitute the vanishing ruins as a shapely city of memory.”24 It is a remembered city, a city of the imagination that interests the author and that enables him to recapture a version of its historic glory as well as restore lost monuments to the city landscape. The second section of the Mirabilia embellishes that imagined landscape with a number of narratives of Rome’s mythic past, all of which connect the pagan past to the Christian present. Historians have long appreciated that this section, given its interest in Roman imperial history, possesses a renaissance quality, and we will highlight that briefly. Less attention has been paid to the fact that one can follow these narratives as an itinerary at least as well as one can follow the itinerary of the third section. The first story in this section takes as its setting the Capitoline Hill (Map 2, 1). It relates the vision of the Emperor Octavian that leads to the foundation of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.25 The story begins at the time when Octavian had “made the entire world render tribute to him.” The senate wanted to worship him as a god but Octavian was unsure; he turned to the Tiburtine Sybil. She asked for three days to consider the question and returned prophesying a future King who would rule forever and judge the world. The Mirabilia only quotes a few lines, before directing the reader to read the entire prophecy in the sibylline books. While Octavian listens to the Sybil,
See Kinney, “Fact and Fiction,” 238, for the debate over the practicality of the itinerary. That it is primarily a literary itinerary, does not preclude an intention to trace a route across the city. 24 Kinney, “Urbs fracta and renovatio,” 217. 25 Mirabilia, XI. See Cynthia White, “The Vision of Augustus: Pilgrim’s Guide or Papal Pulpit?,” Classica et Mediaevalia, Revue danoise de philologie et d’histoire 55 (2004), 247-277. Giuseppe Gianelli, “La Leggenda dei ‘Mirabilia’ e la antica topografia del’Arce Capitolina,” Studi Romani 26 (1978), 60-71. 23
louis i. hamilton
Map 2. Mirabilia, Section 2: Mythic Histories.
the rituals of renaissance
He saw in heaven a virgin, exceedingly fair, standing on an altar holding a man-child in her arms . . . and heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘This is the altar of the Son of God.’ The emperor straightaway fell to the ground and worshipped.26
This spot, the bedchamber of Octavian, would become Santa Maria in Aracoeli for this reason. Thus, the narrative explains the meaning of the dedication of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. The story christens Octavian and provides multiple pagan witnesses to the coming of the Christ even as it explains the origins of Christian sacred space via the pagan past. From the Capitoline the text moves to the Esquiline and the statues known today as the Dioscuri (Map 2, 2). The Mirabilia records the tradition that these were two philosophers who were immortalized in stone by the Emperor Tiberius. The horses “trample on the earth, that is, on the mighty princes of the world. . . . And there shall come a very mighty king who shall mount the horses, that is, the might of the princes of this world.” The two philosophers are naked, “as all worldly knowledge is naked and open to their minds.” The Mirabilia also references a now lost sculpture of a woman, “the woman encompassed with serpents, who sits with a shell before her signifies the Church and the preachers who preach her; but whoever desires to go to her may not unless first washed in that shell.” Thus, the Dioscuri are turned into a symbol of baptism, asceticism, and also of the ultimate coming of Jesus as king. A list of Roman officials follows in the earliest redaction of the Mirabilia, as does a brief description of the Columns of Trajan (Map 2, 4) and Marcus Aurelius.27 Here the text takes a significant detour in order to mention the height of the Colosseum and to offer a story concerning the equestrian statue in front of the Lateran (I have placed this in dotted lines on Map 2 as the story is in part negative; it erases a common meaning for the equestrian state). The Mirabilia explains that the equestrian statue is not of Constantine, as commonly thought. Moreover, it continues themes from the previous sections. In fact, the Mirabilia tells us the statue commemorates the defeat of “a mighty king from the East [who] came to Italy and besieged Rome on the side of the Lateran.”28 The defeat is approximately placed in the Republican period, “In the time of the consuls and the senators.” What is more, the narrative is told with a humor that has Mirabilia, XI, 28. See the article in this issue by Stefano Riccioni. 28 Mirabilia, XV, 32. 26 27
louis i. hamilton
not been fully appreciated. As this eastern king besieged the city, he took up the habit of relieving himself nightly at a certain tree. The king’s arrival at the tree is described by the word adventus—the term for an imperial entrance and procession through the city—and, indeed he is greeted ritually by a singing owl.29 A young Roman tricked the king, by playing the role of the king’s groom and bringing forage for his horse. Here the word used for fodder is fasces—the name used for the bundled rods and axe that was the sign of imperium.30 When the bird announced the adventus of the king to relieve himself, the young man went out from the city with this fasces of feed. Instead of feeding the horse, however, the young man seized the king and carried him off to the city, shouting for the Romans to attack the king’s army who were then routed. The entire story becomes a pun with these two subtle word choices. The king from the East who would conquer Rome is not greeted as emperor with an adventus, an imperial crowning and procession through the city, and not met with the sign of ruling authority, the fasces; instead he is seized while attempting to relieve himself at a tree. The itinerary returns to focus on the Pantheon (Map 2, 5), and in the same time period as the previous story, “the age of senators and consuls.” The story begins with a bell ringing on the Capitoline, it is the bell hung around the neck of an idol representing Persia. The bell signals a rebellion in the Persian portion of the empire.31 The Prefect Agrippa was charged 29 “[I]n cuius adventu cocovaia, quae in arbore sedebat, semper cantabat,” Mirabilia, XV, 33. The Mirabilia appears to be the origin of this story, see Maria Accame Lanzillotta, Contributi sui Mirabilia Urbis Romae (Genoa, 1996), 97-103. 30 “Ille vero exivit urbem et fecit herbam, quam in fascem religatatm portabat ante se more scuterii,” Mirabilia, XV, 33. 31 The Romans were, of course, engaged in nearly constant warfare with successive Persian imperial dynasties from the Republican period (69 BCE) until 629 CE. The extensive warfare between the two empires was one of the preconditions to the rapid advance of the Arab caliphs and the final overthrow of the Sassanid dynasty in 651 CE. The Persian Empire directly ruled portions of the eastern Mediterranean at various points throughout its history through the seventh century. More to the point, the narrative of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius I victory over the Persian Sassanid “King of kings” Chosroes II and restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem in 630 was both important and wide spread in the Latin West especially with the advent of the crusades. It was remembered in the Roman liturgical calendar from the seventh century. In the minds of medieval authors, the great enemy of the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, was often equated with the Saracens. For a brief overview of the iconography of the True Cross to the twelfth century, Heraclius’ role in it, and its significance for crusading ideals, see Barbara Baert, “New Observations on the
the rituals of renaissance
with suppressing the rebellion and a vision of the mother of the gods assured him that he would be victorious and in turn should dedicate a temple (the Pantheon) to herself, Cybele, and Neptune, god of the sea.32 So it was, but in the Christian era the Pantheon plagued the Romans with demons, until Pope Boniface requested that the emperor give it to him. “[So that as] it was dedicated to Cybele, the mother of the gods, on the kalends of November, it might be rededicated to Mary and all saints on the same day.”33 The pope was then to sing the Mass there on the feast of its dedication and the Roman people, as at Christmas, were to receive the Eucharist in both body and blood. Not only does this narrative offer an explanation of a liturgical event, a dedication, it provides liturgical instruction (a date for a papal Mass and the form of distribution of the Eucharist). The bell on the Persian idol rings again on the Capitol during a narrative intended to provide the framework for a sermon on the feasts of the martyrdoms of Abdon, Sennen, Sixtus (pope) and Laurence (deacon), the next narrative (Map 2, 5). In the Mirabilia Decius defeats the Persian rebellion under a Christian emperor, but returns to Rome and murders the emperor. Decius (249-251 CE) then turns on the Christians, killing them at the Colosseum and at the Septizonium (Map 2, 8; in the eleventh and twelfth centuries this was an important papal fortification).34 The context, it should be noted, is again liturgical since the framework is a sermon for the important feast of Roman clerical martyrs, 6 August.35
Genesis of Gerona (1050-1100). The Iconography of the Legend of the True Cross,” Gesta 38, 2 (1999): 115-127, at 124. Barbara Baert, A Heritage of Holy Wood: The Legend of the True Cross in Text and Image (Leiden, Brill, 2004), 4, 144, 152, 160-173. Christopher Twyerman, God’s War: A New History of the Crusades (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006), for the significance of Heraclius at 379. 32 While the Pantheon still bears Marcus Agrippa’s name, the current (and medieval) monument was built by the Emperor Hadrian to replace one built by Agrippa, Krautheimer, Rome: Profile of a City, 12. The events in question may be Agrippa’s return of the Roman standards from the Parthians to Octavian in 19 BCE. If that were the case, it would make an interesting parallel with the return of the True Cross. The Mirabilia may be relying on either Josephus or Livy for the career of Agrippa. See, Charles B. Rose, “The Parthians in Augustan Rome,” American Journal of Archaeology 19, 1 (2005): 21-75, at 37-38. 33 Mirabilia XVI, 34-35. 34 Glen W. Bowersock, Roman Arabia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983), 127. 35 Mirabilia, XVII, 36-39.
louis i. hamilton
Finally, the author turns the reader’s attention to St. Peter’s in Chains (Map 2, 9) and we are presented with another liturgical context. The description of the site intertwines the most pronounced themes of this section. The narrative begins with Mark Antony taking as his wife, Cleopatra, “the queen of Egypt, wealthy in gold and silver, precious stones and people.”36 The two assembled a fleet and began to advance on Rome; hearing this, Octavian challenged them near the heel of Italy. Having defeated them, “Octavian took away vast sums of money from that victory and triumphed over Alexandria and Egypt and all the country of the East and so came back to Rome victorious.”37 The kalends of August was then established as a day of celebration commemorating the triumph of Octavian. Later, the Empress Eudoxia, the mother of Theodosius, acquired in Jerusalem, “from a certain Jew,” the chains Herod used to bind Peter and she thought to bring them to Rome. Arriving on the first of August, the feast of Octavian, she pleaded with the pope to allow her to build a church in honor of Peter and the heavenly emperor to be dedicated on the kalends of August.38 The church of St. Peter in Chains was dedicated on the kalends of August. This story is telling because it reveals the meaning of a dedication, not only as the triumph of Christian Rome over pagan Rome, but Rome’s displacement of Jerusalem and Roman conquest of “all the country of the East.” Thus, the feast of the dedication of St. Peter’s in Chains contained this triple memory, Roman triumph over the East, Roman displacement of Jerusalem (recorded also in the Arch of Titus), and Christianity’s triumph over paganism. This triumph over paganism is linked repeatedly in this text to the defeat of Persia and unnamed people of the East. Thus, we hear also echoes of the Christian conflict with Islam, as Muslims were, indeed, regularly described as pagans by Latin Christians in the
Mirabilia, XVIII, 40. Mirabilia, XVIII, 40. 38 Interestingly enough, the Mirabilia observes that “the proposal was heard by the people and received with little favor, but was at length granted according to the prayer of the pope and queen.” For a brief treatment of the Mirabilia that considers this incident as an example of the work’s combination of sacred and ancient history, see Maurizio Campanelli, “Monuments and Histories: Ideas and Images of Antiquity in Some Descriptions of Rome,” in Claudia Bolgia, Rosamond McKitterick, and John Osborne, eds., Rome Across Time and Space: Cultural Transmission and the Exchange of Ideas, c. 500-1400 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 35-51, at 37. 36 37
the rituals of renaissance
twelfth century.39 In this way, the Mirabilia becomes not only a renaissance text, but a text that seeks to renew Roman dominance over the Mediterranean by reviving its memory on the streets of Rome. These themes of Christian triumph over the pagan, and the Roman triumph over the Persians and other usurpers from the East are integrated in this second section with a variety of liturgical elements: most notably the dedication of churches, but also baptism, the sanctoral cycle (including a sermon reference), the liturgical calendar, an occasion for the laity to receive under both species, a directive for the papal Mass at the Pantheon, and the adventus, all described in a rather coherent walk around the sacred core of the ancient city. That this narrative, filled with suggestions of liturgical meaning, especially for Roman sacred space, is itself a kind of itinerary gives it a sense of being processional. This sense is brought into sharp relief when one considers the text in light of the Ordo of Benedict with which the Mirabilia is bound. The Ordo is itself a series of liturgical itineraries in and around the sacred heart of the City on the major feast days in the calendar. The Ordo takes the reader on multiple liturgical itineraries throughout the City, organized according to the liturgical calendar. An examination of two significant liturgical processions in the Ordo suggests a relationship between its description of the city and that of the Mirabilia. First, a comparison of sites noted for the papal adventus (Map 3), the processional triumph of the Roman pontiff through the ancient sacred heart of the city held on Easter Monday, and those in the Mirabilia suggests that the latter might be better understood as a liturgical commentary than a descriptio urbis.40 In the first instance we can see that the Mirabilia’s imagined itineraries, although not without order, are much less rational than the practiced itineraries of the Ordo, even though these latter papal itineraries are themselves rather meandering. Second, putting aside shared natural topography, of the twenty-five pagan sites named in the Ordo, twenty-one are also named in the Mirabilia (Map 3) and many that are unnamed in the Ordo are encountered
39 John V. Tolan, “Muslims as Pagan Idolators in Chronicles of the First Crusade,” in David R. Blanks and Michael Frassetto, eds., Western Views of Islam in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), 97-117. 40 Susan Twyman, Papal Ceremonial at Rome in the Twelfth Century (London: Boydell Press, 2002), 188-89.
louis i. hamilton
the rituals of renaissance
in its liturgical processions.41 In fact only four pre-Christian sites named in the Ordo are without explanation in the Mirabilia (albeit one of these is the Via Sacra which the Mirabilia certainly traces if it does not name it).42 The Ordo and the Mirabilia should be thought of as having been written or received as a series of itineraries through the City, organizing and giving meaning to its public space, each itinerary informing the other. Indeed the distance between the two genres is further collapsed when we realize that, in one instance, the remains of the Basilica of Maxentius, the Ordo relates a version of the narrative found the Mirabilia (that the site had been the haunt of demons before the time of Pope Sergius).43 Thus, the papal itineraries at Easter and, to take a second example, at Christmas (Map 4) are provided a context through the Mirabilia. That context, in turn, suggests a meaning for these rites. That meaning is clearly one of a Roman and Christian triumph over the pagan past. More broadly, the Mirabilia places that triumph into a Mediterranean context, by pointing to the defeat of Persian emperors and, more generally, eastern forces. Finally, it connects those Roman and Christian triumphs to the ultimate triumph of the second coming of Christ. Combined with the Ordo, the Mirabilia provided a narrative for the liturgy of the city of Rome. The liturgy and the Mirabilia fostered a myth for the clergy of St. Peter’s, and by 41 “Templum Marii quod vocatur Cymbrum:” Politicus, 153 and Mirabilia, XXVII; “Arcum Pietatis,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, III; XXII; “Pontem Adrianum,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, II; “Templum et castellum Adriani,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, VII, XX; “Obeliscum Neronis,” Politcus, 155 and Mirabilia, XIX; “Sepulchrum Romuli,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, XX; “Sub arcu triumphali Theodosii, Valentiniani et Gratiani” Politicus, 155, 156 and Mirabilia, III; “Palatium Chromatii,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, VI, XXII; “Inter circudi Alexandri et theatrum Pompeii,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, VII; “Per Pineam, Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, XIX; “Arcu Manus carnea per clivum Argentarium,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia III; “Arcu triumphali inter templum fatale et templum Concordie,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia III, XXIV; “Forum Tajani et forum Cesaris,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, XXIV; “Arcum Nerve . . . templum eiusdem dee,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, XXIV; “Templum Jani,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, XXIII, XXIV; “Templum Romuli,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, VI, XXIV; “Arcu Titi et Vespasiani qui vocatur Septem lucernarum,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, III, XXIV-V; “triumphalem arcum Constantini,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, III; “Coloseum,” Politicus, 155 and Mirabilia, VI, VIII, XVII, XVIII, XXV; “Maria Rotundam,” Politicus, 157 and Mirabilia, VI, VII, XVI, XXII; “Arcum Latone,” Politicus, 159 and Mirabilia, XXIV. 42 “Sub arcu ubi dicitur Macellum Laviani [Macellum liviae],” Politicus, 153; “Viam sacram” and the “Porticum Agrippinam,” Politicus, 155; and the “Domum Orphei,” Politicus, 159. 43 “Arcum Latone,” Politicus, 159 and Mirabilia, XXIV.
louis i. hamilton
the rituals of renaissance
louis i. hamilton
extension the populace, of the triumph of Christianity through the emperors, of the Roman empire, at its outset under Augustus, whom it secretly “baptizes,” and through the Christian emperors, as fundamentally Christian and Roman. Chrysoginus Waddell concluded, “The Reform of the Liturgy from a Renaissance Perspective,” skeptically, suggesting that the liturgy of the twelfth century did not experience a renaissance, per se: Given the fact that the Christian liturgy is directly rooted in the Christian Mystery, and that the perspective is not ‘man as man,’ but ‘man as called to perfect communion with God,’ we should not expect to find much of a renaissance perspective informing the liturgy.44
Waddell did, however, observe that themes of renewal and rebirth were inherent in the liturgy, at moment such as baptism or at Christmas sermons.45 In a period of renaissance the Mirabilia not only employed those liturgical themes, especially as they related to the liturgy for the dedication of churches, but placed them firmly into a renaissance context. It fostered a layer of meaning within the topography of Rome that could transform the meaning of Roman liturgical practice.46 With the dedication’s baptismal imagery and its strong sense of a space transformed, combined with the use of pagan sites and the spolia of antiquity, the dedication loaned itself to this inherent theme of renewal.47 The Mirabilia made those themes explicit within the City. Moreover, it recast Roman history as Christian sacred history and, as the liturgical calendar would recount the sacred past moving towards its eschatological conclusion, so too, its setting within the City became a reminder of the true history of the marvels of
44 Chrysogonus Waddell, “The Reform of the Liturgy from a Renaissance Perspective,” in Renaissance and Renewal, 88-109, at 108. 45 Waddell, 90-91. 46 This is an approach similar to that of Herbert Kessler and Johanna Zacharias, Rome 1300: on the Path of the Pilgrim (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), stated at 7, but throughout. 47 On the Carolingian interpretation of the dedication rite in terms of a baptism, see Brian V. Repsher, The Rite of Church Dedication in the Early Medieval Era (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998); on the role of the dedication rite in the Gregorian reforms, see Louis I. Hamilton, A Sacred City: Consecrating Churches and Reforming Society in EleventhCentury Italy (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010).
the rituals of renaissance
Rome: they bespoke the triumph of Christ and Christianity. It created a liturgical experience of rebirth and renewal so that the reader might move from pagan to Christian meaning within a specific space, as well as across the City. More pointedly, it also cast the reader, and the liturgical experience, into a broader Mediterranean-wide perspective. It encountered Greek Christians, the Jews of Rome, and Persians throughout the city and emphasized their subordinate status to papal Rome. The Mirabilia recounts two stories of Persian rebellions being defeated, it recounts Octavian’s conquest of Egypt and “all of the East,” and it invents a story of a “mighty King from the East,” tricked and repulsed at the walls of the City. It incorporated this defeat of the Persians into the liturgy by attaching one story to the dedication of St. Peter’s in Chains. That dedication replaced the feast of Octavius who, in the Mirabilia, becomes not only the first emperor, but the first Christian emperor. That same emperor is noted by the Mirabilia to have defeated Egypt, Jerusalem and the East. The defeat of another Persian rebellion is recalled in a narrative set, liturgically, within one week of the feast of the dedication of St. Peter in Chains (the feast of Octavius) at the martyrdom of Sts. Laurence and Sixtus. Thus, these martyrdoms become, surprisingly, a simultaneous celebration of the expansion of the Roman Empire. The punning adventus of an invented eastern conqueror inverts the papal adventus, turns it into a scatological joke, and literally overthrows a would-be King of Rome. The liturgy of adventus, repeated at Easter, also marked the subordination of the Jews via the rite of the presentation of the Torah and the laudes in Hebrew.48 These laudes were also in Greek and Latin and the Greek laudes were marked in the Mirabilia when it noted the community of the Greek schola. Papal liturgy placed the city at the head of the Mediterranean world, through the ritual laudes of the Jewish community during the adventus and through its use of Greek hymns at Christmas even as it moved through the Greek community of Rome.49 The Mirabilia created a context for papal liturgy. As the reader moved across the liturgical year and, by means of the pontifical processions, across 48 Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 197-202. See also the article in this volume by Marie Thérèse Champagne and Ra’anan Boustan. 49 Zoï Patala, “Les Chants Grecs du Liber Polticus de chanoine Benôit,” Byzantion 66 (1996), 512-530.
louis i. hamilton
the City, he was reminded, not of a faded Roman glory in crumbling temples, but of an ongoing history that had been foretold even by the pagans themselves, that Christian Rome would triumph in the end. The Mirabilia both revealed and promoted not only an historical and renewed Roman significance for papal liturgy, but a broader Mediterranean significance with Rome at its center.
Rewriting Antiquity, Renewing Rome. The Identity of the Eternal City through Visual Art, Monumental Inscriptions and the Mirabilia Stefano Riccioni*
Faculty of Arts, Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, I-56126 Pisa, Italy *E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract During the eleventh and twelfth centuries the Church began a process of renovation (renovatio) and the city of Rome was given new meanings. Antiquity is part of the identity of the Eternal City; the reuse or reframing of aspects of antiquity inevitably transformed the image of Rome. Public spaces, architecture and objects were given new Christian readings. Inscriptions, present both in sacred and secular settings, played an important role. A similar rewriting can also be found in travel literature and descriptions of the city, such as in the Mirabilia urbis Rome, where ancient monuments were re-interpreted to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity. Inscriptions were used as symbols of authority, as can be seen in the altar of the church of Santa Maria in Portico, in the papal thrones (San Clemente, Santa Maria in Cosmedin, San Lorenzo fuori le mura) and also in mosaics (San Clemente, Santa Maria in Trastevere). Inscriptions appeared on porticoed atriums built on new churches and added to older foundations, and they were used to renew ancient monuments and places. The Roman Commune used a similar strategy with civil buildings. The image of Rome was transformed through restoration and new construction that used spolia as meaningful objects, and inscriptions for their authoritative value. Keywords Rome, antiquity, epigraphy, reform, mosaics, architecture, Mirabilia, sculpture, spolia
In the Middle Ages the identity of Rome was tightly connected to antiquity, and “reforming” antiquity meant, first and foremost, the renewal of the image of the city according to the ideals and goals of eleventhand twelfth-century church reform.1 This renewal took several forms. 1 The bibliography is vast; see Charles H. Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927); Christopher N. Lawrence Brooke, The
Iconographic themes were updated and given new meanings; ancient objects and works were given new Christian readings; and accounts of the city were produced or updated. A close examination of pilgrimage and travel literature, descriptions of the city, and inscriptions certainly provides insight into the space and image of Rome in the medieval mind. What unites all of these categories, however, is the process of writing, understood as both public and private address, as a form of communication but also as a particular type of image. As old objects were repurposed for new settings, the new city was “written” into being. New inscriptions appeared in both sacred and secular settings throughout the urban space, and these speak explicitly of restauratio, conservatio, and, in the twelfth century, renovatio, terms also found in contemporary chronicles.2 In what follows, my intention is to analyze the Twelfth Century Renaissance (London: Thames and Hudson, 1969); Chiara Frugoni, “L’antichità dai Mirabilia alla propaganda politica,” in Memoria dell’antico nell’arte italiana, vol. 1, L’uso dei classici, ed. Salvatore Settis, (Turin: Giulio Einaudi editore, 1984), 5-72; Robert L. Benson, Giles Constable and Carol D. Lanham, eds., Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982); Anna Sapir Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance (London-New York: Routledge, 1995); Giles Constable, The Reformation of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Robert N. Swanson, The Twelfth-Century Renaissance (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999); Giles Constable, ed., Il secolo XII: la “renovatio” dell’Europa Christiana, (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2003). For art historical debates, see Richard Krautheimer, Rome, Profile of a City, 312-1308 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980), 161-202; Hélene Toubert, Un Art dirigé. Réforme grégorienne et Iconographie (Paris: Cerf, 1990); Ernst Kitzinger, “The Gregorian Reform and the Visual Arts: a problem of method,” Transaction of Royal Historical Society 5, 22 (1972): 87-102; Serena Romano, ed., La pittura medievale a Roma. 312-1431. Corpus, vol. 4, Riforma e tradizione (Milan: Jaca Book, 2006); Stefano Riccioni, Il mosaico di San Clemente a Roma: exemplum della Chiesa riformata (Spoleto: Fondazione CISAM, 2006); Serena Romano and Julie Enckell, eds., Roma e la Riforma gregoriana. Tradizioni e innovazioni artistiche (XI-XII secolo), (colloque, Lausanne, Université de Lausanne, 10-11 décembre 2004) (Rome: Viella, 2007); Stefano Riccioni, “La décoration monumentale à Rome, XIe-XIIe siècles: révisions chronologiques, stylistiques et thématiques,” Perspective. La revue de l’INHA 2 (2010-2011): 319-360; Sible de Blaauw, “Reception and renovation of Early Christian churches in Rome, c. 10501300,” in Rome across time and space: cultural transmission and the exchange of ideas c. 5001400, eds. Claudia Bolgia, Rosamond McKitterick and John Osborne (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 151-166. 2 Massimo Miglio, “Il senato in Roma medievale,” in Il senato nella storia, vol. 2, Il Medioevo e la prima età moderna (Rome: Istituto poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato, 1997), 117-172, at 117; Peter C. Claussen, “Marmo e splendore. Architettura, arredi liturgici, spoliae,” in Arte e iconografia a Roma dal Tardoantico alla fine del Medioevo,
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
reframing of antique objects in the larger process of appropriation of antiquity, focusing specifically on the role of monumental inscriptions in the changing image of Rome. As such this essay is engaged with a large body of literature in which there is general agreement that there was an increased reuse of antique spolia and monuments in this period, but little consensus about how this reuse should be interpreted. At one extreme, it is seen as a pragmatic way to acquire building material;3 at the other, all reuse is interpreted as a meaningful evocation of ancient glory.4 In these debates, inscriptions have been relatively little studied. It is my contention that medieval inscriptions associated with these objects help us to understand medieval ideas of the reuse of the past. They reveal the shift from an idea of continuity to a conscious remaking and renewal, and they serve to reframe ancient monuments in light of contemporary needs and readings. The Mirabilia urbis Romae, that is the Marvels of Rome, is a good introduction to the city’s medieval image as it was reconstructed through text. It has been much studied, and so I will mention it only briefly here. Generally held to have been composed between 1140 and 1143 by Benedict, a canon of St. Peter’s,5 it is a complex text consisting of eds. Maria Andaloro and Serena Romano (Milan: Jaca Book, 2002), 151-174, at 156. See also Claussen, “Renovatio Romae,” Rom im hohen Mittelalter. Studien zu den Romvorstellungen und zur Rompolitik vom 10. bis zum 12. Jahrhundert, eds. Bernhard Schimmelpfenning and Ludwig Schmugge (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1992), 87-125; Claussen, “Scultura e splendori del marmo a Roma nell’età della riforma ecclesiastica nell’XI e XII secolo,” in Matilde e il tesoro dei Canossa tra castelli monasteri e città, ed. Arturo Calzona (Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2008), 202-215. 3 Michal Greenhalgh, Marble Past, Monumental Present. Building with Antiquities in the Mediaeval Mediterranean (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 363-374. 4 Maria Fabricius Hansen, The Eloquence of Appropriation. Prolegomena to an Understanding of Spolia in Early Christian Rome (Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 2003). These debates are surveyed in articles by Dale Kinney, “Rome in the twelfth century: Urbs fracta and renovatio,” Gesta 45, no. 2 (2006): 199-220; Kinney, “Spolia as signifiers in TwelfthCentury Rome,” Spolia in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Ideology, Aesthetics and Artistic Practice (Hortus artium medievalium 17, 2011), forthcoming; Kinney, “Spoliation in medieval Rome,” in Topoi Berlin studies of the Ancient World (Berlin: De Gruyter), forthcoming. I am grateful to Dale Kinney for allowing me to read her forthcoming works. On the broad debate on spolia in architecture, see Il reimpiego in architettura. Recupero, trasformazione, uso, eds. Jean-François Bernard, Philippe Bernardi and Daniela Esposito (Rome: Ecole Française de Rome—“Sapienza” Università di Roma, 2010). 5 For discussion and previous literature, see Dale Kinney, “Fact and Fiction in the Mirabilia Urbis Romae,” in Roma Felix—Formation and Reflections of Medieval Rome, eds.
three sections. The first is essentially a list of Roman monuments, including walls, gates, doors, triumphal arches, hills, baths, palaces, theatres and bridges. Here Benedict introduces the sites of Rome mentioned in the legends of saints, such as cemeteries and places of martyrdom, though apparently without any overriding order. The second section concerns a few sites and monuments associated with tales such as Octavian on the Ara Coeli, the Dioscuri (identified as philosophers named Praxiteles and Phidias), and the so-called “statue of Constantine” (the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius). The third section is a periegesis through Rome, often described as guide to the city; Dale Kinney has recently argued for its relative accuracy.6 Throughout, the author uses different sources: passions of saints, passages from the Liber pontificalis, pilgrim’s guides, and, in the second section, legends from late antiquity concerning the monuments and sites of ancient Rome. The references to temples and ancient sites were gathered from Roman literature, in particular from Ovid’s Fasti. The Mirabilia organizes the space and the image of Rome around antiquity and, at the same time, serves as a kind of register of church property. In fact the Mirabilia was included in the administrative books of the Camera apostolica, the most important institution of the Roman church in terms of economic management. It also appeared in the Liber politicus which included a Roman Ordo defining papal ceremonial, and as part of the Liber Censuum, written by Benedict the Canon, generally identified as the same Benedict who wrote the Mirabilia.7 There are two aspects which should initially be stressed, both connected to the reinterpretation of antiquity. First, the Mirabilia was a cultural mirror and political manifesto of church ideology, reflecting the inheritance of the Gregorian Reform. It operated on multiple levels of meaning, inspired by the ideal of renovatio ecclesiae. Second, it provides a lens onto how a given text might shift the meanings of antique monuments and objects within the larger process of early Christian renewal. It reveals the Éamonn Ó Carragáin and Carol Neman de Vegvar (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 235-252, at 238; I “Mirabilia urbis Romae,” eds. Maria Accame and Emy Dell’Oro (Rome: Tored, 2004), 15-25; and Louis I. Hamilton, this issue. 6 Kinney, “Fact and Fiction.” 7 On Benedict’s authorship of the Mirabilia urbis Romae—confirming it, contra Bernhard Schimmelpfennig, Die Zeremonienbücher der römischen Kurie im Mittelalter (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1973)—see the recent article by John F. Romano, “The Ceremonies of the Roman Pontiff: Rereading Benedicts Twelfth-Century Liturgical Script,” Viator 41, no. 2 (2010), 133-149.
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
“stratigraphy”—to borrow a term from geology and archaeology—of multiple meanings in Rome and offers not a monolithic image of the city but the opportunity to elaborate and explore it. The Mirabilia was created for a cultivated audience, probably the clergy, and it functioned not only as a “guide,”8 but also to inspire viewers to recall and meditate on the superiority of Christianity over ancient Rome. Unlike older “guides,” such as the Itinerary of Einsiedeln (end of eight century-ninth century), from the Codex Einsiedlensis 326,9 the Mirabilia focuses attention essentially on ancient Rome, but the aim of this evocation of the imperial city is to show the superiority of the Christian one. This goal is revealed in the interpretation of the monuments, and particularly in the six legends connected to sites and monuments in the second section. The most significant legend, and the first listed in the Mirabilia, is the vision of the Emperor Octavian connected to the foundation of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli.10 The story says that Octavian was so handsome that the senators wanted to worship him. The emperor was reluctant, and asked the advice of the Sibyl of Tibur. Her eventual response was that the emperor of the world was yet to come. The heavens opened, and Octavian saw an altar in the sky, with a virgin holding a male child, and he heard a voice saying, “This is the altar of the son of God.”11 The vision occurred where Santa Maria in Capitolio was later erected; its usual name is Santa Maria in Aracoeli. In its explicit subjection of Augustus to Christ, the story is a clear metaphor of the supremacy of the Church over the Empire. Something similar emerges in the story of the statue of Marcus Aurelius at the Lateran. Benedict writes: “At the Lateran there is a golden horse that is said to be Constantine’s, but this is not so.”12 The interpretation of the statue is central here. Benedict criticizes the common Roman interpretation: the knight is not an emperor, but merely a valiant soldier who freed Hamilton, this issue. Gerold Walser, Die Einsiedler Inschriftensammlung und der Pilgerführer durch Rom (Codex Einsidlensis 326): Facsimile, Umschrift, Übersetzung und Kommentar (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 1987). 10 Mirabilia, XI. See Cynthia White, “The Vision of Augustus: Pilgrim’s Guide or Papal Pulpit?,” Classica et Mediaevalia, Revue danoise de philologie et d’histoire 55 (2004): 247-277; I “Mirabilia urbis Romae,” 44-8; Giuseppe Gianelli, “La Leggenda dei ‘Mirabilia’ e la antica topografia del’Arce Capitolina,” Studi Romani 26 (1978): 60-71. 11 Mirabilia, XI. I “Mirabilia urbis Romae,” 126. 12 Mirabilia, XV. I “Mirabilia urbis Romae,” 53-62, 132. 8 9
the city when it was besieged by a king from the East. It seems that for the canon Benedict, the knight cannot be Constantine, because for the clergy of Rome the identification would recall imperial control of Rome at a moment of struggle between papacy and empire. This interpretation would also be in conflict with the will to affirm Republican ideals.13 Once Benedict had Christianized the pagan monuments of Rome with his retellings of the legends, the pilgrim could walk through the city seeing the ancient monuments as a sign of superiority of Christian civilization over paganism. In this, the Mirabilia is consonant with the ideological perspectives of the papacy during the twelfth century, and it reflects their cultural complexity.14 Arguably it is the end-point of a longer process in which writing was mobilized, in many forms, to rewrite the image of Rome. By the time of Gregory VII, the papacy had adopted early Christian symbolism, used imperial liturgy,15 and theorized its power in the temporal as well as in the spiritual realms. Thus it was possible to take what remained of the pagan world, and give new meanings to spaces, monuments, legends and historical figures. The use of inscriptions was central to this process. From the eleventh century, so-called “public lettering” was increasingly common on monuments, churches, liturgical furniture and open spaces. This has been defined by Armando Petrucci as inscriptions executed with a refined calligraphy or on a monumental scale designed to be legible to a broad but
Lucilla De Lachenal, “Il monumento nel Medioevo fino al suo trasferimento in Campidoglio,” in Marco Aurelio. Storia di un monumento e del suo restauro, eds. Alessandra Melucco Vaccaro and Anna Mura Sommella (Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 1989), 131; Cristina Nardella, Il fascino di Roma nel Medioevo. Le “meraviglie di Roma” di maestro Gregorio (Rome: Viella, 1997), 88. Dale Kinney suggests that if we take Benedict’s authorship seriously, we must also consider his affiliation with St. Peter’s and the rivalry between St. Peter’s and the Lateran in the twelfth century as part of the interpretation: see Dale Kinney, “The horse, the king and the cuckoo: medieval narrations of the statue of Marcus Aurelius,” Word & Image 18 (2002): 372-398. 14 Massimo Miglio, “Introduzione,” in Pellegrinaggi a Roma. Il codice di Einsiedeln. L’itinerario di Sigerico. L’itinerario malmesburiense. Le meraviglie di Roma . . ., ed. Massimo Miglio (Rome: Città Nuova, 1999): 14-21; Miglio, “Roma: eclissi della memoria e costruzione del sacro,” in Topos e Progetto. La Risignificazione (Rome: Palombi editore, 2001), 15-30. 15 Joseph Dyer, “Roman Procession of the Major Litany (litaniae maiores) from the Sixth to the Twelfth Century,” in Ó Carragáin, Neman de Vegvar, Roma Felix, 113-137. 13
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
targeted public.16 The proliferation of public lettering helped to fix a new image of the city. Public inscriptions had always marked Rome, and the collection of Einsiedeln, for instance, lists important Roman spaces and monuments alongside transcription of the epigraphs. Yet the new importance of inscriptions for medieval viewers is suggested by the Mirabilia, where we find several inscriptions mentioned. On the memorial of Caesar, the Needle, near the Vatican, Benedict notes inscriptions in “Latin letters beautifully illuminated.” He also transcribes an inscription: Caesar, tantus eras quantus et orbis, / sed nunc in modico clauderis antro (Caesar, you were once as great as the world, / now in what a small cavity are you sealed).17 Such an inscription never existed on the site. It is a citation of the Planctus Hlothari I Caesaris, in which Lothar (d. 855) is called the first caesar, that is emperor.18 Benedict also tells us that on the tombs around the Flaminian gate, Octavian built a castle called the Augustum to be his imperial tomb. On each sepulcher there was an inscription in this manner: Haec sunt ossa et cinis Nervae imperatoris, et Victoria quam fecit (These are the bones and ashes of the Emperor Nerva and such was the victory he won).19 Behind the Alexander Palace, on the Bellona temple there was an inscription: Roma vetusta fui, sed nunc nova Roma vocabor; / eruta ruderibus, culmen ad alta fero (I was ancient Rome, but now I am called new Rome; dug in the ruins I touch the sky).20 These texts derive from an ideological celebration of Christian Rome over the pagan city, and it is easy to argue that they were not classical inscriptions but new ones, written during the Middle Ages, and very probably never carved on the monuments themselves, but only transmitted by literary sources as there is no other evidence for them. From the time of the Gregorian Reform, inscriptions were heavily used as symbols of authority and to renew ancient monuments and places (Fig. 1). An example of this phenomenon is the first-century pagan Roman 16 Armando Petrucci, Public lettering: script, power and culture (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1993). 17 Mirabilia, XIX. I “Mirabilia urbis Romae,” 148-149. 18 I “Mirabilia urbis Romae,” 150, nt. 114; Maria Accame Lanzillotta, Contributi sul Mirabilia urbis Romae (Genoa: Università di Genova, 1996), 124. 19 Mirabilia, XXII. I “Mirabilia urbis Romae,” 154; Accame Lanzillotta, Contributi, 144, nt. 2. 20 Mirabilia, XXII. I “Mirabilia urbis Romae,” 154; Accame Lanzillotta, Contributi, 143, nt. 1.
Figure 1. Altar of Gregory VII from Santa Maria in Portico. Dedicated 1073, with reuse of Roman ara (second half of first century). Santa Galla, Rome. Photo: Pierluigi Zolli; image in public domain.
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
ara reused as the altar of the church of Santa Maria in Portico, in the first year of Gregory’s pontificate (1073-1085).21 Adapting the stone to its new use and setting was a sophisticated artistic project in which writing played the major part. The ancient inscription on the front was eliminated, as were the urceus and patera—liturgical cup and plate—shown on the two sides. These were replaced by a list of relics on the front and right side, with the addition of the dedication of Gregory VII on three sides of the epistyle. The lettering of the two inscriptions displays notable affinities with captions on the front folio and incipits of the first Giant Bibles, such as the Admont Bible,22 and the Bible of Frederic of Geneva.23 The conception and execution of these manuscripts belong to a real propaganda campaign set in motion by ecclesiastical reformers.24 These Bibles were produced in a new and gigantic format as part of the larger Gregorian reform,25 with a new edition of the biblical text created in collaboration with Peter Damian.26 Probably produced in Rome, these books were written with a carolina minuscule—also called “reformed minuscule”—a script that recalled ancient Roman scripts, and distinguished these Bibles from other Giornata di studio su Santa Galla. Roma 26 maggio 1990 (Rome: Parrocchia di Santa Galla, 1991); Stefano Riccioni, “Gli altari di Santa Galla e di San Pantaleo. Una ‘lettura’ in chiave riformata dell’Antico,” Hortus Artium Medievalium 11 (2005): 189-200, with bibliography. The altar is now in the parish church of Santa Galla in Rome. 22 The inscription employs capitals which are well aligned and uniform in two modules (sizes), characterised by the letters: E; G; Q; R; and W. The serifs of the letters are pronounced; “OR” is used as an abbreviation for orum; unions and ligatures are common. For an example, see Admont, Stiftsbibliothek, C-D, in Le Bibbie Atlantiche. Il libro delle Scritture tra monumentalità e rappresentazione, eds. Marilena Maniaci and Giulia Orofino, s. l., 2000, 107-111. 23 Genève, Bibliothèque publique et universitaire, lat. 1, see Maniaci, Orofino, Le Bibbie Atlantiche, 111-114. 24 Maniaci, Orofino, Le Bibbie Atlantiche; Emma Condello, “La Bibbia al tempo della riforma gregoriana: le Bibbie Atlantiche,” ed. Paolo Cherubini, Forme e modelli della tradizione manoscritta della Bibbia (Littera antiqua 13) (Vatican City: Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica, 2005): 347-372; Riccioni, “La décoration monumentale à Rome,” 325-326. 25 These Bibles were also called Atlantic Bibles because of their oversized, atlas-like format, see Larry M. Ayres, “Gregorian Reform and Artistic Renewal in Manuscript Illumination: The ‘Biblia Atlantica’ as an International Artistic Denomination,” Studi Gregoriani 14 (1991): 145-152. 26 Henri Quentin, Memoire sur l’établissement du texte de la Vulgate, I, Octateuque (RomeParis, 1922): 360; Larry M. Ayres, “Le Bibbie Atlantiche. Dalla Riforma alla diffusione in Europa,” in Maniaci, Orofino, Le Bibbie Atlantiche, 27-37. 21
manuscripts, even those produced in Rome.27 In fact, every component of these books was strictly codified and Church-approved: format, graphic characteristics, iconographic models, ornamental schema. To “see” the ara inscription therefore meant to “read” the altar in a new and entirely medieval context linked to these Bible projects. At the same time, the ancient images on the stone were reframed for a Christian use. The three sides of the ancient altar were crowned by acanthus tendrils containing images of birds in the scrolls. Immediately underneath the epistyle on the sides, there are: a stork catching a bee (on the front); a sparrow grasping a shoot (on the right); and a pelican with its beak pointed upwards (on the left). The ecclesiastical meaning of the inhabited vine scroll and its transposition in the form of the acanthus was an iconographical commonplace at least from the time of early Christian mosaics; the association between the stork, the pelican and the solitary sparrow appears in Psalm 102 .28 It was used by the church reformer Bruno of Segni in the eleventh century, to symbolize Christ or the believer in his route towards God.29 The back of the stone is just as interesting. It was decorated with a tree with a bestiary amongst its branches, mainly birds in flight or feeding their young. The symbolic significance of the images on the altar can therefore be read in light of medieval bestiaries.30 It seems clear, therefore, that the antique object was chosen very deliberately for its suitability to a Christian context, and the inscriptions on the altar and epistyle served to secure this transposition. This strategy continued: about 40 years later, another ancient ara became the altar of San Pantaleo consecrated by Pascal II in 1113.31 27 Paola Supino Martini, “La scrittura delle Scritture (sec. XI-XII),” Scrittura e Civiltà 12 (1988): 101-118; Bernard Bishoff, Latin Palaeography. Antiquity and Middle Ages, trans. Dáibhí ó Cróinín, David Ganz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 126. 28 Psalm 102 , 7: “Similis factus sum pelicano in solitudine et factus sum sicut nycticorax in domicilio, vigilavi, et factus sum sicut passer solitarius in tecto.” 29 See Riccioni, “Gli altari di Santa Galla,” 194-195. 30 On a specific bestiary in Rome and its relationship with Islamic art during the Gregorian Reform, see also Stefano Riccioni, “Sul ‘bestiario’ del reliquiario di san Matteo. Montecassino, Roma e la ‘Riforma’ tra Occidente cristiano e Oriente islamico,” in Studi in onore di Enrico Castelnuovo (Pisa: Edizioni SNS, forthcoming). On Islamic influences in Mediterranean art, see Islamic Artefacts in the Mediterranean World. Trade, Gift, Exchange and Artistic Transfer, eds. Catarina Schmidt Arcangeli and Gerhard Wolf (Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2010). 31 Daniele Manacorda, “Volusio ritrovato. Le reliquie dei martiri nel sepolcro del sacerdos
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
The papacy of Paschal II was a high point in the renewal of Rome. Sant’Adriano al Foro, Santi Quattro Coronati, San Clemente, San Lorenzo in Lucina, San Bartolomeo all’Isola, were all restored or entirely rebuilt under his reign.32 In San Lorenzo in Lucina, the papal throne also reused antique fragments, but placed them within modern elements. The throne is placed in the choir. It has an inscription on the back referring to the consecration of the church and the placing of relics in the main altar in 1112. The contemporary inscription placed within the porch by Leo of Ostia offers the same information to a wider audience.33 What is interesting is the construction of the chair. On the two sides there are two reused slabs, decorated with putti in tendrils of vines, signifying, according to Christian iconography, Jesus as life-giving vine.34 The same strategy, but re-using classical script rather than images, can be seen on the throne of San Clemente, commissioned by Anastasius, the cardinal who oversaw the building of the new church (1102-1125). The dedication is displayed around the circular frame of the back: Anastasius presbiter cardinalis huius tituli hoc opus fecit et perfecit (Anastasius, cardinal of this title, began and completed this work).35 When the pope sat down, his back rested on the word: Martyr. This is a classical inscription, selected and reused on the back of the chair to suggest the connection between the pope sitting on the throne and the martyr, Clement, to whom the church was dedicated. Relatively few viewers saw these objects. Yet the use of antiquity and the role of inscriptions to exalt the ideals of the Church is exemplified on a large scale in twelfth-century Roman mosaics.36 Here again it seems clear that ancient images were repurposed selectively, consciously, using geni,” Bollettino dei Musei comunali di Roma 25-27 (1978-1980): 60-82; Riccioni, “Gli altari di Santa Galla,” 195-6. 32 Claussen, “Marmo e splendore,” 157-159; Louis I. Hamilton, A Sacred city. Consecrating churches and reforming society in eleventh-century Italy (Manchester-New York: Manchester University Press, 2010). 33 On the two inscriptions and their cronology see Riccioni, Il mosaico absidale di San Clemente, 3-4, nt. 23. 34 Ioh. 15: 1-8; Mt. 21: 33-41; Corrado Leonardi, Ampelos: il Simbolo della vite nell’arte Pagana e Paleocristiana (Rome: Edizioni Liturgiche, 1947). 35 Riccioni, Il mosaico di San Clemente, 4, nt. 25-27, 5, 8. 36 Stefano Riccioni, “The Word in the Image: an Epiconographic Analysis of Mosaics of the Reform in Rome (Twelfth-century),” in Inscriptions in Liturgical Spaces, eds. Kristin B. Aavitsland and Thomas K. Seim (Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia, n.s., 24), forthcoming.
inscriptions to direct the viewer/reader. At San Clemente, for instance, the iconography of the papal throne was also connected to the iconography of the apse mosaic.37 This was commissioned by Pascal II (1099-1118) and finished before 1119.38 In the gaps between the tendrils, the large acanthus/vine scrolls contain tiny figures of people, animals, birds and amorini. Many figures derive from ancient Roman iconographies. The acanthus tendrils, symmetrically arranged in five roundels on five levels, form a schema that functions as a visual rhetorical device taken from manuscripts. The mosaic includes inscriptions, which are all integral to the work and closely related to the images. I have argued elsewhere that it is, in effect, a diagram, inspired by the trees of medieval mnemonic and preaching techniques; it is a book writ large.39 Throughout the city, the most commonly seen inscriptions were the dedications of churches and the lists of martyrs written on stones, which increased significantly during the twelfth century.40 Santa Maria in Cosmedin contains both, tied to a notable reuse of ancient fragments and
The literature on the mosaic is vast. For a comprehensive bibliography see Riccioni, Il mosaico di San Clemente; Jerome Croiser, “I mosaici dell’abside e dell’arco absidale della chiesa superiore di San Clemente,” in Romano, Riforma e tradizione, 209-218; Riccioni, “La décoration monumentale à Rome,” 341-344. 38 On the consecration of San Clemente in 1118-1119, see Joan Barclay Lloyd, “The Building History of the Medieval Church of San Clemente,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 45 (1986): 197-223; Barclay Lloyd, The medieval Church and Canonry of San Clemente in Rome (Rome, 1989): 43-51; Peter C. Claussen, Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter 1050-1300, A-F (Corpus Cosmatorium II, 1) (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2002), 303; Riccioni, Il mosaico di San Clemente, 3. 39 On inscriptions in San Clemente, see Ursula Nilgen, “Texte et image dans les absides des XIe-XIIe siècles en Italie,” in Épigraphie et Iconographie: actes du colloque tenu à Poitiers les 5-8 octobre 1995, ed. Robert Favreau (Poitiers: CESCM, 1996), 153-164, at 160-162; Robert Favreau, “Épigraphie médiévale” (Turnhout: Brepols, 1997), 233-236; Mary Stroll, Symbols as power: the papacy following the investiture contest (Leiden: Brill), 118-131; Stefano Riccioni, “Segni epigrafici e sistemi illustrativi ‘alla greca’ nel mosaico di San Clemente a Roma,” in Medioevo Mediterraneo: l’Occidente, Bisanzio e l’Islam dal tardoantico al secolo XII, ed. Arturo C. Quintavalle (Parma: Electa, 2007), 371-380; Riccioni, Il mosaico di San Clemente, 23-32, 65-75. 40 Robert Favreau, “Inscriptions de dedicace d’églises et de consécration d’autels à Rome, XIe-XIIe siècles,” in Arte d’Occidente. Temi e metodi. Studi in onore di Angiola Maria Romanini, vol. 3, ed. Antonio Cadei (Rome: Edizioni Sintesi informazioni, 1999), 947-956; Stefano Riccioni, Scrittura e immagine nella Roma gregoriana (Ph.D. Diss., Università di Roma “La Sapienza,” 2004). 37
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
inscriptions.41 The church was consecrated by Pope Callixtus II in 1123. The plan of the church follows the traditional structure of the Early Christian basilica, with a nave and two side aisles all of which end in apses. The nave houses the clerical enclosure or schola cantorum, which has been reconstructed using modern slabs on the traces of the old platform (solea), while the presbytery screen now reuses some marble slabs decorated in mosaic found in the pavement of the choir. These are fairly close in form to those of the twelfth-century church, reconstructed on the site of the ancient basilica built by Pope Hadrian I, and seemingly finished in 1123, the year in which it was consecrated by Callixtus II. All the inscriptions are located in the area of the apse, in the presbiterium and the sanctuary. They cluster around a papal throne with script on the circular back, similar to the throne at San Clemente but honoring the patron: Alfanus fieri tibi fecit Virgo Maria (Alfanus had this done for you, Virgin Mary). Unlike the throne at San Clemente, however, that in Santa Maria in Cosmedin shows Roman imperial symbols. The back with the porphyry disc is typical of the solium, and the leonine heads are from the sellae of Roman late antiquity.42 The altar itself was composed by a great marble stone posed on a labrum—a bath tub—of oriental granite, dated to the time of Adrian I (772-795). The inscriptions are on the principal axis of the nave, focused on the throne. There are four, recording the consecration of the church, the dedication of the altar, and two others repeating Alfanus’s role in verse. Here the arrangement of the epigraphic texts is closely linked to the liturgical spaces that marked the separation between the laity and the clergy. These were inscriptions accessible to a small number of people; the relationship between the distance at which they had to be viewed and the form of script makes them a sort of private prayer. There were also, however, inscriptions targeted to the public spaces of the city. One by one, inscriptions began to appear on the architraves of church doors, and writing, previously confined to the dim light of churches, emerged into the sunlight. During the twelfth century, the official script of the church changed from classicizing capitals to Romanesque 41 Stefano Riccioni, “Epigrafia, spazio liturgico e Riforma gregoriana, un paradigma: il programma di esposizione grafica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin a Roma,” Hortus Artium Medievalium 6 (2000): 143-156. 42 Francesco Gandolfo, “Reimpiego di sculture antiche nei troni papali del XII secolo,” Atti della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia. Rendiconti, 3th ser., 47 (1974-1975): 203-207; Riccioni, “Epigrafia, spazio liturgico,” 146-147.
majuscules. In the same years, porticoed atriums were built on new churches and added to older foundations.43 This is important: these porticoes extended ecclesiastical space into the urban fabric of the city. The new constructions adopted the ionic colonnade and architrave used in late antiquity for the interior of Early Christian basilicas, amongst which Santa Maria Maggiore formed a model of particular symbolic significance.44 Just as the reuse of older architectural fragments or spolia characterized the liturgical furnishings on the interiors of these buildings, the new portico form, often with a monumental public inscription, marked their exteriors. This was the case with the reconstruction of the basilica of San Crisogono in Trastevere, which was a Romanesque model of the Church Triumphant.45 The plan follows the scheme of the great basilicas of Rome: St. Peter and St. John Lateran, with the apse at the west, the transept intervening between the apse and the longitudinal block of nave and aisles, and the central nave separated from the aisles by columns.46 A portico with an architrave on the exterior was also added. These porticoes provided new spaces for written public address, but they were also added to older buildings. At Santa Maria Maggiore itself, Eugenius III (1145-1153) had a dedicatory inscription placed on the architrave of the narthex with an invocation to Mary, who is celebrated as via, vita e salus.47 In this way, the pope established a direct link between his
43 This practice was also adopted in civic buildings, with a specific interest in reusing spolia. See Patrizio Pensabene, “I portici nelle case medievali di Roma,” in Bernard, Bernardi and Esposito, Il reimpiego in architettura, 67-93, at 72. 44 Patrizio Pensabene and Massimo Pomponi, “Contributi per una ricerca sul reimpiego e il ‘recupero’ dell’Antico nel Medioevo. 2. I portici cosmateschi a Roma,” Rivista dell’Istituto Nazionale d’Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte, 3th ser., 14-15 (1991-1992): 305-346, at 342. 45 A list of porticoes built after the example of San Crisogono is given in Claussen, “Marmo e splendore,” 214, nt. 51. For an overview of cosmatesque porticoes see Pensabene and Pomponi, “Contributi.” 46 Claussen, “Marmo e splendore,” 162-163. 47 Tertius Eugenius romanus p(a)p(a) benignus optulit hoc munus Virgo Maria tibi que mater Christi fieri merito meruisti salva perpetua virginitate tibi es via vita salus totius gl(ori)a mundi da venia(m) culpis virginitatis hono[s]. “Eugenius III, the Roman pope, willingly brings this gift to you, Virgin Mary, you who truly deserved to be the mother of Christ and perpetually preserved your virginity. You are the way, the life, the salvation, and the glory of the entire world. Oh honor of virginity, grant forgiveness for sin.” Translation from Herbert L. Kessler and Johanna Zacharias, Rome 1300. On the path of pilgrim (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000), 132.
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
restoration works, the Virgin, and an important icon kept in the basilica.48 The inscription ran along the trabeation of the portico until Gregory XIII had the ambulatory built in 1575. It was an elegant library majuscule that can be defined as an epigraphic display script taken from the models of the Giant Bibles (Fig. 2). This type of script is also found on the trabeation of the portico of the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio, where the text commemorates Bishop Giovanni dei Conti di Sutri (1151-1180) who dedicated the church to the holy martyrs John and Paul.49 The inscription is in an elegant library majuscule that reproduces the display majuscule of contemporary liturgical manuscripts, in particular the script of the frontispieces of the Giant Bibles.50 It seems clear that the display of these inscriptions was as important as the porticoes they graced. Writing in the scripts used in the most sumptuous Bibles and liturgical manuscripts was like displaying a kind of ‘banner’ of the Church of Rome for those who might recognize the link to manuscript culture. The most striking example was the inscription on St. John Lateran, now in fragments on the wall of the cloister, and recorded in an engraving of 1693.51 The dating of the inscription has been contested, but it is likely to have been produced at the end of the twelfth century.52 48 On the icon of Santa Maria Maggiore see Gerhard Wolf, Salus Populi Romani. Die Geschichte römischer Kultbilder im Mittelalter (Weinheim: 1990), especially 173-174 for the inscription. 49 presbiter ecclesie romane rite Iohannes; hec animi voto dona vovendo dedit; martiribus Christi Paulo pariterque Iohanni; passio quos eadem contulit esse pares. Vincenzo Forcella, Iscrizioni delle chiese e d’altri edifici di Roma dal secolo IX fino ai giorni nostri (Rome, 1869-1884), 10: 5, no. 1; Peter C. Claussen, “Magistri doctissimi romani.” Die Römischen Marmorkünstler des Mittelalters (Corpus cosmatorum I) (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1987): 32, nt. 182. The portico is dated at 1180, see Daniela Mondini, “Santi Giovanni e Paolo,” in Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter 1050-1300, G-L (Corpus Cosmatorum II, 3), eds. Peter C. Claussen, Daniela Mondini, and Darko Senekovic (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2010), 69-128, at 91. 50 Stefano Riccioni, “Litterae et figurae. Pour un art rhétorique dans la Rome de la Réforme Grégorienne,” in Rome et la réforme grégorienne, eds. Serena Romano and Julie Enckell (Rome: Viella, 2006), 141-163, at 146, figs. 158-159. Note the letters D, P, and R from the famous Bible maintained in the Medici collection in the Laurentian Library in Florence, Laur. Plut. 15.19, f. 1v. 51 Giovanni Augusto Ciampini, De sacris aedificis a Constantino Magno constructis. Synopsis historica (Rome, 1693), 10-13, tavv. I-II. 52 The question of the dating cannot be treated in depth here. Some authors argue for a thirteenth-century date, but the graphic forms are notably close to those used on the engraved Chartae lapidariae from the papacy of Celestine III (1191-1198). For a dating in
Figure 2. Trabeation of the portico of the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio, with dedicatory inscription, ca. 1180. Photo: Stefano Riccioni; image in public domain. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via http://www.brill .nl/me The inscription was done in a particularly elegant library majuscule, with squared-off modules; of all the inscriptions treated here, it is the closest in the thirteenth century, see Francesco Gandolfo, “Assisi e il Laterano,” Archivio della Società Romana di Storia Patria 106 (1983): 63-113, at 73-74; Francesca Pomarici, “Medioevo. Architettura,” in San Giovanni in Laterano, ed. Carlo Pietrangeli (Florence: Nardini, 1990), 61-88, at 64-65. For a twelfth-century dating, see Claussen, “Magistri doctissimi romani,” 22-26; Ingo Herklotz, “Der mittelalterliche Fassadenportikus der Lateranbasilika und seine Mosaiken. Kunst und Propaganda am Ende des 12. Jahrhunderts,” Römisches Jahrbuch der Bibliotheca Hertziana 25 (1989): 25-95; Sible De Blaauw, Cultus et decor. Liturgia e architettura nella Roma tardoantica e medievale (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1994), 207; Augusto Paravicini Bagliani, Le chiavi e la tiara (Rome: Viella, 1998), 32-68; Ingo Herklotz, Gli eredi di Costantino. Il papato, il Laterano e la propaganda visiva nel XII secolo (Rome: Viella, 2000), 193-203, at 161. For a recent interpretation of the inscription, dated at the end of twelfth century, see Peter C. Claussen, Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter 1050-1300, San Giovanni in Laterano (Corpus Cosmatorium II, 2 ) (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2008), 63-89, at 84-88.
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
form and disposition to the scripts and incipits of luxury liturgical manuscripts. Here the pope, called vicarius Christi, was explicitly linked to both imperial and Christian antiquity through the evocation of Constantine’s donation of Rome. The inscription called the church cunctarum mater caput ecclesiarum, suggesting its primacy even over St. Peters itself: Dogmate papali datur ac simul imperali, quod sim cunctarum mater caput ecclesiarum. Hic Salvatoris celestia regna datoris nomine sanxuerunt cum cuncta peracta fuerunt. Quesumus ex toto conversi supplice voto nostra quod hec aedes tibi Christe sit inclita sedes.53 (By the will of the emperor and the pope, / I am to be the mother and head of all churches. / In Christ’s name, He who gives all the kingdoms of heaven, / this they decreed once all was brought to completion. / Now truly converted, we humbly pray, / That this our house, O Christ, may be your fitting seat.)
If we move into the city from these porticoes, it is clear that sacred authorities also worked to lay claim to the major ancient monuments, and perhaps especially the two surviving ancient triumphal columns. The Mirabilia briefly mentions both Trajan’s Column and the Column of Antoninus (Marcus Aurelius), and other sources also suggest the importance of these monuments for the Roman community. In the atrium of the church of San Silvestro in Capite, there is an inscription, dated 1119, attesting to the monastery’s possession of the Column of Marcus Aurelius.54 The text ends with an anathema and “permanent curse” on those who sought to remove the column with violence: Si q(ui)s ex hominib(us) co/lumpna(m) p(er) violentiam a n(ost)ro / mon(asterio) subtraxerit, p(er)petue / maledictioni sicuti sacri /legus et
53 Transcription from Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Inscriptiones Christianae urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores, 2 vols. (Rome: Ex Officina Libraria Pontificia, 1861-1888), 2:322; Herklotz, Gli eredi di Costantino, 193; Claussen, San Giovanni in Laterano, 84. 54 The actual position of the inscription is not original. According to Adinolfi (writing in 1523-1534), it was placed there during the papacy of Clement VII; see Pasquale Adinolfi, Roma nell’età di mezzo, vol. 2, Rione Trevi, Rione Colonna (Rome, 1881, anastatic reprint Florence: Le Lettere-Licosa, 1981), 350-351. Probably the inscription was inside the church.
raptor et s(an)c(t)arum / reru(m) invasor subiaceat et / anathematis vinculo p(er)pe/tuo teneatur fiat.55 (If anyone should seize the column of our monastery, let him be permanently cursed as the impious predator and usurper of sacred things and be forever subject to anathema.)
Roughly forty years later, on 27 March 1162, the Roman Commune issued an edict concerning Trajan’s Column, and it seems to echo the ecclesiastical stress on public honor and good. It is plausible that the edict was also engraved on stone, though no such inscription survives. The edict invested the monastery of Santi Apostoli with both Trajan’s Column and the church of San Niccolò at its base. This was done so that the column would not sustain any damage, and remain integra et incorrupta dum mundus durat, sic eius stante figura. Those who damaged the column were to be put to death and to have their goods confiscated.56 The column expressed the collective identity and honor, not only of the church of Santi Apostoli but also of Roman citizens.57 After mid-century, however, the rising aspirations of the nobility seem to have diverged, and not only politically, from those of the Church. The Roman Commune was established in 1143,58 and the few remaining “lay” 55 Transcription in Forcella, Iscrizioni delle chiese, 9:79, no. 149; Mariano Armellini, Le chiese di Roma dal secolo IV al XIX. Nuova ed. con aggiunte inedite dell’autore, appendici critiche e documentarie e numerose illustrazioni, ed. Carlo Cecchelli, 2 vols. (Rome: Ruffolo, 1942), 1:364; Adinolfi, Roma nell’età di mezzo, 350-351. Stefano Del Lungo, “Un’epigrafe del secolo XII a San Silvestro de Capite,” BTA—Bollettino Telematico dell’Arte 131 (22 July 1996), http://www.bta.it/txt/a0/01/bta00131.html. 56 [. . .] Salvo iure parrochiali ecclesie Sanctorum apostolorum Philippi et Iacobi et salvo honore publico Urbis eidem columpne n[e] unquam per aliquam personam obtentu investimenti huius restitutionis diruatur aut minuatur, sed ut est ad honorem ipsius ecclesie et totius populi Romani, integra et incorrupta permaneat dum mundus durat, sic eius stant[e] figura. Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Archivio Santa Maria in Via Lata, cass. 317 A, no. 1 (alias 362), see Codice diplomatico del Senato romano, vol. 1, Dal 1144 al 1347, ed. Franco Bartoloni (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 1948), 25-27, nt. 18. 57 On this topic see also Serena Romano, “Arte del medioevo romano: la continuità e il cambiamento,” and Paola Supino Martini, “Società e cultura scritta,” both in Storia di Roma dall’antichità a oggi. Roma medievale, ed. André Vauchez (Rome: Laterza, 2001), 267-268 and 241-265, at 257. 58 The bibliography on the Roman Commune is extensive, see Paolo Brezzi, Roma e l’impero medievale (774-1252) (Bologna: Cappelli, 1947); Arsenio Frugoni, “Sulla Renovatio Senatus del 1143 e l’Ordo equestris,” Bullettino dell’ Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo, 62 (1950): 159-174; Laura Moscati, Alle origini del Comune romano. Economia,
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
inscriptions suggest a parallel but competing drive to reclaim the antique inheritance. An inscription placed on the Torre delle Mura, known as the Torre della Marana, near the Porta Metronia, records works carried out in 1157 to restore the city walls: R(egio) S(ancti) A(n)g(e)l(i) / Anno mclvii incarnat(ionis) / D(omi)ni n(ost) ri Ih(es)u Chr(st)i S(enatus) P(opulus)q(ue) R(omanus hec menia / vetustate dilapsa restaura/vit senatores Sasso, Ioh(anne)s de Al/berico, Roieri Buccacane, Pinzo, / Filippo, Ioh(anne)s de Parenzo, Petrus / D(eu)stesalvi, Cencio de Ansoino, / Rainaldo Romano, / Nicola Mannetto. (Regio of Sant’Angelo, in the Year of our Lord Jesus Christ 1157, the Senate and People of Rome restored this ancient wall which had fallen into ruin. The senators were Sasso, Giovanni d’Alberico, Roieri Buccacane, Pinzo, Filippo, Giovanni di Parenzo, Pietro Diotisalvi, Cencio d’Ansoino, Rainaldo Romano and Nicola Mannetto.)59
The script itself is crude, but it nevertheless demonstrates an archaizing intent, above all in the evocation of the Senatus Populusque Romanus in the abbreviation SPQR. The reuse of spolia in civic and domestic architecture occurred alongside the use of newly-created elements; and yet, in what seems like a deliberate contrast to the epigraphic “mode” of the Church, the few examples of writing and inscriptions in a lay context suggest a different orientation. The only surviving monument reflecting the spirit of antiquity is the so-called Casa dei Crescenzi. Based on the style of the lettering in the inscriptions, a date in the first half of the twelfth century has been suggested. It was a tower-house near the river between the Theatre of Marcellus and Santa Maria in Cosmedin, a densely built-up area in the Middle Ages. It was however different from other towers around it. The ground floor and part of the upper story still survive. The facade is decorated with eight segmented columns embedded in the supporting wall. The entablature and the supporting brackets are covered in ancient
Società, Istituzioni (Rome, 1980); Girolamo Arnaldi, “Rinascita, fine, reincarnazione e successive metamorfosi del Senato romano (secoli V-XII),” Archivio della Società romana di storia patria, 105 (1982): 5-56; Miglio, “Il senato in Roma;” Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur, “Il Comune romano,” in Vauchez, Roma medievale, 117-157. 59 Forcella, Iscrizioni delle chiese, 13:25, no. 1; Reproduction in Angelo Silvagni, Monumenta epigraphica Christiana saeculo XIII antiquiora quae in Italiae finibus adhuc extant, vol. 1, Roma (Vatican City: Pontificium Inst. Archaeologiae Christianae, 1943), table XXV, no. 5.
decorative fragments, with medieval copies added to complete the effect.60 The house is covered in inscriptions stressing the theme of antique renewal. They have been variously dated, but are now usually placed in the first half of the twelfth century, and are written in Romanesque majuscules, a script inspired by a bookhand61 (Fig. 3). The main dedicatory inscription is placed over the entry door. It was carved onto a reused antique architrave, and rotated ninety degrees to provide a clean writing surface in a procedure that recalls the reuse of classical arae for the altars at Santa Galla and at San Pantaleo. The Casa inscription notes that the house was built by Nicholas, son of Crescentius and Theodora, but not for worldly fame. Readers are exhorted to be mindful that death is always imminent and that no walls can protect them from it. Instead, the house stands in honor of Nicholas’s family and to renew the beauty of Rome, Rome veterem renovare decorem: Non fuit ignarus cuius domus hec Nicolaus q(uo)d nil momenti sibi mundi gl(ori)a sentit / verum q(uo)d fecit hanc non tam vana coegit gl(ori)a quam Rome veterem renovare decorem. / In domibus pulcris memore estote sepulcris confisique tiu non ibi stare diu. Mors vehit pennis / nulli sua vita p(er)hennis. Mansio nra brevis cursus et ipse levis. Si fugias ventu si claudas ostia c /
60 Marcello Barbanera and Stefania Pergola, “Elementi architettonici antichi e postantichi riutilizzati nella c.d. Casa dei Crescenzi. La memoria dell’antico nell’edilizia civile a Roma,” Bullettino della Commissione archeologica comunale di Roma 98 (1997): 301-328. 61 Forcella, Iscrizioni delle chiese, 13:537, dates the building and inscription to the eleventh century; Francesco Sabatini, La famiglia e le torri dei Crescenzi (Rome: Edizioni Poliglotta, 1908), 24, dates to the tenth century. For a chronology between the eleventhtwelfth centuries, see William S. Heckscher, “Relics of Pagan Antiquity in Medieval Settings,” Journal of the Warburg Institute 1 (1937-1938): 204-220; Umberto Gnoli, “La casa di Nicola di Crescente o casa di Pilato,” L’Urbe 5, 2 (1940): 2-10; Bruno M. Apolloni Ghetti, La casa dei Crescenzi nell’architettura e nell’arte di Roma medievale (Rome, 1940), 4-5. Recently scholars agree to date the building and the inscriptions to the first half of twelfth century, see Richard Krautheimer, Rome, profile of a City. 312-1308 (Princeton: University Press, 1980), 197-198; Claussen, “Renovatio Romae,” 118-122; Supino Martini, “Società e cultura scritta,” 257-258; Claussen, “Marmo e splendore,” 153; Patrizio Pensabene, “La Casa dei Crescenzi e il reimpiego nelle case del XII e XIII secolo a Roma,” in Arnolfo di Cambio e la sua epoca: Costruire, scolpire, dipingere, decorare, ed. Vittorio Franchetti Pardo (Rome: Viella 2007), 65-76; Pensabene, “I portici nelle case,” 72.
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
lisgor mille iubes n(on) sine morte cubes. Si maneas castris ee me vicin[as]62 astris, ocius inde solet tolle/re q(u)osq(ue) vollet. Surgit in astra dom sublimis, culmina cuius, / prim de primis, magnus Nicholaus ab imis. / Erexit patru(m) dec ob renovare suoru(m). Stat patris Crescens matrisq(ue) Theodora nom(en). / Hoc culmen claru(m) caro p(ro) pignere gestu(m). / Davidi tribuit qui pater exhibuit. (Nicholas, whose house this is, was not ignorant. He understands that the glory of the world is as nothing to him. / In truth he did this not compelled by vainglory but to renew the ancient splendor of Rome. / When you are in beautiful houses, reflect upon tombs, you who have trusted in God do not stay there long. Death is borne on wings /; no one’s life is forever. Our stay here is brief, and the course of life is fleeting. Though you run like the wind, though you lock the doors a hundred times; / though you boast a thousand ships [or sentinels], you will not recline without death. If you stay in your castles you are near to the stars whence the more quickly he is wont to snatch / whomever he wishes. / The house rises to the stars whose lofty roof great Nicholas, first among the first, raised from the depths. / The glory of his fathers rose up to renew that of his family. The name of his father remains Crescens and of his mother Theodora. / He made this glorious tower for his offspring. / He who proved himself a father gave it to David.)63
The distych to the right of the entry door reads: Adsum romanis grandis honor populis / indicat effigies qui me perfecerit auctor. (I am here a great honor for the Roman people / the image shows the author who had me made.)
It very likely had a bust of the patron below it.64 The visual staging thus brought together a sculpted bust—a traditional antique form—with the 62 The last two letters of vicinas are actually lost—only a small part of the S is still visible—but they were clearly visible in Silvagni, Monumenta, table XL, no. 2. Earlier transcriptions offered: ferme vicinum et instead of esse me vicinas; see Sabatini, La famiglia e le torri, 16; Apolloni Ghetti, La casa dei Crescenzi, 4-5; Claussen, “Renovatio Romae,” 120, nt. 85; Mauro Quercioli, Le torri di Roma (Rome: Newton Compton Editori, 2006), 242; Pensabene, “La Casa dei Crescenzi,” 75, nt. 6. Forcella, Iscrizioni delle chiese, 13:535, no. 1339, esse me vicinum et instead of esse me vicinas. 63 Translation by Kinney, “Spolia in Late antiquity”. 64 Ferdinand Gregorovius, Storia della città di Roma nel medioevo, 3 vols. (Turin: Einaudi, 1973), 2:1132. The inscription is on the facade of the building.
Figure 3. Reused ancient architrave with dedicatory inscription on the Casa dei Crescenzi, Rome. First half of the twelfth century. Photo: Pierluigi Zolli; image in public domain. medieval rewriting of antiquity through the union of script and image. A further distych made a direct appeal to the passing citizen: Vos q(ui) transitis sec(us) optima tecta Q(ui)rites / hac temptate domo quis Nicolaus homo. (You, Quirite who pass before these splendid palaces / see here in this house what a man Nicolaus is.)65
65 The inscriptions are found on the side of the building facing via di Ponterotto toward the Temple of Vesta. Both inscriptions are written on two reused classical arches, see Alessandra Guiglia and Federico Guidobaldi, “Un contributo alla conoscenza delle botteghe di marmorari nella Roma medievale: i frammenti di archetto marmoreo con iscrizione dall’area della Basilica Emilia nel Foro Romano,” in Forme e storia: Scritti di arte medievale e moderna per Francesco Gandolfo, eds. Walter Angelelli and Francesca Pomarici (Rome: Editoriale Artemide, 2011), 269-290, at 285.
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
Addressing the reader by the ancient title “Quirites” presupposed a notable erudition: it was the earliest term for Roman citizens, so old that it derived from the word for spear (quiritis) when the citizens were also the standing militia. It is interesting that this elite civic self-celebration uses a rhetorical form first developed and perfected in ecclesiastical circles: the leonine hexameters used here can be traced back to the rhythms of the sung liturgical offices and readings. While the shared form points to the links between these elites, clerical and secular, it also suggests a wish to sacralize the lay city and to claim its past as a civic rather than sacred space. As a final and culminating example, there is the inscription placed on the Ponte Cestio at the end of the twelfth century66 (Fig. 4). It is again written in large classicizing capitals, a script that suggests a clear wish to distinguish the populus romanus from the Curia romana; the intention seems to have been to restore the prestige of the populus through the reuse of a distinctive ancient graphic form. It was incised onto the bridge by order of the senator Benedetto Carushomo following repairs carried out in 1191-1193: [B]enedictus alme / urbis summ(us) senato/r restauravit hun/c pontem fere dirutum. (Benedict, great senator of Rome the Good restored this once-ruined bridge.)67
Here the script forms are squared off, and although spacing and placing are hesitant, the absence of the abbreviations and forms typical of curial hands makes the wish to evoke antiquity clear. Even the position of the bridge was significant, tying together as it did two vital areas of the city: Trastevere and the old Foro Boario. The project suggests a wish to assert control over both sides of the Tiber river, an ambition destined, however, to be unsuccessful.
66 Reproduction in Silvagni, Monumenta, table XXVII, no. 3. See Walter Koch, “Zur stadtrömischen Epigraphik des 13. Jahrhunderts—mit Rückblick auf das Hochmittelalter,” in Epigraphik 1988. Fachtagung für Mittelalterliche und Neuzeitliche Epigraphik, ed. Walter Koch (Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1990), 271-280, at 278, fig. 33; Norberto Gramaccini, “La prima edificazione del Campidoglio e la rivoluzione senatoriale del 1144,” Roma centro ideale della cultura dell’Antico nei secoli XV e XVI: da Martino V al sacco di Roma, ed. Silvia Danesi Squarzina (Rome: Electa, 1989), 33-47; Supino Martini, “Società e cultura scritta,” 257. 67 Forcella, Iscrizioni delle chiese, 13:53, no. 89; Silvagni, Monumenta, table XL, no. 1.
Figure 4. Inscription recording restoration under Senator Benedetto Carushomo (ca. 1191-1193). Ponte Cestio, Rome. End of the twelfth century. Photo: Pierluigi Zolli; image in public domain. We have examined only the most salient cases, but what emerges even from this brief overview is a city in the midst of metamorphosis. The image of Rome was transformed through restorations and new constructions that used spolia as meaningful objects, not only for their link to history, but also, and perhaps primarily, for what medieval people could see in them. After a long struggle with the empire, the Church was in a position to affirm its own supremacy, and did so through a visual strategy strongly
rewriting antiquity, renewing rome
linked to the written word and to its circulation in manuscript forms; thus public lettering throughout Rome relied on graphic forms derived from clerical scripts, used layouts that recalled the mnemonics of book illustration, and carefully distinguished among “reading” publics. We have fewer examples of communal art in Rome, perhaps because less archeological research has been done in this area. What survives suggests that the infant Commune initially followed the Church’s lead, but then evolved a distinct language of its own. The classicizing drive seems more based on direct observation of classical works and writings, without the filter of manuscript culture that marked clerical inscriptions. For twelfth-century visitors, the result must have been breathtaking. The image of Rome was being renewed by bringing ancient materials together to create new forms and new meanings. As the stories of the Mirabilia overwrote antique monuments with medieval legends, the ancient spaces and monuments of Rome were being overwritten in response to contemporary needs. Acknowledgements This article is drawn from my ongoing project entitled,“Epiconography” of Medieval Italian Art. Epigraphy, Image and Literacy in the Romanesque Art of Rome (from the 11th century to the beginning of the 13th century) funded by the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. I am grateful to Dale Kinney for attentive and precise suggestions and to Anne Dunlop for many important discussions and assistance with the English version of this article. Obviously, any error is my own responsibility.
Walking in the Shadows of the Past: The Jewish Experience of Rome in the Twelfth Century Marie Thérèse Champagnea,* and Ra‘anan S. Boustanb
Department of History, Building 50, Room 144, University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL 32514, USA b Department of History, 6265 Bunche Hall, Box 951473, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1473, USA *Corresponding author, e-mail: [email protected] a
Abstract The Jewish and Christian inhabitants of twelfth-century Rome viewed the urban landscape of their city through the lens of its ancient past. Their perception of Rome was shaped by a highly localized topography of cultural memory that was both shared and contested by Jews and Christians. Our reconstruction of this distinctively Roman perspective emerges from a careful juxtaposition of the report of Benjamin of Tudela’s visit to Rome preserved in his Itinerary and various Christian liturgical and topographical texts, especially those produced by the canons of the Lateran basilica. These sources demonstrate that long-standing local claims regarding the presence in Rome of ancient artifacts from the Jerusalem Temple and their subsequent conservation in the Lateran acquired particular potency in the twelfth century. Jews and Christians participated in a common religious discourse that invested remains from the biblical and Jewish past reportedly housed in Rome with symbolic capital valued by the two communities and that thus fostered both contact and competition between them. During this pivotal century and within the special microcosm of Rome, Jews and Christians experienced unusually robust cultural and social interactions, especially as the Jews increasingly aligned themselves with the protective power of the papacy. Keywords Rome, Jewish community, twelfth century, Lateran basilica, papacy, Sicut Judaeis, Benjamin of Tudela, Jerusalem Temple, sacred vessels, spolia
The image of twelfth-century Rome evokes, for many, visions of bustling marketplaces and tumultuous streets, of crowded churches, and frequent conflicts between and among nobility and clergy, the mundane daily activities of its citizens unfolding in the imposing shadow of relics of past
walking in the shadows of the past
grandeur.1 But this popular picture is almost always of a purely Christian Rome, extending beyond the abitato of the Tiber Bend and across to the vast tracts of the disabitato.2 On closer inspection, however, a deeplyrooted, if distinct, Roman-Jewish community also flourished amid the turmoil, strife, and conflict in the city.3 The Jewish inhabitants of Rome participated in civic life in Rome as one of its seventeen scholae.4 The schola of the Jews played a crucial part in various papal ceremonies, functioning alongside the other scholae or associations of craftsmen whose specific task it was to supply a variety of goods and services to the papacy. Thus, the Jewish perspective on the city was typical of all of its inhabitants, while also being distinctive to members of this minority community. Richard Krautheimer, Rome: Profile of a City, 312 to 1308 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); Robert L. Benson and Giles Constable, eds., Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982); Robert N. Swanson, The Twelfth Century Renaissance (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999). On the ubiquity of the ancient past within the medieval city, see Robert Brentano, Rome before Avignon: A Social History of Thirteenth-Century Rome (London: Longman, 1974); Herbert L. Kessler and Johanna Zacharias, Rome 1300: On the Path of the Pilgrim (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000). Regarding the Roman nobility and Commune, see JeanClaude Maire Vigueur, “Il comune romano,” in Storia di Roma dall’antichità ad oggi, Roma medievale, ed. André Vauchez (Bari: Laterza, 2001), 117-157; Laura Moscati, Alle origini del comune romano: economia, società, istituzioni (Rome: B. Carucci, 1980). 2 About the inhabited and uninhabited spaces within the city of Rome during this period, see Etienne Hubert, “L’organizzazione territoriale e l’urbanizzazione,” in Vauchez, Roma medievale, 159-186; Hubert, Espace urbain et habitat à Rome du X e siècle à la fin du XIII e siècle, Collection de l’École Française de Rome 135 (Rome: Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo, École Française de Rome, 1990), esp. 74-96. 3 For the Jewish community of Rome in the Middle Ages, see most recently Alberto Somekh, “Gli ebrei a Roma durante l’alto medieovo,” in Roma fra Oriente e Occidente, Settimane di studio del centro italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo 49, 2 vols. (Spoleto: CISAM, 2002), 1:209-135; Abraham Berliner, Storia degli Ebrei di Roma, dall’antichità allo smantellamento del ghetto (Milan: Saggi Bompiani, 2000); Anna Esposito, Un’altra Roma: Minoranze nazionali e comunità ebraiche tra Medioevo e Rinascimento (Rome: Il Calamo, 1995). On the Jewish community of Rome within its wider medieval European context, see the important series of studies by Kenneth R. Stow, Alienated Minority: The Jews of Medieval Latin Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992); Stow, The ‘1007 Anonymous’ and Papal Sovereignty: Jewish Perception of the Papacy and Papal Policy in the High Middle Ages (Cincinnati, OH: Hebrew Union College, 1984). 4 “A company, association [or] body; . . . a colony of aliens established at Rome and organized as a corporation” (Jan Frederik Niermeyer and Co van de Kieft, Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus [Leiden: Brill, 2002], 1232-1233). 1
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
In this article, we argue that Jews and Christians alike—but especially the elite leadership of both groups—cultivated and exploited long-standing discursive traditions regarding the enduring religious significance of Rome. We set out to demonstrate that these frequently intersecting lines of tradition were of particular importance for both communities within the Roman context of the period. Jews and Christians participated in a common religious discourse that invested remains from the biblical and Jewish past housed in Rome with symbolic capital valued by the two communities and that, thus, fostered both contact and competition between them. The power differential between Jews and Christians in the city of the Popes heightened the intensity of their contestation over ownership of the past, but also lent stability to their ongoing engagement with common and highly local idioms of religious authority and authenticity. The extant sources—Christian and Jewish, Latin and Hebrew—reveal a rich and interlocking series of cultural assumptions that were operative across both communities. Indeed, the traditions in these sources reflect and refract events as far back as the Augustan age, and served as vehicles of memory that made the presence of antiquity palpable within twelfth-century Rome and its physical milieu.5 Moreover, eleventh- and twelfth-century Rome saw an intensification of interest in spolia as well as in the ubiquitous ancient remains within the built environment; these extant items from Roman antiquity underwent a process of resignification, as they acquired novel identifications and were imbued with new meanings that were often recognized by Jewish and Christian Romans alike.6 While the background of this article is the formation of this “Roman memory” over the course of late antiquity, we focus here on how the Jews of twelfth-century Rome 5 James B. Ross, “A Study of Twelfth-Century Interest in the Antiquities of Rome,” in Medieval and Historiographical Essays in Honor of James Westfall Thompson, eds. James L. Cate and Eugene N. Anderson (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1938), 302-321; Herbert Bloch, “The New Fascination with Ancient Rome,” in Benson and Constable, Renaissance, 615-636. 6 On the re-use of ancient spolia in twelfth-century building projects, see Dale Kinney, “Spolia,” in St. Peter’s in the Vatican, ed. William Tronzo (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 16-47; Kinney, “Spolia: Damnatio and Renovatio Memoriae,” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 42 (1997): 117-148; and Kinney, “Rape or Restitution of the Past? Interpreting Spolia,” in The Art of Interpreting, ed. Susan C. Scott, Papers in Art History from the Pennsylvania State University 9 (University Park, PA: Department of Art History, The Pennsylvania State University, 1995), 52-67. See also the studies in Richard Brilliant and Dale Kinney, eds., Reuse Value: Spolia and Appropriation in Art and Architecture from Constantine to Sherrie Levine (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011).
walking in the shadows of the past
incorporated these traditions into their ongoing interactions with the Christian authorities of the city, and how this process of negotiation played out alongside uncannily similar Christian claims to the city and its ancient patrimony. Several significant texts produced in Rome and describing the city—its topography, institutions, and processions—permit us a glimpse of interactions between the Jewish community and Roman-Christian clergy and laity in daily and ceremonial situations. Among these texts are the Historia Imaginis Salvatoris (ca. 1145) of Nicholas Maniacutius;7 the anonymous Descriptio Lateranensis Ecclesiae (ca. 1073-1085) and its first revision by John the Deacon (ca. 1159-1181);8 Cardinal Boso’s entries in the Liber Pontificalis (ca. 1154-1178);9 the Liber Censuum of Cencius Camerarius (ca. 1192);10 and the Mirabilia urbis Romae (ca. 1143) of Canon Benedict, an early and enormously influential description of medieval Rome.11 The canons shed light on the history of Christian rituals that incorporated Nicholas Maniacutius, Historia Imaginis Salvatoris (ca. 1145), Fondo SMM 2, fols. 237-244, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City, printed in Gerhard Wolf, Salus Populi Romani: Studien zur Geschichte des römischen Kultbildes im Mittelalter (Weinheim: VCH Acta Humaniora, 1990), 321-325, at 323. A brief excerpt from the Historia is also printed in Hans Belting, Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 500. For further discussion of the Historia and the other works by Nicolaus, see Gerhard Wolf, “ ‘Laetare filia Sion. Ecce ego venio et habitabo in medio tui’: Images of Christ transferred to Rome from Jerusalem,” Jewish Art 23-24 (1997-1998): 418-429; Vittorio Peri, “Nicola Maniacutia, autore ecclesiastico romano del XII secolo,” Aevum 36 (1962): 534-588; Peri, “Nicola Maniacutia, un testimone della filogia romana del XII secolo,” Aevum 42 (1967): 67-90; and Peri, “Nicola Maniacutia, ‘Correctores immo corruptores’: Un saggio di critica testuale nella Roma del XII secolo,” Italia medioevale e umanistica 20 (1977): 119-125. 8 Printed in Roberto Valentini and Giuseppe Zucchetti, eds., Codice topografico della città di Roma, 4 vols. (Rome: Tipografica del Senato, 1940-1953), 3:319-373. 9 Le Liber Pontificalis: Texte, introduction et commentaire, ed. Louis Duchesne, 3 vols. (2nd series; Paris: Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, 1955-1957), 2:388-446; Boso, Life of Adrian IV, in Adrian IV, the English Pope (1154-1159): Studies and Texts, ed. and trans. Brenda Bolton and Anne Duggan (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 214-233; G.M. Ellis, trans., Boso’s Life of Alexander III, intro. Peter Munz (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1973); Fritz Geisthardt, Der Kämmerer Boso, Historische Studien 293 (Berlin: Verlag dr. Emil Ebering, 1936). 10 Cencius, Le liber censuum de l’église romaine, eds. Paul Fabre and Louis Duchesne, 3 vols. (Paris: Fontemoing, Thorin, 1889-1952). On the early history of the Liber Censuum, see Teresa Montecchi Palazzi, “Cencius Camerarius et la formation du Liber censuum de 1192,” Mélanges de l’école française de Rome 96 (1984): 49-93. 11 Benedictus Canonicus, Mirabilia urbis Romae, in Valentini and Zucchetti, Codice 7
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
the pre-Christian “Jewish past” as their own. For its part, the Mirabilia, as a kind of descriptive “guide” to Rome, catalogs historical sites in the city that were symbolically significant for Roman Christians and, in specific cases, Roman Jews as well.12 These ecclesiastical texts situate Rome’s urban topography within a distinctively Christian framework vital to the power and authority of the papacy. And yet the city was of almost equal interest to contemporary Jewry. Indeed, many of the same sites, monuments, and artifacts made Rome as dense a landscape of memory for its Jewish inhabitants as it was for their Christian counterparts. Central to our argument is the text known as The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, which complements the thematic emphasis and content of documents from the Lateran in several significant ways.13 In this well-known travel narrative of the mid-twelfth century, Benjamin, a Jew from the kingdom of Navarre, describes Rome during his visit there around the year 1161.14 Though problematic as a source for topografico, 3:3-65; Benedict, The Marvels of Rome: Mirabilia urbis Romae, ed. Eileen Gardiner, 2nd edn. (New York, NY: Italica Press, 1986). 12 On the Mirabilia as belonging to the genre of a descriptio urbis and the revival of this genre in twelfth-century Rome, see especially Dale Kinney, “Fact and Fiction in the Mirabilia urbis Romae,” in Roma Felix: Formation and Reflections of Medieval Rome, eds. Éamonn Ó. Carragáin and Carol Neumann de Vegvar (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 235-252, and the scholarly literature cited there. On the Mirabilia more specifically as a commentary on the papal liturgy, see the article in this issue by Louis Hamilton. 13 The most up-to-date critical edition of the text is still Marcus Nathan Adler, ed. and trans., The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela: Travels in the Middle Ages (London: H. Frowde, 1907). Adler’s edition uses as its base-text what appears to be the earliest extant manuscript, MS British Museum Add. 27089 (ca. fourteenth century), supplemented by two other complete copies (MS Casanatense 3097; MS Epstein) as well as fragments from two additional manuscripts (MS Oxford Oppenheim Add. 8° 36 [= Neubauer 2425]; MS Oxford Oppenheim Add. 8° 58 [= Neubauer 2580]). For discussion of these manuscripts as well as of the numerous earlier printed editions, going back to the editio princeps (Constantinople, 1543) and the Ferrara edition of 1556, see Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, xiv-xv. All translations of the text in this chapter are based on Adler’s edition and are our own. Adler’s translation is also reprinted in Michael A. Signer, ed., The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela: Travels in the Middle Ages (Malibu, CA: Joseph Simon/Pangloss Press, 1983), which, in addition to a new introduction by Signer, also reprints Adler’s introduction as well as the introduction from the earlier edition of Abraham Asher, ed. and trans., The Itinerary of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, 2 vols. (London and Berlin: A. Asher & Co., 1840). 14 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, 1 n. 2, suggests that Benjamin’s visit to Rome occurred between late 1165 and 1167. David Jacoby, “Benjamin of Tudela and his ‘Book of Travels,’ ” in Venezia incrocio di culture, ed. Klaus Herbers and Felicitas Schmieder (Rome:
walking in the shadows of the past
strictly positivist history, the Itinerary nevertheless reveals a distinctly Jewish perspective on the urban landscape of the city. Joseph Shatzmiller has argued that Benjamin intended to provide more than a mere narration of his travels and instead was writing in order “to draw attention to monuments, in Rome and Constantinople . . . that a traveler should not miss.”15 Whether Benjamin derived his knowledge from local Jewish guides to the city or from information gleaned from other texts is not always certain. The prologue to the Itinerary, indicating that the guides in each of the communities through which he passed were local Jews, was added to the original text by a late twelfth- or early thirteenth-century editor.16 In addition, both the prologue and the incompleteness of the narrative suggest that the original text was edited twice. Finally, the manuscript trail extends no further back than a fourteenth-century copy and, hence, the original text of the Itinerary, as it was composed by Benjamin, cannot be fully reconstructed.17 While Benjamin of Tudela’s text has been found to contain inconsistencies and even some errors of fact, it nevertheless carries significant historical value for assessing the institutions, practices, and traditions of specific Jewish communities of which he had personal knowledge.18 The Christian texts and the Itinerary, when carefully juxtaposed and correlated, disclose facets of Rome’s Jewish community that have gone unappreciated in modern historiography. Not only do these texts illuminate the status of Jews Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 2008), 135-164, at 145, considers a post-June 1161 dating of the visit to be more likely. 15 Joseph Shatzmiller, “Jews, Pilgrimage, and the Christian Cult of Saints: Benjamin of Tudela and his Contemporaries,” in After Rome’s Fall: Narrators and Sources of Early Medieval History (Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1998), 337-347, at 347. See also Giulio Busi, “Binyamin da Tudela: nuove avventure bibliografiche,” Materia giudaica 3 (1997): 39-42. 16 For the most lucid review of the compositional history of the text, see Jacoby, “Benjamin of Tudela and his ‘Book of Travels,’ ” 135-140. 17 Jacoby, “Benjamin of Tudela and his ‘Book of Travels,’ ” 136, referring to MS British Museum Add. 27089. 18 Jacoby, “Benjamin of Tudela and his ‘Book of Travels,’ ” 163-164, describes the Itinerary as “a rich and multifaceted source of the twelfth century.” On the historical reliability of the text, see also David Jacoby, “Benjamin of Tudela in Byzantium,” Palaeoslavica 10 (2002): 180-185; Yosef Levanon, “The Holy Place in Jewish Piety: Evidence of Two TwelfthCentury Itineraries,” The Annual of Rabbinic Judaism 1 (1998): 103-118; Rolf Schmitz, “Benjamin von Tudela ‘Das Buch der Reisen’: Realität oder Fiktion,” Henoch 16 (1994): 295-314.
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
within Rome and the particular roles that they played in the life of the city, but they also reveal the “landscape of Jewish cultural memory” that had developed there over the eleven centuries since the destruction of the Temple.19 In particular, both the Christian and Jewish texts discussed here express a continued fascination with the fate of the treasures taken from Jerusalem and the divine authority attributed to those sacred artifacts. Titus’s destruction of the Temple, the transfer to Rome of its sacred vessels, and their subsequent display as spoils of war in the imperial triumph, established both for Jews and for Christians an enduring association between the city and the Jerusalem Temple and its sancta.20 The belief that the Temple treasures had remained in Rome persisted well into the twelfth century, especially within the local context.21 We argue that Jewish and Christian sources from this period not only attest to and participate in a common discourse regarding the fate of the vessels but that Roman Jews and Christians alike shared a distinctive set of traditions reflecting a common perception of the city’s architectural sites. These local cultural memories, whether pressed into service for one religious community or the other, were always in a very real sense Roman. The Jewish Community of Rome The removal from Jerusalem of the Temple treasures by the victorious Roman army occurred more than a century after the establishment of the The phrase “landscape of Jewish cultural memory” comes from Ra‘anan S. Boustan, “The Spoils of the Jerusalem Temple at Rome and Constantinople: Jewish CounterGeography in a Christianizing Empire, in Antiquity in Antiquity: Jewish and Christian Pasts in the Greco-Roman World, eds. Gregg Gardner and Kevin L. Osterloh (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 327-372, at 341. 20 Martin Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations (New York, NY: Knopf, 2007), 428. 21 Marie Thérèse Champagne, “ ‘Treasures of the Temple’ and Claims to Authority in Twelfth-Century Rome,” in Aspects of Power and Authority in the Middle Ages, eds. Brenda Bolton and Christine Meek, International Medieval Research 14 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 107-118, at 109. Also see Sible de Blaauw, “The Solitary Celebration of the Supreme Pontiff: The Lateran Basilica as the New Temple in the Medieval Liturgy of Maundy Thursday,” in Omnes Circumadstantes: Contributions towards a History of the People in the Liturgy Presented to Hermann Wegman on his Retirement, eds. Charles Caspers and Marc Schneiders (Kampen: Kok, 1990), 120-143, at 132-136. 19
walking in the shadows of the past
first Jewish community in Rome.22 By the twelfth century, that community, which stood apart from the rest of Italian Jewry, had long since enjoyed a vigorous and distinctive history of which it was both intensely aware and enormously proud.23 Indeed, in his Itinerary, Benjamin proclaims triumphantly of Rome and its Jews: There are also great scholars there, at whose head are R. Daniel and R. Yeḥiel, a minister of the Pope. He is a handsome young man, intelligent and wise, and has access to (lit. enters and exits) the residence of the Pope, serving as the steward of his household and all of his property. He is a grandson of R. Nathan, who composed the Sefer ha-ʿarukh and its commentaries. (Other scholars are) R. Yoav, son of the chief rabbi (ha-rav) R. Shlomo, and R. Menaḥem, the head of the rabbinical academy ( yeshivah), and R. Yeḥiel, who lives in Trastevere, and R. Benjamin, son of R. Shabbetai of blessed memory.24
The Roman-Jewish community thus came to occupy a position of prominence within the western Mediterranean and European diaspora between the tenth and twelfth centuries, in no small measure because of its immensely rich past. One of the most prominent scholars among the rabbinic leaders of the community—to whom Benjamin alludes—was Nathan ben Yeḥiel, composer of the ʿArukh (ca. 1101), a compendium of Talmudic study.25 On a number of occasions, Jewish communities in both Ashkenaz (Germany and France) and Sepharad (the Iberian Peninsula)
22 Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem, 368; E. Mary Smallwood, The Jews under Roman Rule (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 128-129. For the most recent comprehensive surveys of the evidence for the Roman-Jewish community from its beginnings to Late Antiquity, see Silvia Cappelletti, The Jewish Community in Rome: From the Second Century B.C. to the Third Century C.E., Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 113 (Leiden: Brill, 2006); Leonard V. Rutgers, The Jews in Late Ancient Rome: Evidence of Cultural Interaction in the Roman Diaspora, Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 126 (Leiden: Brill, 1995); also the individual contributions in Joan Goodnick Westenholz, ed., The Jewish Presence in Rome ( Jerusalem: Bible Lands Museum, 1995). 23 See especially Stow, Alienated Minority, 23-24, 65-88; also Levanon, “Holy Place in Jewish Piety,” 104; Hermann Vogelstein, Rome (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1940), 130-136. 24 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, *6-*7 (page numbers with an asterisk refer to the page numbers in Adler’s printed edition of the Hebrew text). 25 For an invaluable discussion of this seminal text, see Luisa Ferretti Cuomo, “Le Glosse Volgari nell’Arukh di R. Natan ben Yehi’el da Roma,” Medioevo Romanzo 22 (1998): 232283; also Stow, Alienated Minority, 69-70.
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
turned to the leaders of the Roman-Jewish community not only for legal guidance but also, as we shall see, for diplomatic assistance. Sources preserved by members of the prominent Qalonymos family who settled in the Rhineland proudly claim that, during the tenth century, Roman Jews had served as the principle conduit to other communities to the north for both Jewish religious thought and ritual, at first in Lucca and eventually in such trans-alpine cities as Mainz.26 Despite the growth of these new intellectual centers, the schools of Mainz nevertheless continued to acknowledge the precedence of Roman rabbinic decisions.27 The Jews of Rome enjoyed a high degree of cultural and intellectual prominence within the Jewish world, acting as intermediaries between their fellow Jews who lived under Christian rule outside of the city and the non-Jewish ecclesiastical and secular powers. In particular, the RomanJewish community enjoyed direct lines of communication with the papacy and, by 598, had already formed a sufficiently influential group to enable it to mount a decisive intervention with Pope Gregory the Great.28 Apparently, Jews in Sicily had bitterly complained of unfair treatment—caused by the expropriation of some land or building for the establishment of a church; in response, the Pope issued a detailed letter demanding that Victor, bishop of Palermo, treat the Jews in a just manner.29 Much later, in the eleventh century, the Roman Jews, under the patronage of the noble Pierleoni family, interceded once more with the papacy, this time on behalf of the Jews in Spain.30 Kenneth Stow has argued 26 For a useful summary of this process of population and cultural migration, see Stow, Alienated Minority, 68-88, building on foundations laid by Avraham Grossman, “The Migration of the Kalonymos Family from Italy to Germany” (Hebrew), Zion 40 (1975): 154-184; Grossman, The Early Sages of Ashkenaz (Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1981), 27-105. 27 Stow, Alienated Minority, 93. 28 See Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404, Studies and Texts 94 (Toronto, ON: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1991), nos. 19-20; Pope Gregory I, The Letters of Gregory the Great, trans. and intro. J.C. Martyn, Medieval Sources in Translation 40, 3 vols. (Toronto, ON: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2004), 2: 521 [8.25]. 29 Dag Norberg, ed., S. Gregorii Magni registrum epistularum, Corpus Christianorum: Series Latina 140-140A, 2 vols. (Turnhout: Brepols, 1982), 1:ix and 38; Robert A. Markus, Gregory the Great and his World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 76-80. See also Jeremy Cohen, Living Letters of the Law: Ideas of the Jew in Medieval Christianity (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), 73-94. 30 The relevant letters from Alexander II are found in Simonsohn, Documents, nos. 36-38.
walking in the shadows of the past
persuasively that the highly localized circumstances prevailing in Rome made the city an excellent laboratory for renegotiating the relationship between the Jews and the papacy.31 Most likely, it was the Pierleoni family—descended from a Jewish convert to Christianity and still residing in close proximity to the Jewish quarter—that fostered this relationship.32 From 1059 onwards, the Pierleoni allied themselves with the papacy; and, at several crucial junctures, members of this family played an instrumental role in helping to bring a series of reforming popes to office, including Gregory VII (1073-1085) and Urban II (1088-1099).33 Members of the Roman-Jewish community—well-situated in the capital of Western Christendom and enjoying the patronage of a powerful family to whom one or other pope was beholden—were pioneers in obtaining grants of papal protection. Indeed, over the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as the vulnerability and protection of Jewish interests came to rest increasingly with ecclesiastical rather than with secular powers, this Roman innovation was to have lasting implications for the rest of the Jewish world.34 See also Robert Chazan, Church, State, and Jew in the Middle Ages (New York, NY: Behrman House, 1980), 99-100. 31 Kenneth R. Stow, “The Approach of the Jews to the Papacy and the Papal Doctrine of the Protection of the Jews, 1063-1147” (Hebrew), Studies in the History of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel 5 (1980): 175-190, usefully summarized in Stow, Alienated Minority, 39-40. 32 Hubert, Espace urbain, 291, confirms the Pierleoni dominance of the Ripa district, in close proximity to Jewish settlement within Rome. See also Moscati, Alle origini del comune romano, 45-47. 33 On the relationship of the Pierleoni family to the papacy, see especially Pietro Fedele, “Le famiglie di Anacleto II e di Gelasio II,” Archivio della Regia società Romana di Storia Patria 27 (1904): 399-433; Demetrius B. Zema, “The Houses of Tuscany and of Pierleone in the Crisis of Rome in the Eleventh Century,” Traditio 2 (1944): 171-172. For further background to the Pierleoni family in twelfth-century Rome, see Krautheimer, Rome, Profile of a City, 150, 157, and 274; Mary Stroll, The Jewish Pope: Ideology and Politics in the Papal Schism of 1130 (Leiden: Brill, 1987), 140-145 and 180; Stow, Alienated Minority, 40; Ian S. Robinson, The Papacy: 1073-1198 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 8-14. For a comparative discussion of the behavior of noble families such as the Pierleoni in urban areas in the twelfth century, see also Jacques Heers, Family Clans in the Middle Ages: A Study of Political and Social Structures in Urban Areas (Amsterdam: North-Holland Pub. Co., 1977), esp. 249. 34 Stow, “Approach of the Jews to the Papacy,” esp. 188-190. The status and safety of Jews tended to vary from the special situation in Rome according to locale. See Marie Thérèse Champagne, “Celestine III and the Jews,” in Pope Celestine III (1191-98): Diplomat and Pastor, eds. John Doran and Damian Smith (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008),
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
The spiritual and civic value of Rome for its Jewish community lay in the particular practice there of an Italo-Ashkenazi rite of synagogue worship. This “Palestinian” branch of the synagogue liturgy was believed to bear the influence of religious poetry that had originated in Jerusalem, possibly even being brought to Rome by the earliest Jewish settlers who had migrated to the city.35 Moreover, the Jews of Rome also valued the city for its stability and relative safety. Sicut Judaeis, the charter of protection for the Jewish community in Rome, first promulgated by Calixtus II in around 1122-1123, was issued by subsequent popes on five further occasions between 1145 and 1198.36 This document appears to have been effective as a local mantle of protection, for no evidence exists to indicate that either violence or persecution directed at Jews was carried out in Rome at any point during the twelfth century. In fact, it would appear that the Roman-Jewish community suffered no major disturbance throughout the entire Middle Ages.37 Living within the special microcosm of the capital of Christendom, Roman 271-285, which argues that the situation in both Orléans and Rouen to which Celestine III responded demonstrates the differing status and safety of Jews in communities far beyond Rome (281-283). While the Pope’s response to the local seizure of synagogues and the persecution of Jews in those cities, within the domains of the Capetian king and the Angevin Duke of Normandy respectively, did reinforce the superior rights of Christians over Jews, he also protected the Jews of Rome by re-issuing the decree Sicut Judaeis at some point during his pontificate. The political realities in Orléans and Rouen in 1193 differed greatly from those in Rome. 35 Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem, 368; Stow, Alienated Minority, 24, 69. On the migration of the Jews to Rome, see Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 12, 415-419. 36 See Simonsohn, Documents, nos. 44, 46 and 49; Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews: History, Studies and Texts 109 (Toronto, ON: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1991), 16-17, nn. 61-62; Solomon Grayzel, “The Papal Bull ‘Sicut Judeis,’ ” in Studies and Essays in Honor of Abraham A. Neuman, eds. Meir Ben-Horin, Bernard D. Weinryb and Solomon Zeitlin (Leiden: Brill, 1962), 243-280; Grayzel, “Popes, Jews, and Inquisition, from ‘Sicut’ to ‘Turbato,’ ” in Essays on the Occasion of the Seventieth Anniversary of the Dropsie University, 1909-1979, eds. Abraham Isaac Katsh and Leon Nemoy (Philadelphia, PA: Dropsie University, 1979), 151-188; Kenneth R. Stow, “Hatred of the Jews or Love of the Church: Papal Policy toward the Jews in the Middle Ages,” in Anti-Semitism through the Ages, ed. Shmuel Almog, trans. Nathan H. Reisner (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1988), 71-89; Stow, “The Fruit of Ambivalence: Papal Jewry Policies over the Centuries,” in The Roman Inquisition, the Index, and the Jews: Contexts, Sources and Perspectives, ed. Stephan Wendehorst (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 3-17. 37 Stow, Alienated Minority, 24; Stow, The Jews in Rome, Studia Post-Biblica 48 (Leiden: Brill, 1995), xi-xii.
walking in the shadows of the past
Jews and Christians experienced unusually robust cultural and social interactions, especially as the Jews increasingly aligned themselves with the protective power of the papacy. Jewish and Christian Cultural Memories of Rome By the twelfth century, the memory of first-century Imperial Rome had long carried a wide range of symbolic meanings for those Jews who called the city their home. The disaster that brought a dramatic end to the Temple cult in Jerusalem shaped the attitude toward Rome among Roman Jews as well as in other diaspora communities throughout the Mediterranean. Martin Goodman has observed that the transfer of the cultic vessels from Jerusalem to Rome almost certainly exerted a powerful impact at the local level, as the Jews of the imperial capital found themselves front-line witnesses to the consequences of Roman power for their ancestral homeland and its religious institutions: “The Jews of the city of Rome must have felt their dual loyalties under intolerable strain as the sacred relics of the Temple they revered were carried in mocking triumph through the streets of their adopted city, their pride at being Roman in direct conflict with the propaganda of the new imperial regime.”38 The events of the epic conquest of Judaea and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, as recorded by Josephus Flavius, have been recounted and explored in numerous studies.39 Significantly, however, besides a few Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem, 439; and, in more detail, idem, “Diaspora Reactions to the Destruction of the Temple,” in Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways A.D. 70 to 135, ed. James D.G. Dunn (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), 27-38. Cappelletti, Jewish Community in Rome, 91-92, strikes a more cautious note, stressing the absence of evidence for the local Jewish reaction in Rome. But on the pronounced and pervasive ideological uses to which the Flavian dynasty put the destruction and despoiling of Jerusalem, see Fergus Millar, “Last Year in Jerusalem: Monuments of the Jewish War in Rome,” in Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome, eds. Jonathan Edmondson, Steve Mason, and James Rives (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 101-128. 39 The bibliography here is vast. For recent assessments of the reliability of Josephus’ account of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, compare the conflicting assessments in Tommaso Leoni, “Against Caesar’s Wishes: Flavius Josephus as a Source for the Burning of the Temple,” Journal of Jewish Studies 58 (2007): 39-51, which credits the report of Josephus that the destruction was an unpremeditated action undertaken by rank and file soldiers, and James Rives, “Flavian Religious Policy and the Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple,” in Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome, 145-166, which argues that the destruction 38
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
brief allusions in second-century Greek and Latin sources to the cultic implements from the Jerusalem Temple, Roman historians and propagandists are almost entirely silent on this matter. By contrast, the Jews of late antiquity did evince an ongoing interest in the fate of the Temple vessels, a theme that was likewise taken up by Christian historians and chroniclers in the Byzantine period.40 Both Jewish and Christian writers thus kept alive the image of the sacred vessels hidden in Rome, transmitting it to their medieval literary heirs in the twelfth-century city.41 As we shall demonstrate below, the landscape of cultural memory preserved in rabbinic and related Jewish literature, on the one hand, and in Byzantine histories and chronicles, on the other, continued to be promoted in lateeleventh and, more particularly, in twelfth-century Roman texts, both Christian and Jewish. And, in this same century, the claims of the Lateran to possess the Temple treasures had their counterpart in the local traditions recorded by Benjamin of Tudela. Benjamin’s Itinerary provides an extensive description of Jewish communities around the Mediterranean, extending as far to the East as western Iran.42 His account of Rome, however, indicates the importance that the history of the Jerusalem Temple and the fate of the sacred vessels occupied in the cultural memory of the city’s Jews. Although their Temple had ceased to exist nearly eleven centuries before, the Jews of the diaspora continued to follow the practice of praying in the direction of its former site in Jerusalem.43 They fasted and prayed on the Ninth of Av, the traditional of the Jerusalem cult was a Roman strategy intended to subdue the rebellious population of Judea. 40 Boustan, “Spoils of the Jerusalem Temple,” 337-339, 356-362. 41 The Descriptio Lateranensis Ecclesiae, in Valentini and Zucchetti, Codice topografico, 3:319-322 and 335-342, emphasizes the unique association of the Lateran with ancient Judaism, and uses that claim to support papal authority during the Investiture struggle and other political and ecclesiastical conflicts, on which see de Blaauw, “Solitary Celebration of the Supreme Pontiff,” 126. The Historia Imaginis Salvatoris (ca. 1145) of Nicolaus Maniacutius, printed in Wolf, Salus Populi Romani, 321-325, is another twelfth-century Christian text claiming that the sacred vessels of the Temple were contained in the Lateran Basilica. 42 Jacoby, “Benjamin of Tudela and his ‘Book of Travels,’ ” 149-150, notes, however, that, while Benjamin included information on communities as far east as Tibet and China, he apparently traveled no further east than Isfahan. 43 On the origins of this practice in Late Antiquity and its enduring impact on synagogue liturgy and architecture, see especially Lee I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years, 2nd edn. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), 326-330, esp.
walking in the shadows of the past
date for the destruction of both Temples, the First by the Babylonians and the Second by the Romans.44 Thus, before discussing the location of the Temple vessels, Benjamin first reports that the local Roman-Jewish community believed that some part of the structure of the Temple was actually in Rome: There are in the church of St John in the Lateran two bronze columns, which had been in the Temple from among the handiwork of King Solomon, peace be upon him; and on both is carved “Solomon son of David.” The Jews in Rome reported (to me) that every year on the Ninth of Av they found sweat running down them like water.45
The practice of commemorating the anniversary of the Destruction was widespread throughout the communities of the diaspora. Yet its observance in Rome seems to have carried the added weight of local history— enhanced, as the Jews of Rome believed it was, by the presence of the two actual columns and the sacred vessels from the Temple itself. Benjamin’s report dovetails significantly with contemporary Christian discourse regarding the distinctive bronze columns in the Lateran basilica. The connection between the Lateran and the Temple as exemplified through physical artifacts may well reflect local Roman perceptions reaching beyond the Jewish community. Indeed, this link also pervaded Christian representations of the Lateran basilica, the Lateran palace, and the pope’s private chapel of San Lorenzo, known as the Sancta Sanctorum.46 327 nt. 56, for relevant rabbinic sources; also Isaiah M. Gafni, Land, Center, and Diaspora: Jewish Constructs in Late Antiquity (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), 58-73. 44 For the development of the fast-day of the Ninth of Av and the various “tragedies” attracted to that date over the course of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, see now Shulamit Elizur, Wherefore Have We Fasted? “Megillat Ta‘anit Batra” and Similar Lists of Fasts (Hebrew), Sources for the Study of Jewish Culture 9 (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 2007), 154-155; and, more generally, the classic essay by Judah Rosenthal, “The Four Commemorative Fast Days,” in The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Volume of the Jewish Quarterly Review, eds. Abraham A. Neuman and Solomon Zeitlin (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Quarterly Review, 1967), 446-459. 45 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, *8. 46 See Jack Freiberg, The Lateran in 1600: Christian Concord in Counter-Reformation Rome (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 112-158; and De Blaauw, “Solitary Celebration,” 136, which only briefly touches on the Roman material in Benjamin of Tudela’s Itinerary. See also Richard Krautheimer, Corpus basilicarum Christianarum Romae, 5 vols. (Città del Vaticano: Pontificio instituto di archeologia Cristiana, 1977), 5:10; Kessler and Zacharias, Rome 1300, 39-40. For the broader Frankish perceptions of Rome as the New Jerusalem, see Herbert L. Kessler, “Rome’s Place between Judaea and Francia in
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
The association of the Lateran basilica with biblical Judaism may be dated to the building program of the Emperor Constantine.47 In later Christian sources, it was recorded that, among the many adornments Constantine deposited in the Constantinian (Lateran) basilica, the seven brass candelabra were uniquely decorated with images of Old Testament prophets, rather than with Christian saints and martyrs.48 The Jewish association seems to have persisted: by the tenth century, a mosaic inscription decorating the apse of the Lateran compared the Church’s rituals to the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai: This house of God is similar to Sinai, bearing the sacred rites, as the law demonstrates, the law which once had been brought forth here, which went forth from here, which leads minds from the lowest places, and which, having become known, gave light throughout the regions of the world.49
Pope Sergius III (904-911) directed the creation of that inscription as part of a restoration program to recall and enhance the basilica’s venerable Carolingian Art,” in Roma fra Oriente e Occidente, Settimane di studio del centro italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo 49, 2 vols. (Spoleto: CISAM, 2002), 2:695-718. 47 Krautheimer, Corpus, 5:9-10. See also Peter C. Claussen, Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter, 1050-1300: San Giovanni in Laterano, Corpus Cosmatorum 2.2, Forschungen zur Kunstgeschichte und christlichen Archäologie 21 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2008), 25-28. 48 “. . . candelabra auricalca VII ante altaria, qui sunt in pedibus X cum ornatu ex argento interclusum sigillis prophetarum” (Liber Pontificalis 1: 77-79); Raymond Davis, trans., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis): The Ancient Biographies of the First Ninety Roman Bishops to AD 715, Translated Texts for Historians 6 (rev. ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000), 17. Furnishings donated by Constantine to other Roman Churches, including the basilicas of Santi Pietro e Paolo and Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in the Sessorian Palace, were all decorated with Christian images. 49 “Aula Dei haec similis Synai sacra iura ferenti / ut lex demonstrat hic quae fuit edita quondam / lex hinc exivit mentes quae ducit ab imis / et vulgata dedit nomen per climata saec(u)li” (Ciampini, De sacra aedificiis, 16). Other editions of this inscription and brief analyses can be found at Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores, 2 vols. (Rome: Ex Officina Libraria Pontificia, 1861-1888), 2:149-150 no. 17, 305-306 no. 4; Philippe Lauer, Le palais de Latran, étude historique et archéologique (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1911), 49, 138; Ursula Nilgen, “Texte et image dans les absides des XIe-XIIe siècles en Italie,” in Épigraphie et iconographie: actes du colloque tenu à Poitiers les 5-8 octobre 1995, ed. Robert Favreau (Poitiers: Université de Poitiers, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale, 1996), 153-164, at 157.
walking in the shadows of the past
“ancient” reputation, in part reflecting the medieval belief that the Lateran altar contained Jewish relics (including the “Tablets of the Law”) in contrast to the “new law of Christ.”50 In the twelfth century, the connection of the Lateran to “biblical Judaism” persisted. This association served as the basis for a poem by Petrus Mallius, a canon of St. Peter’s (ca. 1145-1181), who in a decidedly derogatory manner addressed the Lateran as “Synagogue.” Here let the people venerate the throne of Peter, Let them honor the church of the Prince [of the Apostles], Let them revere the head of the world and of the city. I was established as the first parent, the mother, the head of churches, For Peter held the primacy over all companions And God conferred it upon me so that the illustrious people Should consider me the cathedral seat of the Prince, As the sole mistress and teacher of the world. I glory in Peter and Paul but you, Synagogue, Rejoice only in signs and ancient anointings. I consider those men at the same time Jews and followers of Moses Who believe the old Synagogue to be the head of the Church. For that old figure says nothing about the Prince without equal.51
50 Liber Pontificalis 2:236; Lauer, Le palais de Latran, 138; Nilgen, “Texte et image,” 157-158. 51 “Hic cathedram Petri populi venerentur, honorent / Principis ecclesiam, caput orbis et urbis adorent. / Tunc ego prima parens, mater, caput ecclesiarum / Constituta fui; socios cum Petrus in omnes / Primatum tenuit, Deus et mihi contulit illum, / Ut clarus populus cathedrales Principis aedes / Me solam dominam teneat orbisque magistram. / Glorior in Petro Paulo, sed tu, synagoga, / In signis tantum gaudes vetustisque [veterisque] lituris. / Hos ego iudaeos reputo simul et moysistas, / Qui caput ecclesiae veterem credunt synagogam: / Principe [principi] absque pari taceat vetus illa figura” (Petrus Mallius, Descriptio basilicae Vaticanae, in Valentini and Zucchetti, Codice topografico, 3: 375-442, here 379-380). The first half of the translation is ours, while the second half (from “I glory in . . .”) is from Freiberg, Lateran in 1600, 205 n. 101. Valentini and Zucchetti, Codice topografico, 3: 380, also record a second poem, probably also by Mallius, that carries a similar sentiment: “Cum Petrus ecclesiae det pallia, non Lateranum, / Linguosi tacitam ponit in ore manum, / Et caput et princeps Laterani Petrus habetur, / Ut fidei pietas omnibus una detur. / Hic Vaticanum fuit antea quam Lateranum, / Cum Petrus esset ibi tractus ab ore canum, / Raptus et inde fuit, rediit tamen, ut locus idem / Per stabilem toto praesit in orbe fidem.” For an extensive manuscript history of these poems and of the Descriptio basilicae Vaticanae of Petrus Mallius, see Valentini and Zucchetti, Codice topografico, 3:375-381. On the similarities between the Descriptio basilicae Vaticanae and the Descriptio ecclesiae Lateranensis, see Cyril Vogel, “La Descriptio Ecclesiae Lateranensis du Diacre Jean: Histoire du texte
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
The tone of Mallius’s poem suggests that the on-going animosity between the canons of St. Peter’s and the Lateran for primacy in Rome must have been particularly acute during his lifetime.52 The poet’s polemical application of the appellation “Synagogue” to the Lateran reflects—and inverts— the intimate association between the Lateran basilica and Judaism. The claim to the prestige of the ancient Jewish past, which was so dear to the Lateran canons, is here explicitly framed within Christian supersessionist discourse to powerful rhetorical effect. Over a century later, another mosaic inscription in the Lateran apse again reminded viewers of the special relationship of the Lateran basilica to biblical Judaism, reinforcing these long-standing local associations. Created around 1291 under Pope Nicholas IV, this inscription catalogs the Jewish relics supposedly deposited underneath the high altar of the Lateran, including the Arc of the Covenant, the staffs of Moses and Aaron, the golden menorah, the golden censer, and the golden urn filled with manna and the showbread; the inscription further notes that, along with these sancta, the four bronze columns still present in the church were brought back from Jerusalem to Rome by Titus and Vespasian.53 While the other vessels lay concealed beneath the altar, the four columns were
manuscrit,” in Mélanges en l’honneur de Monseigneur Michel Andrieu (Strasbourg: Palais Universitaire, 1956), 457-460. 52 On the rivalry between the two basilicas in the medieval period, see Michele Maccarrone, “La cathedra Sancti Petri nel medioevo: da simbolo a reliquia,” Rivista di storia della chiesa in Italia 36 (1985): 349-447; reprinted in Pietro Zerbi, Raffaele Volpini, and Alessandro Galuzzi, eds., Ecclesia Romana: Cathedra sancti Petri, Italia Sacra 47, part 8, 2 vols. (Rome: Herder, 1991), 2:1249-1373. For the continuation of the rivalry into the CounterReformation period, see Freiberg, Lateran in 1600, 11-12. 53 The relevant section of the inscription in Claussen’s expanded transcription reads: “Sub isto nempe altari est Arca Federis in qua sunt due tabule testamenti, virga Moysi et et virga Aaron; est ibi candelabrum aureum et thuribulum aureum thymiamate plenum et urna aurea plena manna et de panibus propositionum. Hanc autem arcam cum candelabro et hiis que dicta sunt cum quatuor presentibus columpnis Titus et Vespasianus a Iudeis asportari fecerunt de H[i]erusolima ad Urbem, sicut usque hodie cernitur in triumphali fornice qui est iuxta ecclesiam sancte Marie Nove, ob victoriam et perpetuum monumentum eorum a Senatu Populoque Romano positum” (Claussen, Kirchen der Stadt Rom, 344). Freiberg, Lateran in 1600, 134-136, argues that, with the rise of the legend regarding the deposit of the Temple vessels in the Lateran, the bronze columns gradually became identified with those from Solomon’s Temple and thus displaced earlier traditions offering alternative explanations for their origins. See also the brief discussion in Kinney, “Spolia,” 35-36.
walking in the shadows of the past
visible to all, clergy and laity alike.54 The inscription crystallized longstanding Roman perceptions of the unique affinity of the Lateran basilica with the Jerusalem Temple in its role as a sacred repository.55 Benjamin of Tudela thus recorded a reflex of this local tradition, though expressed in a distinctively Jewish register that linked the columns to the commemoration of the destruction of the Temple on the Ninth of Av.56 In the process, a common Roman cultural memory came to be preserved well beyond the bounds of the city of Rome for Jewish posterity. The sights of Roman antiquity and other memories fill Benjamin’s narrative, especially those intimately connected with Jewish history. While he does mention generally that “. . . there are eighty palaces belonging to eighty kings who lived there, each called Imperator, commencing from King Tarquinius down to Nero and Tiberius, . . . ending with Pepin,” he particularly emphasizes the three emperors who had been most closely connected with the Jews in Rome and with the fate of the Temple and sacred vessels.57 Significantly, Benjamin begins his list of imperial palaces 54 As Kinney, “Spolia,” 35, explains, the bronze columns seem to have originally formed part of the supporting structure of the Constantian fastigium, a permanent structure that may have spanned the nave in the early Lateran Basilica. These columns were subsequently moved during the renovation program carried out under Gregory XIII (1572-1585) and were re-used to support the altar structure within the SS. Sacramento (Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament) in the south transept. 55 In this same period, two other apse inscriptions referring to the Jewish Law were commissioned, one for the Abbey church of Montecassino (late-eleventh century) and one for San Clemente in Rome (early twelfth century). But these inscriptions do not explicitly mention the Jerusalem Temple or its spolia, nor are they found in institutions that carried the exceptional standing of the Lateran. For discussion of these inscriptions in relation to ones in the Lateran, see Nilgen, “Texte et image,” 153-164; also Stefano Riccioni, Il mosaico absidale di San Clemente a Roma: exemplum della chiesa riformata (Spoleto: Fondazione CISAM, 2006), 65-75; Riccioni, “La décoration monumentale à Rome aux XIe et XIIe siècles: révisions chronologiques, stylistiques et thématiques,” Perspective: la revue de l’institute national d’histoire de l’art 2 (2010-2011): 319-360; Mary Stroll, “The TwelfthCentury Apse Mosaic in San Clemente in Rome and its Enigmatic Inscription,” Storia e Civiltá 4 (1988): 20-34. 56 It is worth noting that Benjamin reports that there were two—and not four—bronze columns, which would have been identified by his Jewish readers with the sentinel columns from the Temple of Solomon, Jachin and Boaz. Benjamin’s text thereby molds the tradition regarding the Lateran columns to its biblical referent. 57 The palaces of Julius Caesar, Titus, and Vespasian are all briefly mentioned in another twelfth-century travel narrative of Rome, the Mirabilia urbis Romae (ca. 1143), which included an extensive list of “palaces” of past Roman emperors and officials. According to
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
with that of Julius Caesar. Jews in the late Roman Republic and early Empire had respected Caesar, both during his rule and afterwards. In early 44 BCE, Caesar had demonstrated his appreciation for the Judean leaders’ loyalty to him by granting several decrees that benefited them, including one in particular that allowed the rebuilding of their Temple walls, destroyed nearly twenty years earlier by Pompey.58 Indeed, the Jews favored Caesar in large measure precisely because of his enmity toward Pompey. According to Suetonius, the deep respect of the Roman Jews for Caesar led to demonstrations of public grief at his funeral pyre in the Forum.59 While traditionally revering Julius Caesar, the Jews despised Vespasian and especially Titus.60 Both men had commanded the Roman legions during the Jewish War and Titus had overseen, passively or actively, the destruction of the Temple.61 In his narrative, Benjamin strikes a rather Gardiner, Marvels of Rome, xxv, Rome was filled with ruins of ancient buildings and “when the function of a structure was in doubt, it was often simply called a palace and associated with the name of one of the great emperors.” Benjamin was drawing on a common Roman cultural memory in mentioning the emperors’ palaces, but he focused on those sights most notable to his Jewish audience. 58 See Smallwood, Jews under Roman Rule, 127-128, 136, and the primary sources cited there. 59 Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars, 1.84.5. 60 On the historical development of Jewish attitudes toward Roman imperial power, especially the figure of Titus, see Ra‘anan S. Boustan, “Immolating Emperors: Spectacles of Imperial Suffering and the Making of a Jewish Minority Culture in Late Antiquity,” Biblical Interpretation 17 (2009): 207-238, at 227-231. 61 On the question of whether the Roman armies under Titus intended to destroy the Temple, see footnote 39 above. It is worth noting that the negative depiction of Titus in Jewish texts contrasts starkly with the view promoted by Christian writers, who for centuries had interpreted the Destruction of the Temple and the subsequent dispersal of Jews as God’s vengeance against them for their faithlessness and especially for their role in the death of Christ. This particular understanding of the Destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple enjoyed a very long history in Christian culture, beginning in the fourth century with Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea (esp. Historia Ecclesiastica, 3.7-8) and the Latin paraphrase of Josephus’s Jewish War by “Hegesippus” (ca. 370) preserved among the writings of Ambrose (Pseudo-Hegessipus, De excidio urbis Hierosolymitanae 2.12.1; Vincenzo Ussani, ed., Hegesippi qui dicitur historiae libri V, CSEL 66.2 (Vienna: Hoelder-Pichler-Tempsky a.-g., 1932), 163-164). A brief, but excellent discussion of this theme in Eusebius and Pseudo-Hegesippus is given by Heinz Schreckenberg and Kurt Schubert, Jewish Historiography and Iconography in Early and Medieval Christianity (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1992), 71-73. For a powerful echo of this Christian claim within late antique Jewish culture, see Israel J. Yuval, “The Myth of the Jewish Exile from the Land of Israel: A Demonstration of Irenic Scholarship,” Common Knowledge 12 (2006): 16-33. This polemical theme
walking in the shadows of the past
matter of fact tone when identifying the palace of Vespasian: “There is the palace of Emperor Vespasian, which is an exceedingly large and secure building.”62 By contrast, his report of the palace of Titus expresses a complex and textured view of that emperor: There is the palace of Titus63 standing outside the city because the consul and his 300 councilors did not receive him (in triumph) since he did not fulfill their order, taking three years to conquer Jerusalem rather than the two years they had decreed.64
While this brief report provides a faint echo of the long-standing animosity expressed by Jewish writers towards Titus, it is nevertheless significant that Benjamin neither merely repeats nor alludes to standard rabbinic narratives regarding Titus’s punishment for having despoiled the Jerusalem Temple.65 Rather, he gives expression to a distinctive tradition that seems to reflect the pride felt by the local Jewish community over the ferocity with which first-century Judeans had resisted Rome’s power. In its depiction by Benjamin, the twelfth-century Roman-Jewish community appears deeply conscious of its role as guardian of those traditions that it viewed as both ancient and local. But this particularly “local” knowledge is inseparable from the circulation of Jewish traditions in sources that reached far beyond this one community. Traditions regarding Rome and remained central to Christian historiography into the twelfth century, as for example in the writings of Nicolaus Maniacutius (ca. 1145), on which see Wolf, “ ‘Laetare filia Sion,’ ” 423. 62 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, *7. Compare the reports in Josephus, The Jewish War 7.158-162 and Dio Cassius 65.15.1 regarding Vespasian’s palace as a repository for some of the Temple vessels. Significantly, Benjamin does make explicit the connection between the Temple vessels and Vespasian’s palace. For discussion, see Millar, “Last Year in Jerusalem,” 101-128; Krautheimer, Rome, Profile of a City, 10. 63 The phrase “the palace of Titus” ( )היכל טיטוסis absent from Adler’s base-text, MS British Museum Add. 27089, but is supplied in MS Epstein as well as in Asher’s text (Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, *7 n. 24). Since without this specification the textual unit makes little sense, we follow the reading in MS Epstein. 64 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, *7. 65 This narrative is found in a wide variety of forms in rabbinic literature: Sifrei Deuteronomy §328; Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana 26; Leviticus Rabbah 20:5, 22:3; Deuteronomy Rabbah 21 (Lieberman); Avot de-Rabbi Natan A and B 7; Genesis Rabbah 10: 7; Ecclesiastes Rabbah 5:8; Tanhuma, Huqat 1; Tanhuma Buber, Huqat 1; Pirqei de-Rabbi Eliezer 48; Numbers Rabbah 18: 22; BT Gittin 56b. For a brilliant analysis of this much-discussed narrative, see Joshua Levinson, “Tragedies Naturally Performed: Fatal Charades, Parodia Sacra, and the Death of Titus,” in Jewish Culture and Society under the Christian Roman Empire, ed. Richard Kalmin and Seth Schwartz (Leuven: Peeters, 2003), 349-382.
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
its emperors would have certainly been reinforced by rabbinic literary traditions embedded in such corpora as the Babylonian Talmud. It is difficult to determine how local (perhaps oral) traditions interacted with written sources, but we can detect in Benjamin’s account both general themes common throughout the Jewish world and a distinctive local perspective. Indeed, we might say that the traditions in Benjamin are over-determined as, in the increasingly textualized Jewish culture of the twelfth century, local knowledge had assimilated those written traditions, thus reinforcing long-standing ideologies and interests.66 This dynamic interaction between local and general Jewish traditions is particularly visible in Benjamin’s discussion of the fate of the Temple vessels, which he reports had been placed in a “cave” in Rome by Titus: There is the cave in which Titus son of Vespasian hid the Temple vessels that he brought back from Jerusalem. And there is (another) cave in a hill, on the side along the banks of the Tiber River, where the righteous ones are buried, the ten martyrs (ve-sham qevurim ha-tsaddiqim ‘asarah harugei melukhah).67
This juxtaposition between the Temple vessels and the remains of the “ten martyrs,” both hidden in caves in Rome, is especially noteworthy. Neither motif is a strictly local tradition. Earlier we have seen how widespread was the tradition regarding the Temple vessels in Rome in late antique and early medieval Jewish sources. In the case of the ten martyrs, the text fails to specify the identity of these figures. Are they perhaps the famed rabbinic martyrs executed, according to tradition, during the Roman persecutions of the second century?68 Or are they instead the group of more local Italian martyrs, mentioned in Shabbetai Donnolo’s Sefer Ḥ akhmoni, and put to
On the textualization of Jewish culture in Northern Europe, but with important implications for Jewish culture generally, see Talya Fishman, “Rhineland Pietist Approaches to Prayer and the Textualization of Rabbinic Culture in Medieval Northern Europe,” The Jewish Studies Quarterly 11 (2004): 313-331. 67 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, *8 (MS British Museum Add. 27089). This phrase varies very slightly in MSS Casanatense 3097 and Epstein, which read עשרה הרוגי ( מלכותrather than )מלוכה. 68 Many late antique and early medieval sources explicitly refer to this group of ten martyrs as “R. Akiva and his colleagues,” though other specific forms of nomenclature were also available. See Ra‘anan S. Boustan, From Martyr to Mystic: Rabbinic Martyrology and the Making of Merkavah Mysticism, Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 112 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), esp. 51-97. 66
walking in the shadows of the past
death at the hands of the Fatimid army in Oria in Southern Italy in 925?69 Or finally, are they yet another group of ten, otherwise unknown, Jewish martyrs from the local community in Rome, as Marcus Adler insists?70 The text remains fundamentally ambiguous. But it is this very lack of clarity that demonstrates how traditional motifs could function both locally and trans-locally. The themes of the “Temple vessels” and of the “ten martyrs” seem to have circulated between these two levels, entering the lore of the Jewish community of Rome from the wider Jewish culture and returning again to general Jewish lore, in this case re-embedded within Benjamin’s text. Whatever their ultimate origins, these traditions remained active and meaningful within the immediate discursive context of twelfthcentury Rome. With the ruins of ancient Rome, unexcavated and interwoven into the fabric of the medieval city and confronting visitor and Roman resident alike, many erroneous, yet traditional, beliefs had sprung up over time to enter into local Roman cultural memory.71 The two caves mentioned in Benjamin’s account, one containing the Temple vessels and the other the Jewish martyrs, may be a reflex of local traditions regarding entrances to ancient spaces lying beneath the city, often formed by ancient subterranean ruins.72 The Lateran basilica, for instance, had been constructed atop the castrum equitium singularium, the former barracks of the imperial David Castelli, ed., Il Commento di Sabbatai Donnolo sul Libro della creazione (Florence: Successori Le Monnier, 1880), *3: “Ten wise and righteous rabbis, of blessed memory, were slain ()ונהרגו עשרה רבנים חכמים וצדיקים זכרם לברכה.” For discussion of this event within the context of Shabbetai Donnolo’s life, see Andrew Sharf, The Universe of Shabbetai Donnolo (New York, NY: Ktav, 1976), 7-13. 70 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, 7 n. 1. Adler, however, fails to appreciate the fact that the technical phraseology used by Benjamin ()עשרה הרוגי מלוכה, which is conventionally applied to the ten rabbinic martyrs of the second century, differs from the language used in Shabbetai Donnolo’s report (see previous note). 71 See Bloch, “The New Fascination with Ancient Rome,” 630-633; and Gardiner, The Marvels of Rome, xxv-xxviii. 72 Of course, the motif of the sacred cave is not unique to the Roman portion of Benjamin’s text, but is repeated later in context of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron (Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, 25-26 and *26-*27). Benjamin reports there that while Christians were visiting the tombs restored by Crusaders, Jewish guards showed Jewish pilgrims the “actual Tombs” of the Patriarchs that lay deeper within the same cave complex. For discussion, see Maribel Dietz, Wandering Monks, Virgins, and Pilgrims: Ascetic Travel in the Mediterranean World, A.D. 300-800 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Press, 2005), 218-219. 69
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
bodyguard.73 The motif of the sacred cave housing supernatural power or presence also appears in the ninth-century description in the Liber Pontificalis of a “serpent of a dire sort called basilisk in Greek,” which the people believed inhabited a cave near S. Lucia on the Esquiline Hill.74 Most significantly, Benjamin’s descriptions of the monuments that stood before the Lateran Palace bears striking resemblance to Christian inventories of this space and thus to the common interest among Jews and Christians in the built environment of Rome and its ancient statuary. Benjamin reports: Across from St. John in the Lateran are carved (statues) of Samson in marble holding a ball as well as Absalom son of David. Likewise, Emperor Constantine, who founded Constantinople and lent his name to the city, is caste in bronze and his horse caste in gold.75
Similar local identifications, disseminated through the Roman community and transmitted through pilgrims and visitors, are also to be found in Christian “guides” to the city of Rome, including those produced during the twelfth century. Most notably, Canon Benedict, the likely author of the popular Mirabilia Urbis Romae (ca. 1143), also mentions the antique sculptures standing before the Lateran basilica. According to the Mirabilia, At the Lateran there is a certain bronze horse called Constantine’s Horse, but it is not so. [. . .] The Colosseum was the Temple of the sun. [. . .] Besides this there were the supercelestial signs and the planets Sol and Luna, which were drawn along in their proper chariots. And in the middle dwelled Phoebus, who is the god of the Sun. With his feet on the earth he reached to heaven with his head and held in his hand an orb Krautheimer, Corpus, 5: 24-28.21 Liber Pontificalis 2:110. Davis, Lives of the Ninth-Century Popes, 118, nt. 28, suggests that this account of the basilisk and Pope Leo IV’s “exorcism” of it by means of a miraculous Lateran icon in ca. 847-855 was motivated by the sound of escaping methane gas from decaying organic material underneath current Roman buildings. In the Historia Imaginis Salvatoris, Nicolaus Maniacutius repeats the story (transcribed in Wolf, Salus Populi Romani, 323). An opening into the “Cave of Latona,” beneath the Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius on the Forum, led to a medieval belief that the cave housed a “dragon” that had been defeated by Pope Sylvester in the fourth century (Kessler and Zaccharias, Rome 1300, 103-105). 75 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, *8. 73 74
walking in the shadows of the past
that signified that Rome ruled over the whole world. After some time the Blessed Sylvester ordered that temple [the Colosseum] destroyed and likewise other palaces [. . .] But he had the head and hands of the aforesaid idol laid before his Palace of the Lateran in remembrance of the temple, and they are now falsely called by the vulgar Samson’s Ball.76
The identification of one of the imperial sculptures as Sampson, found in both Benedict and Benjamin, demonstrates the tenacity of such local Roman traditions. The author himself claims to have drawn his information from multiple sources, “. . . as we have read in old chronicles, have seen with our own eyes, and have heard the ancient men tell of.”77A local cleric who was writing about his own city would undoubtedly have plumbed the local sources. Both Benjamin, the Jewish visitor, and Benedict, the Roman cleric, related not only what they learned from the physical and textual evidence available to them, but also from that most important repository of local history, the inhabitants of Rome. It would thus seem that Benjamin’s rich and textured report on the built environment of Rome, even if informed to some degree by traditions drawn from wider Jewish literary culture, reveals a highly local landscape of Roman memory. That the landscape was populated with sites and meanings adopted by all inhabitants of the city as part of their own local history shows that the Roman Jews could make it very much their own. Jewish Participation in the Twelfth-Century Papal Adventus: The Intersection of Ritual with the Roman Landscape of Cultural Memory The Jews and Christians of twelfth-century Rome shared not only a Roman landscape crowded with cultural memories, but also navigated a concrete social space within which their economic, political and religious activities intersected. Like the other scholae that constituted Rome’s civic body, the Jewish community served as an essential participant in adventus ceremonies on those occasions when a pope entered Rome for the first time, Nichols, Marvels of Rome, 9 and 28-29. Regarding this passage, Krautheimer, Rome, Profile of a City, 193, writes: “Popular belief, from before the 1100s and into the thirteenth century, viewed the fragments as remains of a giant Samson.” 77 Nichols, Marvels of Rome, 46. See Kinney, “Fact and Fiction,” 252. 76
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
returned to the city from exile, or processed through the city on specific festivals such as Easter Monday and the anniversary of the pope’s consecration.78 While scarcity of direct evidence from the Jewish community of Rome makes it difficult to discern precisely what specific meaning the ceremonial held for the Jews, Roman chronicles and ordines provide valuable information. Thus, contemporary (or near-contemporary) records provide us an oblique glimpse of the highly symbolic choreography through which the Jewish community of Rome and the papacy negotiated the terms of their finely-tuned relationship, especially as the protocols of the papal adventus assumed their canonical form over the course of the twelfth century.79 The perception of Rome as a repository of the sacred past, of which both Jews and Christians were acutely conscious, was reinforced by a dense network of civic and economic ties. We argue in this section that, although the papal adventus enacted and made visible the boundary between Jew and Christian, the Jews of Rome did not cultivate a separate or oppositional approach to these rites, at least in the specific context of twelfthcentury Rome. The theological meaning of the adventus, as an assertion of Christian supersessionist ideology, did not nullify its other civic and economic dimensions. Rather, the Jews of Rome treated the adventus ceremony as an occasion for reaffirming their place—as a distinctive religious minority—within Roman civic life. According to custom, the popes encountered the seventeen Roman scholae at various stopping places along the processional route. Representatives of the Jewish schola played a vital part within this broader ceremonial structure, uttering carefully scripted verbal acclamations and actions that made visible the unique social, political, and doctrinal relationship between
78 Liber Censuum, 1:297-298 [32-36]; Champagne, “Celestine III and the Jews,” 271272; Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 186-189. 79 For an extensive study of the origins and development of the papal adventus, with an emphasis on its distinctive twelfth-century history, see Susan Twyman, Papal Ceremonial at Rome in the Twelfth Century, Subsidia (Henry Bradshaw Society) 4 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2002). On Jewish perceptions of this ritual, see especially Amnon Linder, “ ‘The Jews too were not absent . . . carrying Moses’s Law on their shoulders’: The Ritual Encounter of Pope and Jews from the Middle Ages to Modern Times,” The Jewish Quarterly Review 99 (2009): 323-395, though see our reservations to Linder’s approach presented below.
walking in the shadows of the past
the Jews and the pope.80 The adventus ceremony marking Calixtus II’s entrance into Rome in 1120 seems to have been the first of the century, and included the Jews’ acclamation in Hebrew as the papal procession moved by. A contemporary account records that the pope, “[n]ot only proceed[ed] past the applauding of the Greeks and Latins, but also the confused cheering of the Jews . . .”81 Significantly, however, such trilingual acclamations in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew had long been performed for secular rulers as one component of their reception by their subjects. In fact, less than a decade earlier, the Roman Jews had offered such praises in Hebrew at the entrance of Emperor Henry V into the city.82 This evidence suggests that acclamations in Hebrew by the Jews were meant as a demonstration of their loyalty to their Gentile ruler, who in the case of Calixtus II’s entrance in 1120 happened to be the pope.83 The very next papal adventus held in Rome, in 1145, replaced the laudes with a different ritual performed by the Roman Jews, one that would endure across the centuries, namely, the presentation of a Torah-scroll to the pope.84 Accounts of the entry-type papal adventus ceremonies celebrated in 1145, 1165, 1192 and 1198 indicate that the Jews presented the Torah to the pope, in some cases accompanied by the laudes and in some not. The record of Clement III’s entry-type adventus in 1188 notes that the Jews participated “according to custom,” but does not specifically indicate whether the Torah was presented.85 Throughout its long history, the 80 Linder, “Ritual Encounter of Pope and Jews,” 325; Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 201206; also Salo W. Baron, “ ‘Plenitude of Apostolic Power’ and Medieval ‘Jewish Serfdom,’ ” in Ancient and Medieval Jewish History, ed. Leon Aryeh Feldmann (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1972), 284-307. 81 “Nec defuere Graecorum et Latinorum concentibus confusi Iudaeorum plausus . . .” (Uodalscalcus de Egino et Herimanno, ed. Philipp Jaffé, MGH SS 12 (Hannover, 1856; Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 1963), 446, lines 34-37). See discussion of this passage in Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 93-94. 82 “Ante portam a Iudeis, in porta a Grecis cantando exsceptus est” (Annales Romani, 340; Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 155). 83 Noël Coulet, “De l’intégration à l’exclusion: La place des juifs dans les cérémonies d’entrée solennelle au Moyen Age,” Annales, economies, sociétés, civilisations 34 (1979): 672-683. 84 Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 203-204. 85 “Quem Romani tam maiores quam minores, clerici ac laici, Iudei etian, magno cum gaudio, cum canticis et laudibus ut mos est, eum benigne susceperunt” (Annales Romani, in Liber Pontificalis 2:329-350 ).
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
presentation of the Torah remained a prominent feature of the ritual encounter between the Jews and the pope. Drawing on an abundance of later sources, Amnon Linder has recently suggested that, in addition to the mutually recognized elements of the adventus, the Jews also cultivated a “covert” reading of the semiotics of this ritual.86 In Linder’s sweeping structural account, this ritual encounter between the Jews and the pope—from its very beginning in Rome and throughout its long history in various locales—gave expression to a coherent and singular ideology of Christian triumphalism against which its Jewish participants positioned themselves. Yet, evidence from earlier centuries outside of Rome, or from later centuries in Rome, should not be applied to the Jewish community in twelfth-century Rome, where the Roman Jews thrived in a distinctive and distinctively protected environment.87 As a review of the available sources shows, from 1145, when the ritual of the presentation of the Torah first became embedded within the Roman adventus ceremonial, and throughout the twelfth century, no evidence exists that the Jews perceived in their own actions any hidden or subversive meaning. In December 1145, Eugenius III entered the city for the first time as pope, and the Roman scholae came out to greet him.88 Boso recorded the Jewish role in Eugenius’ adventus thus:89 The banner-bearers led the way with banners, they followed the scribes and judges; also, that the Jews might not go astray, they carried on their arms the law of Moses, with so much joy; yes, the entire Roman clergy sang psalms as one, saying: “Blessed is
86 For Linder’s discussion of the twelfth-century evidence, often interpreted in light of later sources or evidence from outside Rome, see “Ritual Encounter of Pope and Jews,” esp. 331-335, 336-342, 356-360. 87 Linder, “Ritual Encounter of Pope and Jews,” 328-331, interprets the performance of the laudes as a key example of the “covert equivocality” that characterized Jewish participation in these papal ceremonies. But the evidence he offers for this reading relates to Ashkenazi communities in the 1180s and does not reflect the specific situation in Rome itself. 88 Regesta Pontificum Romanorum, ed. Philipp Jaffé, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Veit, 1888), 2:21 and 27. Eugenius had been forced into exile only three days after his election. He completed neither the coronation nor possessio rituals, including adventus, until he re-entered the city and took possession of it on 21 December 1145. 89 As a Curial official holding various positions, Boso served from 1149 until at least 1181. His vita of Alexander III (1159-1181) is especially valuable for the eyewitness material on this pope’s two adventus processions (Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 38).
walking in the shadows of the past
he who comes in the name of the Lord.” And so, with great joy and a shout of the people, the pope merited to ascend to the Lateran Palace.90
Two decades later, on 23 November 1165, the same ceremonial was re-enacted by the people for Alexander III, as he entered the city after a lengthy period in exile:91 And then, with olive branches they escorted him with honor all the way to the Lateran gate, with the joy and delight of all; and where the entire city clergy, solemnly putting on vestments according to custom, already longing for him for a long time, were waiting for the adventus of the same pope; then the Jews arrived, in accordance with custom, bringing down their law on their arms; then the banner-bearers rushed together with the banners, the grooms, the scribes, the judges, with the advocates and with a not small multitude of the same people.92
In the Liber Censuum ca. 1192, which included a compilation of Roman ordines, Cencius, Cardinal Boso’s successor and papal chamberlain to both Clement III and Celestine III,93 recorded the customary contribution that the Roman Jews offered to the pope, which they presented either at the consecration of the pope or on the Monday following Easter: The Jews present the Law to the Lord Pope on the road on the day of his coronation and acclaim him; and they carry three and a half pounds of pepper and two and a half pounds of cinnamon to the Chamber.94
90 “Precedebant signiferi cum bannis, sequebantur scriniarii et iudices; Iudei quoque non deerant tantae letitie, portantes in humeris suis legem Mosaycam; universus etiam Romanus clerus psallebant in unum, dicentes: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Sic itaque cum magno populorum gaudio et clamore idem pontifex Lateranense palatium conscendere meruit” (Liber pontificalis 2:387). 91 Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 99. 92 “Mane autem facto senatores cum nobilibus et magna cleri ac populi multitudo ex Urbe sibi honorifice occurrerunt, exhibentes sibi tanquam animarum suarum pastori obedientiam debitam et consuetam reverentiam. Et exinde cum ramis olivarum usque ad portam Lateranensem ipsum honorifice cum omni gaudio et letitia conduxerunt; ibique totus Urbis clerus, de more sollempniter indutus, eiusdem pontificis iamdiu desideratum prestolabatur adventum; ibi advenerant Iudei, ex more legem suam deferentes in brachiis; ibi concurrerant signiferi cum bandis, stratores, scriniarii, iudices, cum advocatis et non modica eiusdem populi multitudine” (Liber Pontificalis 2:413). 93 Liber censuum, 1:1-5, at 1: “. . .ego Centius quondam felicis recordationis Clementis pape III, nunc vero domini Celestini pape III camerarius. . . .” 94 “Judei vero representant domno pape in die coronationis sue legem in via et ei faciunt
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
Cencius’s report in particular highlights the mercantile function of the Jewish community of Rome within the ritual as suppliers of rare and expensive spices. Benjamin’s report that Rabbi Yeḥiel served as the steward of the papal household likewise underscores the centrality of practical considerations in the relationship between the papacy and the merchant elite of the Jewish community.95 The economic dimension of the Jewish role in the adventus ceremony and the religious meaning of formal Jewish acclamation of papal authority co-exist and are mutually reinforcing.96 Although texts that describe adventus from later centuries may indeed reflect the Jews’ “dual discursive competence” within the ritual,97 the sources from the twelfth century do not support Linder’s claim that a covert Jewish meaning had existed from the beginning. Sources from later centuries should not be extrapolated back in time to explain events taking place in the twelfth century. In fact, the Roman Jews had much to gain from participating in a civic/liturgical ritual that acknowledged their acceptance of the ruling authority and maintained their roles as legitimate members of the civic community. It must also be emphasized that, during the twelfth century, no fewer than six popes issued Sicut Judaeis in an attempt to protect the Jewish community.98 Evidence of a quid pro quo relationship between Sicut Judaeis and the Jews’ participation in adventus is not found in the sources, although certainly the popes of that century who conducted adventus rituals also decreed Sicut Judaeis during their pontificates.99 Rather than point forward to the increasingly vexed relations between Jews and the papacy in laudes; et III libras et dimidiam piperis et duas libras et dimidiam cinnamoni afferunt ad cameram” (Liber censuum, 1:306 ; Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 193). 95 Adler, Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, *6. 96 Although Linder notes in his discussion of this passage the significant fiscal and mercantile roles the Jewish community were expected to play (“Ritual Encounter of Pope and Jews,” 359), he downplays these functions in his overall interpretation. 97 Linder, “Ritual Encounter of Pope and Jews,” 356. 98 Solomon Grayzel, “The Papal Bull Sicut Judeis,” in Ben-Horin, Studies and Essays in Honor of Abraham A. Neuman, eds. Meir Ben-Horin, Bernard D. Weinryb, and Solomon Zeitlin (Leiden: Brill, 1962), 243-280; Kenneth R. Stow, “The Church and the Jews,” in The New Cambridge Medieval History 5, ed. David Abulafia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 216; Champagne, “Celestine III and the Jews,” 273-275. 99 Twyman, Papal Ceremonial at Rome, 204, asserts that, if the presentation of the Torah in later twelfth-century adventus was basically a “recognition of sovereignty, it seems highly probable that its introduction was also related to the promulgation of Sicut Judaeis.”
walking in the shadows of the past
subsequent centuries, the gradual crystallization of both Sicut Judaeis and the papal adventus ceremony in fact provide additional insights into the perspective that the Jewish population of Rome had on their city in the particular context of the twelfth century. Conclusion The distinctive nature of the Jewish community thriving within Rome, the capital of Christendom, set it apart from other communities of the Jewish diaspora during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Roman Jewish community enjoyed particular prominence as a center of Talmudic study and as the source of legal guidance and diplomatic assistance to the communities of Northern Europe. As a result of their long-standing settlement within the city, these same Jews had also established a close relationship with the papacy, enhanced by the patronage of the Pierleoni nobles. While steadfastly maintaining their distinctive religious traditions and rituals, these Jews also participated in papal ceremonial as a vital component of their Roman civic duty. The Christian landscape of twelfth-century Rome, layered with artifacts that served as reminders both of its past in imperial antiquity and its present as a Christian city, was likewise saturated with Jewish cultural memory. Christian tradition had long associated the Lateran basilica with Jewish history, an association that was intensified by competition with St. Peter’s for the coveted appellation of mater et caput. The claims of the Lateran to possess the sacred vessels from the Jerusalem Temple played an important role in this contest. Such public disputes reverberated beyond Rome’s Christians into the local Jewish community. Benjamin of Tudela’s report that the famous bronze columns from Solomon’s Temple survived in Rome was reinforced by prevalent belief among Rome’s Jews that the city had been a repository for various sacred relics following the destruction of the Temple. Benjamin’s report on the Jewish community of Rome tapped into widely disseminated Jewish traditions about the city. Yet, several of its distinctive elements, especially its highly specific references to ancient artifacts and their locations also discussed in Roman-Christian sources, suggest a more local Roman perspective and thus attest to the salience of these traditions among Roman Jews. The Jews and Christians of Rome were organized into distinct communities, the boundaries of which were not only reinforced on a daily
marie thérèse champagne and ra‘anan s. boustan
basis but were regularly performed on ceremonial occasions such as the papal adventus. Nevertheless, these communities remained bound together by a highly localized discourse about the past that suffused their shared urban landscape with a surfeit of memory and meaning. Acknowledgement We would like to express our sincerest thanks to Patrick Geary, who prompted us to initiate our long-distance collaboration on this project.
Viewing Rome from the Roman Empires Emily Albu*
Classics Program, 715 Sproul Hall, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue Davis, CA 95616, USA *E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract Twelfth-century German and Byzantine emperors vied with each other—and with the popes in Rome—for imperial status, each of the three seeing himself as the legitimate heir of ancient Roman imperium. From the court at Constantinople, historians Anna Komnene and John Kinnamos leveled a venomous critique against the west, surveying Rome through the lens of religious disputes, Crusade, and the hated Latin presence in the East. The Byzantine narratives have left a gritty view of their contemporary Rome, a violent and cruel city of illicit popes and anti-popes, anarchy, and barbarism. The Peutinger map, by contrast, seems but an innocent relic of the past, a map of the inhabited world as known to the pagan Romans. Typically considered an ancient Roman artifact and product of Roman culture, the surviving map actually dates from the very end of the long twelfth century. Produced in Swabia, it continued the anti-papal assault as a fresh salvo in a long-lived Battle of the Maps between Church and secular Imperium. This display map, like its lost prototype, advertised the supreme authority of Roman imperial power with claims much more venerable than those of the papacy. Its visual narrative implicitly contradicted the power of papal Rome by foregrounding ancient Rome as the centerpiece of an intricately connected oikoumene, a world that should be ruled by Rome’s German heirs. For Germans as for Byzantines, Rome still mattered. Even while assailing a resurgent imperial papacy, neither secular emperor nor their courts could ignore the power exercised by pagan Rome and papal Rome over twelfth-century imaginations. Keywords Byzantium, John Kinnamos, Anna Komnene, Peutinger map, Swabia, papacy
Rome, Byzantium and Swabia. In the twelfth century the bonds among these three locations ran deep, as German and Byzantine emperors looked to Rome for validation of their respective claims, each seeing himself as the legitimate heir of Roman imperium. The persistence and force of these claims speaks to the peculiar and enduring resonance of Old Rome.
Yet contacts with contemporary Rome, seat of the imperial papacy and a sometimes fractious populace, further provoked and indelibly colored invocations of Old Rome. Anna Komnene, the celebrated historian, offers a distinctly Byzantine understanding of Rome.1 A brief comparison with the history of her compatriot, John Kinnamos, allows us to highlight the attitudes common to Byzantine intellectuals, court, and populace.2 For a German perspective, the Peutinger map of the Roman world from Britain to Sri Lanka proves uniquely revealing, both as a piece of sophisticated propaganda and as a genuinely visual view.3 Anna Komnene needs little introduction. A Byzantine princess born in the purple (as she liked to remind her readers), eldest child of the emperor Alexios Komnenos (1081-1118), she attempted to succeed him at his death.4 She enlisted some family members in her effort, but her brother John took the imperial ring from his father’s finger as the old emperor lay dying, seized the throne, and locked his sister in a nunnery where she wrote the Alexiad, an epic history of her father’s reign.5 Her work preserves an impassioned judgment of Rome as observed from the court in midtwelfth-century Constantinople.6 In vivid contrast to Anna’s purple prose, the Peutinger map appears to offer a dispassionate representation of a world centered on Rome. It displays the inhabited lands known to the Romans, elongated to fill a space
Anne Comnene, Alexiade, ed. and trans. Bernard Leib, 4 vols. (Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1967); English translations here are from Edgar R.A. Sewter, The Alexiad of Anna Comnena (Baltimore, MD: Penguin, 1969). 2 Joannes Cinnamus, Epitome rerum ab Ioanne et Alexio Comnenis gestarum, ed. Augustus Meineke (Bonn: Weberi, 1836). Passages quoted here are from John Kinnamos, Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, trans. Charles M. Brand (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1976). 3 For images of the map see http://www.cambridge.org/9780521764803, produced in conjunction with Richard J.A. Talbert, Rome’s World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). 4 She notes her pedigree from the outset: “I, Anna, daughter of the Emperor Alexius and the Empress Irene, born and bred in the Purple. . . .” (Preface 1.2) 5 Anna was writing between 1143 and her death c. 1155. 6 On her life, work, and era, see Thalia Gouma-Peterson, ed., Anna Komnene and her Times, Garland Medieval Casebooks (New York, NY: Garland, 2000). The classic work is Georgina Buckler, Anna Comnena: A Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929; repr. 1968). 1
viewing rome from the roman empires
nearly 672 cm wide and 33 cm high.7 Textbook illustrations and scholarly commentary typically present it as an ancient Roman artifact. The surviving map, however, dates from the end of the long twelfth century.8 The medieval mapmaker was clearly working from an earlier version already missing its first leaf or leaves. He mistakenly capitalized place names that have actually lost their opening letters, written on the previous leaf. We cannot know, however, how closely this mapmaker replicated his model in other respects or when that earlier map was produced.9 In any case, the twelfth-century mapmaker clearly aimed to make his production look authentically Roman. Why would a Swabian scriptorium create such an archaizing map? We will soon return to that question. The View from East Rome Though we have come to call the eastern empire Byzantine, Anna and her contemporaries of course called it “Roman” as theirs was the remnant of the old Roman empire that had survived the German incursions of late antiquity. Protected by its fortuitous location along the Bosphorus and Marmora and by its formidable walls, Constantinople declared itself the New Rome, true heir to the power and prestige ceded by Old Rome when Constantine moved the imperial capital in the early fourth century. Anna insisted on the subordination of that Old Rome to Constantinople in every respect, civil and religious. She stated this position at a dramatic point early in her narrative (Alexiad I.13.4): The truth is that when power was transferred from Rome to our country and the Queen of Cities, not to mention the senate and the whole administration, the senior archbishopric was also transferred here. From the beginning the emperors have The Austrian National Library in Vienna now conserves this beautifully colored artifact (MS Lat. 324), not far from where it was created. 8 Medievalists identify the long twelfth century as c. 1050-1215. Recent studies have dated the map to between 1175 and 1225, most likely close to the year 1200. In my ongoing work on the map, I now believe we can narrow the range to a very few years following 1204. 9 I have presented the arguments that the original was more likely Carolingian than Roman: Emily Albu, “Imperial Geography and the Medieval Peutinger Map,” Imago Mundi 57 (2005), 136-148; Albu, “Rethinking the Peutinger Map,” in Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Fresh Perspectives, New Methods, eds. Richard Talbert and Richard W. Unger (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008), 111-119. 7
acknowledged the primacy of the Constantinopolitan bishop, and the Council of Chalcedon especially raised that bishop to the place of highest honour and subordinated to him all dioceses throughout the world.
This gives a partisan spin to the twenty-eighth canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451 CE), which assigned equal privileges to patriarch and pope. With papal reform and the ascendancy of the papacy in the eleventh century, Byzantines had been countering papal claims with increasingly anti-Roman vigor, as here in Anna’s account. It is not surprising, then, that Anna has inserted this statement into the midst of a vitriolic diatribe against Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), whom she never deigned to name, preferring to call him “the abominable pope” (Alexiad I.13.7).10 In this section of her history, she has taken a close look at the bitter conflict between Gregory and Henry IV of Germany.11 Anna had a fair enough understanding of the charges brought by each party against the other—against Henry, accusations of simony and the appointment of unworthy archbishops; and against Gregory, claims that he “had usurped the apostolic chair” without Henry’s permission. Since in her opinion both of them had appropriated authority uniquely Byzantine (in her vocabulary, of course, Roman), Anna took care to vilify both sides. Henry, she suggested, had overstepped the bounds of decency by “using the most insulting and reckless language,” threatening to expel the imposter pope by force if he did not quietly step down. (Alexiad I.13.2) But news of Gregory’s retaliation against Henry’s envoys, dispatched to the Roman synod in February 1076, shocked Anna and provoked this response: When the pope heard these words, he immediately expended his wrath on the envoys sent by Henry. To begin with, he outraged them savagely, then cut their hair and beards, the one with scissors, the other with a razor, and finally he did something else to them which was quite improper, going beyond the insolent behaviour one expects from barbarians, and then sent them away. I would have given a name to the outrage, 10 As Georgina Buckler noticed, the Alexiad does not name any pope. Buckler, Anna Comnena, 307. 11 The son of the German emperor Henry III was only six years old when his father died in 1056, leaving him the kingdom of Germany. His ambitions set him against Pope Gregory VII (whom he deposed in 1076, having convened a synod of German bishops for that purpose) and against German princes (who elected a rival king that same year). Henry presided over a second synod, which elected an antipope, Clement III. When Henry captured Rome in 1084, Clement crowned him emperor. Twenty years later his son, the future Henry V, led a rebellion that forced his abdication.
viewing rome from the roman empires
but as a woman and a princess modesty forbade me. What was done on his orders was not only unworthy of a high priest, but of any man at all who bears the name of Christian. Even the barbarian’s intention, let alone the act itself, filled me with disgust; if I had described it in detail, reed pen and paper would have been defiled. The very fact that we cannot endure to disclose or describe even a small fraction of what was done, will be sufficient evidence of this barbaric outrage and the character of men ready to commit any crime, any deed of daring. (Alexiad I.13.3)
Anna continued in this vein for several paragraphs, inveighing against “the supreme high priest . . . who presided over the whole inhabited world [oikoumene] (according to the claims and belief of the Latins—another example of their arrogance).” (Alexiad I.13.4) This is the point where Anna paused in her invective to insert the Roman papal claim and the counterclaim of New Rome as legitimate heir of Roman imperium, both secular and sacred. Then she resumed where she left off, suggesting that the pope’s outrage inflicted on the ambassadors was aimed at him who sent them, not only because they were punished, but because the particular form of chastisement was novel, the invention of the pope himself. By his actions he hinted that the state of the king was utterly despicable, as if some demi-god were holding converse with a demiass. Such, I think, was the purpose of these shameful acts. The pope, having used the envoys as I have described and having sent them back to the king, provoked a terrible war. (Alexiad I.13.5-6)
The war, of course, touched directly on Byzantium because Gregory allied with Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia and Calabria and the Norman enemy of Alexios Komnenos and his empire. So the pope, in Anna’s eyes— and in the opinion of many other observers, medieval and modern—sank further by his association with a ruthless villain. When the Normans entered Rome in May 1084 to rescue the beleaguered pope, they may or may not have willfully sacked and burned the city. Contemporary chroniclers had their own reasons for assuming or asserting the worst.12 Recounting that pact between pope and Norman duke, Anna registered her contempt for both parties but especially for Gregory: “the abominable pope (when I think of his inhuman act there is no other word I could possibly apply to him), the abominable pope with his spiritual grace and evangelic peace, this despot, marched to make war on his own kindred with might and main—the man of peace, too, and the disciple 12 Louis I. Hamilton, “Memory, Symbol, and Arson: Was Rome ‘Sacked’ in 1084?,” Speculum 78, no. 2 (April 2003): 378-399.
of the Man of Peace.” (Alexiad I.13.7) This is noteworthy sarcasm even for Anna Komnene. The act that allegedly led to the unholy alliance of Gregory and Robert, however, did not happen as Anna imagined. Her story of unspeakable mutilation is altogether untrue, virtually the opposite of the actual event. In fact, the messenger sent to Rome from Henry and the German bishops did barely escape with his life when he demanded, before the pope and a synod of 100 bishops, that Gregory abdicate the papal throne. It was the pope’s benevolent intercession, though, that saved him. Some scholars have defended Anna, arguing that she could not have investigated the accusations since Byzantium and the papacy were no longer in normal communication with one another.13 Yet Anna had her western sources, and in the half century between the event and her writing, she might have interrogated them about this episode. And though she sometimes did express uncertainty about unverified information, in this instance she presented outrageous charges as unquestioned truth. These allegations must have rung true to her because they perfectly suited her belief that the pope was a barbarian capable of the most barbaric treatment of envoys. While she has reserved special vitriol for Gregory, who has attracted numerous terms for “barbaric” and “savage” in this passage, the papacy often received her sneering contempt. For Anna, Gregory merely represented the worst of a miserable lot. I have repeated Anna’s account of eleventh-century events in detail because her venom and prejudice neatly represent prevailing views in twelfth-century Constantinople. Anna, like many of her contemporaries, viewed eleventh-century Rome through the prism of heated religious disputes, Crusade, and the hated Latin presence in Byzantium. Despite attempts at religious reconciliation and Latin-Byzantine alliances against Muslims in her own lifetime, Anna’s history shows the persistence of antiRoman feelings, enflamed by the eleventh-century resurgence of papal power and the papal reassertion of universal claims. No fan of the Germans, Anna released them from the harshest criticism in this narrative, mainly because the pope and the Normans seemed to her so much more villanous. A reading of John Kinnamos’ history illustrates the prevalence of Anna’s opinions of both Rome and the western claimants to Roman imperium, Christian and secular. He began his history precisely where Anna ended, See, for instance, Buckler, Anna Comnena, 308.
viewing rome from the roman empires
with the death of Alexios and the accession of Anna’s brother, John II Komnenos (1118-1143). Kinnamos intended to continue through the reign of John’s son, Manuel I (1143-1180), but the end is missing in the surviving thirteenth-century manuscript, which breaks off in 1176.14 A well-educated bureaucrat who went on campaign with Manuel Komnenus, Kinnamos shared Anna’s dedication to his Christian empire and emperor. As Charles Brand concluded, “his real religion was the empire and the emperor: the empire as God’s vehicle for unifying mankind, the emperor as the chosen leader for His people . . . conceptions which he shared with the population at large.”15 Like Anna Komnene and their compatriots, John Kinnamos insisted that the authority of Old Rome, as he habitually called that city, had passed long ago to New Rome, Constantinople.16 And like Anna, he pressed the point in a digression, in his case as Manuel clashed in 1163 with Stephen III, whom the German ruler, Conrad III (1138-1152), had proclaimed king of Hungary (Histories V.7). While rehearsing the reasons why Conrad was deluded in thinking himself the Roman emperor—and why Conrad was therefore deceived in considering himself a legitimately anointed king—John explained that “the title of empire disappeared in Rome a long time back,” when Odoacer and then the Goth Theodoric retired Romulus Augustulus in 476.17 John evoked the sixth-century historian Prokopios to demonstrate that Theodoric always called himself king, and never emperor. The later barbarian tyrants in the west likewise had no legitimate claim to the title imperator, the equal to his basileus. . . . [barbarian kings] usurp the highest peak of authority and confer the imperial dignity on themselves. This piece of drunken folly required explanation. Now they rashly declare that the empire in Byzantion is different from that in Rome. As I consider this, it has repeatedly caused me to weep. The rule of Rome has, like a piece of property, been sold to barbarians and really servile men. Therefore it has no right to a bishop now, much more, to a ruler. (Histories V.7)
The sixteenth- and seventeenth- century manuscripts all descend from this single exemplar. 15 Brand, Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, 2. 16 For palaia Roma (Old Rome) see, for instance, Histories II.12. 17 Histories V.7. Never formally crowned emperor, this first Hohenstaufen king of Germany did however assert imperial privileges, provocatively using the imperial title in his correspondence with the Byzantine emperor. 14
Here John Kinnamos turned immediately to address the man who dared “abuse the [title of ] bishop, while he [the western emperor] falsifies [that of ] emperor.” (Histories V.7) For John, as for Anna, both “pope” and western “emperor” have corrupted the imperial ideal that each falsely claimed for himself. Certainly their venomous quarreling validated the Byzantine case: on this point Kinnamos chastised the bishop ferociously for treating the Romans’ “emperors” as his servile squires, a ritual service that even Frederick Barbarossa performed. (Histories V.7) For Kinnamos, imperial and Christian dignity were inseparable, as exemplified first by Constantine and by emperors in Constantinople ever since. Like Anna Komnene, John Kinnamos could become outraged and even overwrought when considering the nexus of claimants emanating from Old Rome. For East Romans the issue was especially fraught. They had to evoke Old Rome as the source of their empire’s authority. In response, the western opposition could insist that Constantinople was not after all really Rome, the ancient seat of empire and, through Paul, of Christendom. John Kinnamos’ argument from historical evidence (i.e., Theodoric’s title and Procopius’s attestation) and sophisticated logic (i.e., western separation of inseparable authority) could not fairly compete with the simplicity of the western claim: the occupation of Rome itself. In the previous century, a resurgent papacy and German imperium had challenged Byzantine authority even as the first Crusaders began the incursions into ancestral Byzantine territories, menacing Constantinople. In John’s own day, the might of Frederick Barbarossa, the contemporary “king of the Germans” who “subdued Rome itself in battle” (Histories V.9) and took for himself the privileged “rank of emperor of the Romans,” reheated the argument and renewed the focus on Old Rome. Manuel sent his agents there to intercede in local affairs, bribing the people and working to persuade the bishop to resist Frederick’s claims and accept Constantinople as the seat of imperial and Christian authority (Histories VI.4). The ultimate failure of that enterprise and Barbarossa’s threatening gesture of engaging in the Third Crusade further fueled the animosities between East and West. While Rome was a powerful player in Kinnamos’ imagination, as in Anna’s, the center of political and military might in the west had in fact long since moved north among the Germans. German emperors perhaps as far back as Charlemagne challenged Roman papal authority in various ways, even on the battlefield, as when the forces of Henry IV and
viewing rome from the roman empires
Gregory VII clashed in 1080.18 More subtly, the two sides engaged in a long war of propaganda, including a campaign I have come to call the Battle of the Maps.19 Roman Church versus Western Roman Empire in the Battle of the Maps No world maps survive from the era of the old Roman empire. The extant textual evidence suggests that whatever world maps the empire produced, these were officially authorized and created to display the Roman imperium, the extent of imperial control. With weighty authority, however, Judeo-Christian scripture came to offer a powerful challenge to that imperial monopoly. The creation story in Genesis, universally disseminated through popular sermons and learned commentaries, taught that God gave the earth to mankind for the use of human beings.20 Christianity intensified the argument: if God entered the physical world through the incarnation, and dispatched his disciples throughout the world with the exhortation to spread the Gospel among all peoples, then surely every Christian had the right to see or even display the earth that those holy men traversed and converted to Christianity. Christian world maps proliferated. The widely copied Beatus maps, fifteen of which survive in tenth- to fifteenth-century manuscripts, for instance, proclaimed God’s plan still at work in the world.21 The distinctive Christian maps of the Middle Ages provide textbook illustrations familiar to many students. Commonly called T-O maps from their circular form inscribed with a T that separates the three continents of Cf. Alexiad 1.13.8-9 The following section introduces the argument more fully developed in Albu, “The Battle of the Maps in a Christian Empire,” forthcoming in City-Empire-Christendom: Changing Contexts of Power and Identity in Antiquity, ed. Claudia Rapp. 20 Gen. 1:26-30. 21 This number excludes the lost map of the Biblioteca del Monasterio at the Escorial but includes the newly found map in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The definitive study is by John Williams, ed., The Illustrated Beatus: A Corpus of the Illustrations of the Commentary on the Apocalypse, 5 vols. (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1994-2003). For more on Beatus maps and other world maps of the Middle Ages, see Evelyn Edson’s invaluable Mapping Time and Space: How Medieval Mapmakers Viewed their World (London: British Library, 1997). 18 19
Europe, Asia, and Africa, they often feature Jerusalem near the center. Their orientation is typically to the east, looking up toward the holy lands of Christendom, with the Garden of Eden at the very top, tantalizingly still part of the visible world.22 These maps present the earth as an ordered Christian universe (Fig. 1). The secular alternatives are less well known. Drawing on the geographical knowledge of Greco-Roman antiquity, those maps directly contested the Christian world view. Charlemagne kept a world map in his palace (along with silver maps of Constantinople and Rome), perhaps as a response to the one commissioned by Pope Zacharias (741-752) for the dining room at the Lateran Palace.23 That Lateran map played a significant role within a larger artistic scheme illustrating papal claims to universal power, as Marcia Kupfer has shown.24 Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious, clearly understood the symbolism of his father’s world map. Among the items designated in Charlemagne’s estate for sale to support the poor, this one alone Louis purchased to hold as his own. When Louis’s son Lothar inherited his grandfather’s world map, he found himself compelled to break it up and distribute the pieces to powerful nobles, in a desperate attempt to keep some semblance of universal power by offering to share it.25 All the players in this drama must have grasped how directly the map represented—in some authoritative way even was—the imperium. The Peutinger map is the sole survivor from this tradition of maps drawn to show the imagined reach of a Roman imperial authority. Its script reveals a writer schooled in greater Swabia, working between 1175 and 1225.26 It is easy to understand why that land, home to the Hohenstaufen line of German “Roman” emperors, would have reproduced this map as 22 On the long-lived efforts to locate the Garden of Eden in space and time, see the beautifully illustrated volume by Alessandro Scafi, Mapping Paradise: A History of Heaven on Earth (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2006). 23 Le Liber Pontificalis: Texte, introduction et commentaire, ed. Louis Duchesne, 3 vols. (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1957), 1:432. 24 On the Lateran map and papal claims to universal power, see Marcia Kupfer, “Medieval World Maps: Embedded Images, Interpretive Frames,” Word and Image 10 (1994), 262-288. I have repeated this explanation from Emily Albu, “Imperial Geography and the Medieval Peutinger Map,” Imago Mundi 57, part 2 (2005), 136-148. 25 Einhard, Vita Karoli Magni, ed. and trans. Evelyn Scherabon Firchow and Edwin H. Zeydel (Coral Gables, FL: University of Florida Press, 1972), chap. 33. Thegan, Vita Hludowici Imperatoris, chap. 8, ed. Rudolf Buchner, Quellen zur Karolingischen Reichsgeschichte, 3 vols. (Berlin: Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1955), 1:222. 26 Martin Steinmann, “Paleography,” in Talbert, Rome’s World, 76-85, at 83-84.
viewing rome from the roman empires
Figure 1. Beatus of Liébana. Commentary on the Apocalypse (eighth century). This tenthcentury version, from the Girona Beatus, takes rectilinear form to fill two sheets. Girona, Museo de la Catedral, Num. Inv. 7(11), ff. 54v-55 (Prol.Bk.II). (Photograph by Josep Ma Oliveras. Reproduced with permission from the Museo de la Catedral, Girona, Spain.).
the long twelfth century came to a close. The struggle against an increasingly imperial papacy would logically have provoked a German prince to commission such a display map as part of his program promoting the ancient rights of Roman emperors. Display maps were only one element in competing media campaigns also featuring “ceremony, liturgy, architecture, frescoes, mosaics, statuary, and papal thrones.”27 The artistic program of San Clemente in Rome, for instance, rebuilt during the reign of Pascal II (1099-1118) and probably dedicated during the papacy of Gelasius II (1118-1119), advertised the papal view. The apse mosaic features the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah in ancient Roman dress. Isaiah holds a scroll reading: vidi Dominum / sedentem super solium (I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne; Isaiah 6:1). The placement of the papal throne at the base of the apse reinforced this linkage of Ecclesia to papacy, symbolizing “the authority of the Church over the Empire.”28 Pope Innocent II (1130-1143) continued Calixtus’s program by staging imperial ceremonies and displaying imperial art. In the Lateran basilica Innocent decorated a room with scenes depicting his coronation of the Emperor Lothar.29 The frescoes and their accompanying inscription reinterpreted the ceremony, provocatively suggesting that it converted the emperor into the pope’s vassal. This portrayal so angered Frederick Barbarossa that he implicated it in a papal plot, as he wrote to the German bishops in 1158: In the chief city of the world God has, through the power of the empire, exalted the Church; in the chief city of the world the Church, not through the power of God, we believe, is now destroying the empire. It began with a picture, the picture became an inscription, the inscription seeks to become an authoritative utterance. We shall not endure it, we shall not submit to it; we shall lay down the crown before we consent to Mary Stroll, Symbols as Power: The Papacy following the Investiture Contest (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1991), xv. For more papal examples, see Ingo Herklotz, Gli eredi di Costantino: il papato, il Laterano e la propaganda visiva nel XII secolo (Rome: Viella, 2000). 28 Stefano Riccioni, “The Word in the Image: an Epiconographic Analysis of Mosaics of the Reform in Rome,” Institutum Romanum Norvegiae, Acta ad Archaeologiam et Artium Historiam Pertinentia 24 (N.S.) (in press), 93. I thank the author for sending me this article in press, which here summarizes the discussion in Stefano Riccioni, Il mosaico absidale di San Clemente a Roma. “Exemplum” della Chiesa riformata (Spoleto: Fondazione CISAM, 2006), 3-6, 23-34, 80-81. 29 Peter C. Claussen, Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter 1050-1300, S. Giovanni in Laterano (Corpus Cosmatorium II.2 ) (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2008). 27
viewing rome from the roman empires
have the imperial crown and ourself thus degraded. Let the pictures be destroyed, let the inscriptions be withdrawn, that they may not remain as eternal memorials of enmity between the empire and the papacy.30
Pope Adrian IV (1154-1159) attempted to mollify Barbarossa with a promise to expunge the offending picture and words, though some of the paintings survived into the sixteenth century, reminders of an era when popes displayed symbols of their imperial ambitions. To answer such decorative programs, Hohenstaufens in the generations following Frederick Barbarossa were most likely to have commissioned a map displaying the expansive Roman route network. Elected “King of the Romans” by the German princes in 1152, Barbarossa sought the imperial title held by Charlemagne and Otto the Great. To legitimize that title he demanded a coronation like theirs, performed at Rome by the pope. In 1155 Adrian IV reluctantly complied in exchange for Frederick’s help against Rome’s unruly residents. As Roman emperor, Barbarossa aggressively asserted his inheritance of universal rule from the Caesars not only through Charlemagne and Otto in the west, but also through Constantine and Justinian in the east. Having proclaimed himself the divinely appointed sole Augustus of the world, he took the Cross and joined the Third Crusade in 1189. As he traveled toward Byzantine lands, he exchanged insulting letters with the Byzantine emperor, each claiming the imperial title for himself.31 When he died en route, his heirs continued his dream of an expansive Roman empire. Frederick’s eldest son, Henry VI, won the kingdom of Sicily through his marriage to its heiress and was gathering a fleet to sail to Constantinople and reconquer Jerusalem when he died, aged only 32. Henry’s youngest brother, Philip, duke of Swabia in 1196 and king of Otto of Freising and Rahewin, Frederick’s biographers, include this letter in Ottonis et Rahewini Gesta Friderici I imperatoris, III, 10, eds. Georg Waitz and Bernard von Simson (MGH, Scriptores rerum germanicarum, 46 ) (Hannover-Leipzig, 1912), 177; The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa by Otto of Freising and his Continuator, Rahewin, trans. Charles C. Mierow (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1953), 193. 31 The Historia Peregrinorum, compiled around the year 1200, records the Byzantine emperor’s salutation from the “Emperor appointed by God, the most holy, the most excellent, the most powerful [and] sublime ruler of the Romans, heir to all the world and to the great Constantine,” addressed merely to the “great prince of Germany.” The Crusade of Frederick Barbarossa: The History of the Expedition of the Emperor Frederick and Related Texts, trans. Graham A. Loud (Crusade Texts in Translation, 19) (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 75. 30
Germany in 1198, married Irene Angelina, daughter of the Byzantine emperor Isaac II. This alliance implicated Philip deeply in the intrigues that led to the Fourth Crusade when Isaac’s brother imprisoned him and seized the imperial throne. Irene’s brother, Alexios Angelos, fled to the west, seeking military force to restore his father’s imperium. He made his way to the Swabian court, which also attracted Philip’s cousin, Boniface of Montferrat, whom Alexios persuaded to lead the Crusade that would topple Constantinople in 1204. As for Henry’s son, Frederick II, only three at his father’s death, he eventually traveled to the Holy Land himself, where he was crowned King of Jerusalem in 1229 before returning west to struggle against Popes Gregory IX (who excommunicated him) and Innocent IV (who plotted his destruction and declared him deposed as emperor). Philip’s last years and the formative years of Frederick II alike were confounded by the powerful papacy of Innocent III (1198-1216), who worked diligently from Rome to thwart Hohenstaufen ambitions. Innocent proved himself the maker of kings and emperors, extending his triumphs also against pagans in the Baltic, over Muslims in Spain, and—with a Latin Patriarch installed in Constantinople in 1204—against Orthodox Christians in the east. He was arguably master of Christendom, lord over the secular princes who had long contested papal dominance. He and his successors vilified and harried the emperor, fostering the hostile attitude that would lead to the public execution in 1268 of the last Hohenstaufen, Conradin, grandson of Frederick II. Internal evidence on the map suggests a date during Innocent’s reign, in the years immediately following the Fourth Crusade.32 An accumulation of Hohenstaufen ambitions and frustrations led to the production of the map we call Peutinger’s, displaying the inhabited world as a universe potentially traveled and controlled by the Roman emperor centered in Rome. This map both restores the territories of an expansive Roman imperium and asserts the secular primacy of imperial over papal Rome, affirming a stronger claim to lands and peoples. Rome and the Peutinger Map This explains the pagan Romanitas of a world map oriented to the north rather than to eastern Eden. Rome may have been at the center of the full Emily Albu, The Medieval Peutinger Map (forthcoming) presents that evidence.
viewing rome from the roman empires
map, before the first sheet or sheets were lost from the prototype. Jerusalem, the focal point of many Christian maps, here lies near the lower margin of the ninth segment (of eleven surviving), identified as “formerly called Jerusalem, now Aelia Capitolina,” its Roman name. The common two-tower symbol assigned to Aelia Capitolina also marks 428 other minor towns and villas, like nearby Jericho and Bosra. Just below old Jerusalem, the mapmaker has depicted the Mount of Olives. This is a rare JudeoChristian incursion into a largely pagan landscape, where rivers, lakes, islands, mountains, regions, and peoples keep their ancient names. Through this vast terrain run nearly 70 000 Roman miles of roads. All the roads are ancient, built when Rome was acquiring and controlling its empire. The creator of the Peutinger prototype has plotted their paths, copying from Roman itinerary lists the mileage neatly recorded in Roman numerals. This antiquated Roman route network, indifferent to medieval realities, dominates the twelfth-century map, a visual reminder of the Roman imperium that a medieval Roman emperor might yet recover33 (Fig. 2). Along these roads icons of varying design and complexity identify towns and spas, places to change horses and to find a meal or a bed for the night. Among these symbols, three stand out: the larger and more detailed forms identifying the cities of Roma (4B5), Constantinoplis (8B1) and Antiochia (9B4). Commentaries on the map typically describe each of these distinctive vignettes as the personified tyche, the ancient and traditional “fortune” representing each city. Most likely the tychai of these cities did serve as models for their images. Yet on the surviving map the imperial cities of Roma and Constantinopolis have come to look like medieval emperors.34 Their depiction suggests scribal deviation from an ancient archetype. This is true as well for Antiochia, a symbol that Richard Talbert considers “post-original,” whose insertion overcrowds the available space.35 For their part, the pictorial symbols of Rome and Constantinople make a powerful statement. From his throne at Constantinople, the emperor points to the orb in the outstretched hand of Constantine, the colossal statue atop the nearby pillar. The emperor at Rome also sits enthroned, gazing at the orb that he holds in his outstretched right hand. Like the 33 On the practical and symbolic importance of the Roman route network, see Emily Albu, The Medieval Peutinger Map (forthcoming). 34 Annalina and Mario Levi, Itineraria picta: Contributo allo studio della Tabula Peutinge riana (Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 1967), 156. 35 Talbert, Rome’s World, 124.
Figure 2. Imperial Roma on the Peutinger map, with its harbor at Ostia and with twelve principal roads radiating from the city. Reproduced by permission. ÖNB/Vienna, Picture Archive, Tabula Peutingeriana, Segm. 4 (detail). This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, that can be accessed via http://www.brill.nl/me. Roman roads, these prominently displayed orbs highlight imperial dominion over the earth. Does Rome’s direct possession of the orb subtly affirm the authenticity of Rome’s sovereignty, against the assertions of Constantinople, whose imperial figure merely points to the orb in the statue’s hand? With Constantinople’s gesture and Rome’s direct custody of the orb, the mapmaker may have been answering claims of the Byzantine Empire as well as the imperial papacy (Fig. 3). If only the mapmaker had shifted its center to Constantinople, Anna Komnene would have sympathized with its ideology and the invocation of Old Rome. Her narrative presents a bleak view of near contemporary Rome, whose bishops and princes neither possessed nor deserved the authority transferred to Constantinople centuries before. Yet despite its presumptuous papacy and illegitimate claims to power, Rome still mat-
viewing rome from the roman empires
Figure 3. Constantinople on the Peutinger map. Reproduced by permission. ÖNB/Vienna, Picture Archive, Tabula Peutingeriana, Segm.7 (detail). This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, that can be accessed via http://www.brill.nl/me. tered to both Roman empires. Byzantines and Germans alike might disdain the pope’s “arrogant” claim to preside “over the whole inhabited world” (Alexiad 1.13.4), but they could not ignore the power exercised by pagan Rome and papal Rome over twelfth-century imaginations.
An Assessment of the Political Symbolism of the City of Rome in the Writings of John of Salisbury Irene A. O’Daly*
Institute for Cultural Disciplines, Universiteit Leiden, Witte Singel-complex, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, 2311 BV Leiden, The Netherlands *E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract This article focuses on John of Salisbury’s analysis of contemporary Rome (its citizenry, its revived “republican” institutions, its ecclesiastical role, and its ancient symbolism), examining the extent to which John’s study and use of classical Roman political ideas was interwoven with his perceptions of the contemporary city. It argues that John’s use of Rome as a metaphor, specifically the trope of the avaricious Roman, had a significant impact on John’s critique and presentation of contemporary political events such as the re-establishment of the Senate, the difficulties experienced by the papacy in their efforts to control Rome, and the controversial activities of Arnold of Brescia. Keywords Rome, John of Salisbury, Roman Commune, papacy, Arnold of Brescia, avarice
In the second book of his masterwork, the Policraticus, John of Salisbury (ca. 1120-1180) vilified the Romans: If one considers the whole history of the Romans from the foundation of the city he will find them victims of vainglory and greed beyond all people of the earth, and they have harried the entire world by sedition and afflictions of many kinds. They themselves have so frequently felt the burden of their own tyranny and civil strife that scarcely one of their rulers has died a natural death.1 1 John of Salisbury, Frivolities of Courtiers and Footprints of Philosophers: Being a translation of the first, second, and third books and selections from the seventh and eight books of the Policraticus of John of Salisbury, translated by Joseph B. Pike (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 1938), hereafter Pol. (Pike), II.15, 80. A complete English translation of the Policraticus can be pieced together from this volume and The Statesman’s Book of John of Salisbury: Being the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Books, and Selections from the
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 513 
When taken as a whole, however, the works of John of Salisbury present an inconsistent attitude toward Rome, the Roman citizenry, and Roman philosophy, ranging from positive to negative. A revival of the study of classical sources is a generally accepted feature of the “twelfth-century renaissance.”2 Interest in Romanitas is a correlating aspect of this intellectual shift, comprising the imitation of Roman material art, the revival of Roman rhetorical practices, the revivification of Roman law, and a renewed interest in Roman philosophical and historical sources.3 John follows this Seventh and Eight Books of the Policraticus translated by John Dickinson (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927), referred to as Pol. (Dickinson) for the remainder of this article. The Latin edition used throughout is that edited by Clement C.J. Webb, Ioannis Sareberiensis episcopi Carnotensis Policratici sive De nugis curialiam et vestigiis philosophorum libri VIII, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909), referenced here as Webb I and Webb II. Quotations are given throughout in English, but the Latin is quoted in contentious, or particularly interesting, cases. 2 For introductory material on the twelfth-century renaissance see Charles H. Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971); William A. Nitze, “The so-called Twelfth-Century Renaissance,” Speculum, 23 (1948): 464-471; Christopher N.L. Brooke, The Twelfth Century Renaissance, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1969); Richard W. Southern, Medieval Humanism and Other Studies (Oxford: Blackwell, 1970); Colin Morris, The Discovery of the Individual 1000-1250 (London: S.P.C.K., 1972); Caroline Walker Bynum, “Did the twelfth century discover the individual?,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 2 (1980): 1-17; Rodney M. Thomson, “England and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance,” Past and Present, 101 (1983): 3-21. 3 A detailed study of the revival of Roman traditions in the figurative arts can be found in Herbert Bloch, “The New Fascination with Ancient Rome,” in Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century, eds. Robert L. Benson and Giles Constable (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 615-636, and in Ernst Kitzinger, “The Arts as Aspects of a Renaissance: Rome and Italy,” in Renaissance and Renewal, 637-670. For a bibliographic commentary on this topic see Stefano Riccioni, “La décoration monumentale à Rome aux XIe et XIIe siècles: revisions chronologiques, stylistiques et thématiques,” Perspective, 2 (2010-2011): 319-360. See also James B. Ross, “A study of Twelfth-Century Interest in the Antiquities of Rome,” in Medieval and Historiographical Essays in Honor of James Westfall Thompson, eds. James Lea Gate and Eugene N. Anderson (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1938), 302-321. For evidence of the revival of interest in Roman history see Lars Boje Mortensen, “The texts and contexts of ancient Roman history in twelfth-century western scholarship,” in The Perception of the Past in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Paul Magdalino (London: Hambledon Press,1992), 99-116. See also Birger Munk Olsen, “La popularité des textes classiques entre le XIe et XIIe siècles,” Revue d’Histoire des Textes 9 (1979): 47-121, continued in RHT, 14-15 (1984-1985): 169-81. For the revival of studies of Roman law see Dafydd Walters, “From Benedict to Gratian: The Code in Medieval Ecclesiastical Authors,” in The Theodosian Code: Studies in the Imperial Law of Late Antiquity, eds. Jill Harries and Ian Wood (London: Duckworth, 1993), 200-216; Wolfgang P. Müller, “The recovery of
irene a. o’daly
trend and utilizes Roman sources widely, notably the works of Cicero and Seneca, as well as the literary writings of Horace, Juvenal and Ovid, among others. I shall examine whether his respect for the intellectual products of ancient Rome had any effect on his attitude toward, and portrayal of, contemporary Rome and the Romans. Particular attention shall be paid to John’s descriptions of the foundation of the Roman commune, and the subsequent activities of the reestablished Roman Senate. The Revival of the Senate Benson described the establishment of the Commune in Rome as “the twelfth century’s only example of political classicism at the centre of a historical movement.”4 The rebellion of the Roman citizens against Pope Innocent II (1130-1143) occurred in 1143, provoked by the Pope’s leniency towards Tivoli in 1142.5 A Commune was established which revived the offices of the Roman empire, opposing the pope’s role in Rome to a system theoretically founded on ancient theories of populist legitimacy, but in reality designed to reinforce the power of the dominant noble families.6 John of Salisbury described the takeover of the city by the populace in his Historia Pontificalis:
Justinian’s Digest in the Middle Ages,” Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law 20 (1990): 1-29; Stephan Kuttner, “The Revival of Jurisprudence” in Renaissance and Renewal, 299-323. For interest in Roman rhetoric see, for example, Karen M. Fredborg, “Twelfth-century Ciceronian rhetoric: its doctrinal development and influences,” in Rhetoric Revalued: Papers from the International Society for the History of Rhetoric, ed. Brian Vickers (Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval & Early Renaissance Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 19: 1982), 87-97, and essays in The Rhetoric of Cicero in its Medieval and Early Modern Commentary Tradition, eds. Virginia Cox and John O. Ward (Leiden: Brill 2006). 4 Robert L. Benson, “Political Renovatio: Two Models from Roman Antiquity,” in Renaissance and Renewal, 339-386, at 341. 5 See the account of unrest in Tivoli as told by Otto of Freising, The Two Cities: A Chronicle of Universal History to the year 1146 A.D., ed. and trans. Austin P. Evans, Charles C. Mierow (New York, NY: University of Columbia Press, 2002), VII.27, 436-437, Chronica: sive Historia de duabus civitatibus, eds. Adolf Hofmeister and Walther Lammers (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1961), 546-548. 6 For the rise of the Pierleoni family see: Demetrius B. Zema, “The houses of Tuscany and Pierleone in the crisis of Rome in the Eleventh Century,” Traditio 2 (1944): 155-175. See also the article by Marie Thérèse Champagne and Ra’anan S. Boustan in this issue for a more comprehensive bibliography on this topic.
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 515  For that greatest and most ancient of offices, the prefecture, authorized by the Church to give justice within a radius of a hundred miles, and enjoying executive power, had been reduced to an empty name. Instead the senators, created by the populace on its own authority, usurped all powers of jurisdiction and administration throughout the city. Appropriating the regalian rights of the Holy See for their republic, they used them to support the public burdens. As patricius they chose Jordan, a prominent member of the Leonis family; and undermined the pope’s position by destroying the palatine fortress of Cencius Frangipani, whose family had always come to the assistance of the Church. They would undertake to restore the regalia only on condition that the Church should pay the senators’ salaries and, if it wished to receive any emoluments, should bear the burden of the city.7
Prior to the rebellion by the Romans, the prefect, who was under oath to the pope, carried out what John considered “executive power,” “utens gladii potestate:” the functions of legal judgment and control of the peace.8 The patrician was not a new office, but its rights and privileges were previously ambiguous. Appropriating the regalian rights of the papacy could be seen as an attempt to bring the office of the patrician closer to its powerful Roman model while, as implied in John’s account, using the income of the regalia “to support the public burdens” served to give popular legitimacy to the revival of the Senate.9 Peter Partner notes that the Senate established 7 John of Salisbury’s Memoirs of the Papal Court, ed. and translated by Marjorie Chibnall (London: Nelson, 1956), XXVII, 59. This item shall be referred to as Historia Pontificalis henceforth. 8 Historia Pontificalis, XXVII, 58. 9 Historia Pontificalis, XXVII, 59: “Senatores enim, quos populus propria creabat auctoritate, omnem in tota ciuitate reddendi iuris et exequendi occupauerant potestatem. Regalia beati Petri sue republice uendicabant, ut inde sustinerentur honera ciuitatis.” See Benson, “Political Renovatio,” 344, and Louis Halphen, Etudes sur l’administration de Rome au moyen-âge: 751-1252 (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1907), 53-76. Susan Twyman notes that in the Annales Romani it was reported that for the election of Clement II in 1046 the Romans had nominated Henry III as the patricius Romanorum, but, as Twyman notes, this text could have been composed in the late eleventh century, so its account is compromised by the polemical demands of the Investiture Contest: Susan Twyman, Papal Ceremonial at Rome in the Twelfth Century (London: Henry Bradshaw Society, Subsidia, 4, 2002), 156-157. Compare the account found in Otto of Freising, The Two Cities, VIII.31, 440441: “The Roman people, unwilling to set any bounds to their folly, added to the Senators whom they had previously appointed a Patrician, and, having elected to this office Jordan the son of Pierleoni, subjected themselves to him as to a prince. Then they approached the pontiff and demanded that he surrender all his insignia, both those kept within the City and those without, to the jurisdiction of their patrician. . . . But the Roman people, with its Patrician Jordan, giving full rein to madness abolished the office of prefect, forced all the great and noble citizens to subject themselves to the patrician and, having destroyed not
irene a. o’daly
in 1143 may actually have been appointed by the papacy to conduct war against Tivoli, not to undertake the establishment of a new government, perhaps belying its historical significance somewhat.10 Nonetheless, the Roman commune quickly established control over the regalian rights, although they would date their official foundation in subsequent documents to 1144.11 Benson describes “renovatio imperii Romani” as, “the acceptance of Roman imperial antiquity as a political and constitutional model,” arguing that the Romans aimed to revive the post-conversion empire of Constantine and Justinian, not the empire of Augustus.12 The revival was not anti-ecclesiastic per se, but harked back to an earlier participatory tradition in Roman politics, a tradition echoed in the ruins and customs of the city.13 While Eugenius III (1145-1153) managed to reach a brief resolution with the Senate in 1145, dissolving the office of the patrician and allowing the restoration of the prefecture, the Senate remained a significant element of papal-Roman relations up to 1188, when Clement III (1187-1191) concluded a treaty with the Senate.14 Key events during this period include the papal conflict with Arnold of Brescia (ca.1090-1155) who was supported by the Senate from 1146-1155, the Senate’s independent negotiations with Frederick Barbarossa (1122-1190) with the intention of only the fortified towers of certain illustrious laymen but also the homes of cardinals and of the clergy, carried off an enormous amount of booty.” Chronica, 552. The chances of John and Otto ever meeting are very slim; Otto concluded his Parisian studies in 1133, before John ever arrived there: see introduction to Historia Pontificalis, xxxiii. 10 Peter Partner, The Lands of St. Peter: The Papal State in the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1972), 180. This opinion is shared by Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur, “Il comune Romano,” in Storia di Roma dall’antichità a oggi. Roma medievale, ed. André Vauchez (Bari: Laterza, 2001), 117-157, at 118-121. 11 Antonio Rota, “La costituzione originaria del Comune di Roma: L’epoca del Comune libero (luglio 1143-dicembre 1145),” Bulletino dell’istituto storico italiano per il medio evo, 64 (1953): 19-131, at 41-63; Romedio Schmitz-Esser, “In Urbe, quae caput mundi est: Die Entsthehung der Römisches Kommune (1143-1155): Über den Einfluss Arnolds von Brescia auf die Politik des römisches Senats,” Innsbrucker Historische Studien 23/24 (2004): 1-42, at 4-8; Ingrid Baumgärtner, “Rombeherrschung und Romerneuerung: Die römisches Kommune im 12. Jahrhundert,” Quellen und Forschungen aus Italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken, 69 (1989): 27-79, at 42-3. See esp. 73 for evidence of the dating of the foundation of the Senate to 1144. 12 Benson, “Political Renovatio,” 359; Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 152. 13 See the article by Stefano Riccioni in this volume. 14 Ian S. Robinson, The Papacy 1073-1198: Continuity and Innovation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 16.
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 517 
further encroachment on Church property from 1156-1159, the ultimate submission of the Senate to Barbarossa in 1167, and the progressive reconciliation of the Senate with the papacy during the reign of Alexander III (1159-1181) from 1168-1179.15 The Historia Pontificalis: John as Historian and Witness Leaving England, I have crossed the Alps [no less than] ten times, journeyed to Apulia twice, and repeatedly handled negotiations with the Roman Church for my superiors and friends.16
Notable among these trips are his journey to Rheims in the spring of 1148 to attend the papal council there, and a period at the papal court of Adrian IV (1154-1159) in 1155-1156 when he obtained the grant of Ireland as a hereditary fee for Henry II (1133-1189).17 We can also place John in Rome in 1152 on the strength of his retrospective description of the arrival of Frederick Barbarossa’s embassy to announce his election as King of the Germans at Segni: 15 Robinson, The Papacy, 13-14. See also Sandro Carocci, ed., La nobilità Romana nel medioevo (Rome: Ecole Française de Rome, 2006), notably Sandro Carocci’s article on “Nobilità Romana et nobilità Italiana nel medioevo centrale: parallelismi et contrasti,” 15-42. 16 John of Salisbury, The Metalogicon of John of Salisbury: A twelfth-century defence of the verbal and logical arts of the Trivium, ed. and translated by Daniel D. McGarry (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1962), III. Prologue, 142. This text shall be referred to henceforth as Met. 17 See Met. IV.42, 74-75 for John’s description of his role in the transfer of the Ireland to Henry II. This event was connected to a “disgrace” suffered by John - for the chronology of this disgrace see Giles Constable, “The alleged disgrace of John of Salisbury in 1159,” English Historical Review, 69 (1954): 67-76. For a further discussion see The Letters of John of Salisbury, vol. 1, The Early Letters (1153-1161) [Letters I ], eds. William J. Millor and Harold E. Butler, revised by Christopher N.L. Brooke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), Appendix II, 257-258. Recent accounts of this phase of John’s career can be found in Christopher N.L. Brooke, “Adrian IV and John of Salisbury” in Adrian IV: the English Pope (1154-59): Studies and Texts, eds. Brenda Bolton and Anne Duggan (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 3-13; Anne Duggan, “Totius christianitatis caput. The Pope and the Princes,” in Adrian IV, 105-155. John’s own descriptions of the ‘disgrace’ are found in Letters 19 (Autumn, 1156) to Peter of Celle, 27 and 28 to Thomas Becket (c. December-January 1156-1157) and his secretary Ernulf; Letter 31 to Peter of Celle, 1-8 April 1157 and Letter 30 to Adrian IV.
irene a. o’daly
For I was at Rome under the rule of the blessed Eugenius, when at the outset of Frederick’s reign his first embassy arrived and by their rash utterances and insufferable pride revealed the shamelessness of his vast and audacious scheme.18
However, it is evident that John was not an eyewitness to all that he describes in the Historia Pontificalis. Chibnall estimated that the work, a continuation of the Chronica of Sigebert of Gembloux (ca. 1030-1112), was largely written, or at least substantially redrafted, around 1164, during the period of John’s exile in France (he was in exile on account of the conflict between Thomas Becket and Henry II from late 1163 or early 1164 to 1170), seemingly under the encouragement of his erudite host and friend, Peter, Abbot of Celle (1115-1183).19 It is clear, also, that it is a partial study, as the work only covers events from the Council of Rheims in 1148 up to around 1152 and ends abruptly.20 Some of the inconsistencies in John’s work, therefore, could be attributed to its retrospective composition. Coleman argues that some may be the result of John’s “historical” approach. Coleman suggested that the influence of Greek and Roman rhetorical rules, concerned with “verisimilitude rather than with necessary truth” meant that the historian’s job Letter 124, to Ralph of Sarre, composed June/July 1160, Letters I, 207. John does not distinguish between Sigebert’s own Chronicle which terminated in 1112, and that continued by his monastery up to 1148. Chibnall uses this evidence to suggest that John may not have been familiar with the Chronicle: Marjorie Chibnall, “John of Salisbury as historian” in The World of John of Salisbury, ed. Michael Wilks (Studies in Church History, Subsidia 3) (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984), 169-177, at 170. John takes up the story: “From that time , however, there is not a single chronicle that I can discover; though I have found in church archives notes of memorable events which could be of help to any future writers who may appear,” (Historia Pontificalis, Prologue, 2). Concerning Peter of Celle, John says: “And so, my dearest friend and master, I gladly obey your command; and will undertake, by the grace of God, as you bid, to give a short account of events touching papal history, omitting all else,” Historia Pontificalis, Prologue, 3. See also Historia Pontificalis I, 4: “And now my Peter—named like the apostle from the strength of your faith as a presage of future virtue—in order to make my chronicle a continuation of Sigebert’s I will begin mine at the Council of Rheims where he ended his.” 20 For John’s ‘historical’ approach in this text see Christopher N.L. Brooke, “Aspects of John of Salisbury’s Historia Pontificalis,” in Intellectual Life in the Middle Ages: Essays presented to Margaret Gibson, eds. Lesley Smith and Benedicta Ward (London: Hambledon Press, 1992), 185-195; Chibnall, “John of Salisbury as historian,”169-177; Janet Coleman, Ancient and Medieval Memories: Studies in the Reconstruction of the Past (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 285-294, 305-316. Coleman estimates that about 40 per cent of the text reflects John’s own experiences from 1148-1152, at 305. 18 19
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 519 
became “positing a probable truth of the past,” rather than necessarily telling the full story.21 John presents his own theory of history at the opening of the Historia: “all these chroniclers had a single purpose: to relate noteworthy matters, so that the invisible things of God may be clearly seen by the things that are done, and men may by examples of reward or punishment be made more zealous in the fear of God and pursuit of justice.”22 John valorizes the study of history: [W]hoever knows nothing of the past hastens blindly into the future. . . . The records of the chronicles are valuable for establishing or abolishing customs, for strengthening or destroying privileges; and nothing, after the knowledge of the grace and law of God, teaches the living more surely and soundly than knowledge of the deeds of the departed.23
As for John’s own method, he concludes the prologue by noting: “In what I am going to relate I shall, by the help of God, write nothing but what I myself have seen and heard and know to be true, or have on good authority from the testimony or writings of reliable men.”24 One way of evaluating John’s approach is to compare fact with fiction. For example, John describes the Frangipani family as always loyal to the Church, conveniently omitting their earlier opposition to Gelasius II (1118-1119); presumably this narrative is aimed at damning the activities of the Pierleoni by presenting their noble rivals as obedient to the will of the papacy. Note also the change in tone between John’s description of the insurrection in Rome in the Historia and that found in the Policraticus, a text completed by 1159, where John describes: “How many and what frightful shocks and tumults were caused by the clash when the son of Peter Leon [that is Jordan who was elected Patricius] strove to rise up from the north against Innocent of blessed memory.”25 This comment is found near the conclusion of the Policraticus. John adds “since that great overthrow occurred within our own time or memory, it is incredible that any should be so wretchedly ambitious as not to fear to split the Church.” He notes, “If their end is that they may gratify their own will by lording it over others, which is the act of a tyrant, nothing less shall happen to them; for Coleman, Ancient and Medieval Memories, 312, 315. Historia Pontificalis, Prologue, 3. 23 Historia Pontificalis, Prologue, 3. 24 Historia Pontificalis, Prologue, 4. 25 Pol. (Dickinson), VIII.23, 405. 21 22
irene a. o’daly
verily there is no safety or peace for the tyrant.”26 Therefore, in the Policraticus, the revival of the Senate is specifically associated with tyrannical upheaval and the perversion of the correct political order. Is it possible that John presented a more moderate description of the insurrection in the Historia Pontificalis due to some regard for historical neutrality? Or could it simply be the result of a softening of opinion over time? The relationship between political ideology and historicism in John’s work requires some further assessment, and will be elucidated more clearly when we examine John’s treatments of other events. The Senate and John of Salisbury In the Policraticus, John describes the polity as a human body, a metaphor common in the twelfth century, but one that John employs to particularly great effect, notably in the extent of the elements of the polity he incorporates. John’s model is introduced in Book 5 of the Policraticus and claims to be based on the Institutio Traiani by Plutarch, which John claims to follow more in terms of “the general trend of the ideas than the actual sequence of the words.”27 Scholars now broadly accept Liebeschütz’s argument that the Institutio Trajani, was a fictional text, used by John to increase the authority of his argument.28 Schematically, the model is based on the human body. The prince is the head of the commonwealth. The Pol. (Dickinson), VIII.23, 407. For this text by ‘Pseudo-Plutarch’ see Die Institutio Traiani: ein pseudo-plutarchischer Text im Mittelalter, eds. Hans Kloft and Max Kerner (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1992). Kerner considers that the text was once extant and this edition is an attempt to construct the text from the evidence found in the Policraticus. See also, Max Kerner, “Randbemerkungen zur Institutio Traiani,” in World of John of Salisbury, 203-206. 28 Hans Liebeschütz, “John of Salisbury and Pseudo-Plutarch,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 6 (1943): 33-39, was the first to point out that the source is only mentioned in the Policraticus. Janet Martin reinforced this argument, pointing out that John’s unwillingness to quote directly from the supposed text is telling. She suggests that the mention of Plutarch in Aulus Gellius’s Noctes Atticae caught John’s attention; from there it was a small step to turn Plutarch into a political philosopher and associate him with Trajan. See Janet Martin, “John of Salisbury as Classical Scholar” in World of John of Salisbury, 179-201, at 195-196. However, there has been some dissension. Kerner believes that the text came from a genuine “Pseudo-Plutarchian” text. See also Tilman Struve, “The Importance of the Organism in the Political Theory of John of Salisbury,” in World of John of Salisbury, 303-317, at 305-306: “But it is made evident alone by the manner in which the Institutio Traiani was inserted into the thematic context of the Policraticus that John 26 27
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 521 
priesthood occupies the soul. The heart is the location of the Senate. The eyes, ears and tongue are the judges and governors of the commonwealth. The hands are representative of officials and soldiers. Courtiers and assistants to the prince correspond to the flanks of the body. The digestive system metaphorically refers to the financial officers of the commonwealth. Finally, the feet of the commonwealth are the peasants.29 John summarizes Plutarch’s vision of the res publica: A commonwealth, according to Plutarch, is a certain body that is endowed with life by the benefit of divine favor, which acts at the prompting of the highest equity, and is ruled by what may be called the moderating power of reason.30
John introduces the role of the Senate: “The place of the heart is filled by the Senate, from which proceeds the initiation of good works and ill.”31 John then further elaborates on its role, relating the term “Senate” to the word senectus, or old age.32 John extrapolates from this that the Senate is the source of wisdom in the body-politic: noting that “though we have seen that their name was derived from their age, I think that what was meant was not merely age of body but of mind.”33 For John, wisdom is what qualifies one as a counselor; he also suggested that “unjust men are to be excluded,” and that “the ruler should provide that his counselors be not needy, lest they covet immoderately the things of others.”34 For John, a feature of the tyrannical body-politic, by contrast, is that “its heart of unrighteous counselors is like a senate of iniquity.”35 Thus, in this account, the principal purpose of the Senate in a political system is to counsel the must have used a text in which the officia of the late Roman empire had been compared to the members of the human body”. 29 Pol. (Dickinson) V.2, 64-65. 30 Pol. (Dickinson) V.2, 64. Webb, I, 282: “Est autem res publica, sicut Plutarco placet, corpus quoddam quod diuini muneris beneficio animatur et summae aequitatis agitur nutu et regitur quodam moderamine rationis.” 31 Pol. (Dickinson), V.2, 65. 32 Pol. (Dickinson), V.9, 108: “For what is more noble than an assembly of elders, who having faithfully completed their terms in the ordinary offices, then pass on to the duty of giving counsel and exercising rulership, and in feeble bodies thus put forth the strength of the mind? They are the better fitted to the business in proportion as they are the less able to perform feats of the body.” 33 Pol. (Dickinson), V.9, 109. 34 Pol. (Dickinson), V.9, 112. 35 Pol. (Dickinson), VIII.17, 339.
irene a. o’daly
ruler in wise decisions; it is the heart providing lifeblood to the governing head.36 John explicitly relates the knowledge gained in old age to the correct distribution of roles in a political society: “For age of mind is the wisdom which consists in properly apportioning all duties and in practicing the whole art of life.”37 For John, “philosophy is the study of wisdom.”38 Drawing on Roman sources, John states that “the art of right living, as the Stoics thought, is the art of arts;” “philosophy finds its completion and end in wisdom,” a wisdom that John sees as founded in knowledge of God.39 By considering the heart as the seat of wisdom, John departs from Platonic interpretations that see the heart as the seat of the spirited part of the soul. This redefinition of the role of the heart is based on biblical precedents, the law of God is “written on the heart:” “He [the ruler] shall therefore write the law of the Deuteronomy, that is to say the second law, in the book of his heart; it being understood that the first law is that which is embodied in the letter; the second, that which the mystical insight learns from the first.”40 John uses Roman language to characterize the role of the senate/ heart, but its function within the body-politic is based on the Christian theory that true knowledge of God is only accessible through wisdom, a wisdom inherent in the heart. It is significant that John does not appear to make any direct comparison between the ideal Senate depicted in his model of the body-politic and the revived institution at Rome. At no juncture does he refer to the revived Senate in structural terms comparable to the account found in the organological model of the Policraticus, nor does his account of the role of the senate/heart in the body-politic appear to be informed by his knowledge of the revived Roman Senate. However, in other areas of John’s work there 36 The role of the heart as a governing organ within the body was a common metaphor since early Christian times. See Jacques Le Goff, “Head or Heart? The Political Use of Body Metaphors in the Middle Ages,” in Fragments for a History of the Human Body, 3 vols., eds. Michel Feher, Ramona Naddaff, and Nadia Tazi (New York, NY: Zone, 1989), 3: 12-27; Marie -Christine Pouchelle, The Body and Surgery in the Middle Ages, translated by Rosemary Morris (Oxford: Polity Press, 1990); Thomas Ricklin, “Le coeur, soleil du corps: Une redécouverte symbolique du XIIe siècle,” Micrologus: Natura, scienze e società medievali, Il Cuore, 11 (2003): 123-143; Takashi Shogimen, “’Head or Heart?’ Revisited: Physiology and Political Thought in the 13th and 14th centuries,” History of Political Thought, 28 (2007): 208-229. 37 Pol. (Dickinson), V.9, 109. 38 Pol. (Dickinson), V.9, 109. 39 Pol. (Dickinson), V.9, 109. 40 Pol. (Dickinson), V.6, 24.
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 523 
appears to be a linguistic coherency between his treatment of Rome and the Romans, one that accommodates fact and fiction, rhetoric and reality, more effectively; we shall turn to examine now the relationship between the accounts of Rome in his theoretical and epistolary texts. John of Salisbury’s Perception of Rome and the Romans In 1168 John wrote a letter describing the reconciliation of the senators with the papal party: This year’s senators, in order to free their captives in the Emperor’s prison, received Guy of Crema [the antipope Paschal III] at St. Peter’s, in the region across the Tiber, and offered him safe conduct under oath. Rome herself they could never make subject to him; nor do I believe they wanted to. The new senators will do fealty to Pope Alexander, and by God’s aid will bring the schism to an end . . . for this has been long negotiated and confirmed by many oaths.41
An earlier letter referring to the negotiations, also from 1168, presents a less positive version of events. John criticized the avarice of the Roman populace, quoting Juvenal: No one is surprised today if the Romans cheat their friends, since it is well known, notorious indeed, that among them “every man has trust in them in proportion to the money he pours from his coffer.” The intention of laws and canons is often twisted, so that the man who makes the richer gifts is richer too in justice.42
In the Policraticus John employs this same passage from Juvenal to demonstrates how endemic corruption is in the court, pointing out that the trade among court officials is not purely material, but “even things which are not, namely omissions and inaction, are also a matter of venality. Not merely is there no act, no word, to be had without payment, but they will not even keep silent unless paid a price; silence itself is for sale.”43 Character does not matter as much as money. The association made between the 41 Letter 280, to Baldwin, Archdeacon of Totnes, in The Letters of John of Salisbury, vol. 2: The Later Letters (1163-1180) [Letters II ], eds. William J. Millor and Christopher N.L. Brooke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), 611. 42 Letter 278: To Archbishop Thomas Becket, when Reginald [Fitzjocelin] was at Rome (Spring-Summer 1168), Letters II, 599-601. 43 Pol. (Dickinson), V.10, 116.
irene a. o’daly
avaricious court and the Romans illuminates John’s perspective on the revival of the Senate. Indeed, the charge of venality and avarice is a trope frequently associated with the Romans by John. However, there is a paradox that pervades John’s descriptions of Rome and the Romans. On the one hand he vilifies the avarice, corruption and flattery that he considered to be rife in the city, on the other, as we shall see, he acclaims the values of clemency, decorum and frugality in language he derived from classical Roman sources. Indeed, his general treatment of Rome is somewhat schizophrenic. John described the Roman empire as a source of vice, dismissing the founding myth of the city: “Romulus dedicated the founding of his city to his divinities by the sacrilege of parricide and the shedding of a brother’s blood; then haunted by spirits he atoned for his brother’s murder by an empty honor, the pretense of a partnership in power.”44 John saw the source of the practice of flattery in the conduct of the Roman emperors: “The Roman people invented forms by which we lie to our masters, using the plural number to show respect when addressing a single individual, and has transmitted them to its kindred and to posterity by the authority of its name.”45 However, he admired the strength of the Roman troops, noting the “loyal devotion which chosen men paid to the commonwealth in pursuance of their oath,” and that “discipline profited the Romans to the point that they subjected the whole world to their sway.”46 His attitude to individual emperors is similarly nuanced. He condemned Nero who “devoured all things by his gluttony, befouled them with his lust, drained them by his avarice, shattered them by his cowardice, sucked out their [the Romans’] life by his luxury and pride,” and similarly dismissed Caligula as a “past-master in crime.”47 However, Julius Caesar is praised for his moderation, “his desires never exceeded his powers;” he was “a man who knew not how to be exalted by prosperity nor broken by misfortune, high-spirited without cruelty, magnificent in his projects without a touch of rashness.”48 The principal flaw of avarice is, in short, its incapacity to conform with moderation: “For the frenzy of avarice in the abstract is based upon two considerations: that it covets to excess the possessions of others or guards Pol. (Pike), III.10, 183. Pol. (Pike), III.10, 183-184. 46 Pol. (Dickinson), VI.2, 181; VI.14, 220. 47 Pol. (Dickinson), VI.14, 223; VIII.18, 352. 48 Pol. (Dickinson), VIII.18, 358. 44 45
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 525 
its own too tenaciously; and that he who seeks to excess what he lacks, makes demands beyond the law of necessity or utility.”49 Frugality, on the other hand, is seen as a corrective to avarice, in John’s mind; it is a “regulating virtue having nothing to do with use and misuse.” Frugality is a matter of balance: “There are some however whose frugality must be checked, since they are by nature too prone to avarice. Then there are others upon whom it must be enjoined rather forcibly, since they are prodigal of their substance, scorn a budget, are wasteful, and fail to discriminate between use and abuse.”50 It is notable that, rather than relying on the ample Christian discourse concerning charity and simple-living, John’s account of moderate frugality echoes the pre-eminence accorded to restraint and seemliness in the Roman Stoic tradition, which emphasizes an internal orientation toward moderation at all times. A principal source for John’s views on frugality is Seneca; John comments that Seneca “extols [frugality] so highly that all who have attempted to add anything at all to what he has said appear to be wasting time rather than to be improving upon him.”51 Both John and Seneca see frugality as a feature of philosophical life. Seneca comments, “Philosophy calls for plain living, but not for penance. This is the mean of which I approve.”52 John concurs: “philosophy does not enjoin us to flee from riches, but only forbids our lusting after them. It demands a mind which is master of itself, and which in every turn of fortune suffices unto itself, provided that its sufficiency be from
Pol. (Pike), VII.16, 277. Pol. (Pike), VIII.13, 375. 51 Pol. (Pike ), VIII.13, 375-376. The influence of Seneca on John was first noted by Hans Liebeschütz who suggested that Seneca was “the foremost authority for John’s argument that frugality is the key to the right life,” Hans Liebeschütz, Medieval Humanism in the Life and Writings of John of Salisbury (London: Warburg Institute, University of London, 1950), 82. But while the sentiment of this pronouncement may indeed be true, Liebeschütz bases the argument on a similarity between John’s work and Seneca’s Letter 108. However, as Leighton D. Reynolds has noted, it is unlikely that John could have accessed the latter half of the corpus of Senecan letters. My interpretation, that John drew on the early letters and on Seneca’s De Beneficiis to this end is, therefore, more persuasive. For details of the transmission of Seneca’s letters see Leighton D. Reynolds, The Medieval Tradition of Seneca’s Letters (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965), 118, note 1, for the transmission see 91-110. See also Peter Stacey, Roman Monarchy and the Renaissance Prince (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 75-89. 52 Seneca, Ad Lucilium Epistolae Morales, 3 vols., translated by Richard Mott Gummere (London and Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library, 1917-1925), V.4, 1:23. 49 50
irene a. o’daly
God.”53 John could have found Seneca’s regard for frugality in De Beneficiis: “Frugality is knowing how to avoid unnecessary expenditure, or the art of applying moderation to the use of private means.”54 John, drawing on Cicero (an important transmitter of Stoic ideas to the Middle Ages) considers that frugality can even be a factor that can serve to mitigate the flaws of an individual: “Acceptable are even the vices of him who compensates faults of character by frugality in expenditure. The best revenue, says Cicero [. . . .] is frugality.”55 Huizinga noted that an examination of twelfth-century literary output reveals “a furious chorus of invectives against cupidity and avarice.”56 John alludes to this vicious circle of expenditure: “wealth is poured out in wooing power; and the more a man lusts after power, the more lavishly he spends for the sake of it.”57 Indeed, in this period of “commercial revolution” criticisms of the money-economy and its results were common. Avarice was seen not simply a perversion of Christian virtues, but a very perversion of the Christian order.58 Just as the money economy threatened to overturn conventional societal rankings, so too the elevation of money as a thing of worship threatened to overturn God’s position: “So long as they prosper in their own concerns, so long as they realize the objects of their ambition and avarice, they hold in small account the loss of the things of Jesus Christ.”59 John, quoting from Horace, comments that the wealthy man is thought to be the wise man as “Birth and beauty are gifts of Queen Money, and a well-moneyed man is decorated by the goddesses of Persuasion and Love.”60 Regina Pecunia rules rather than God. The Romans became a specific target for such critiques of avarice. For example, Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) in his Five Books on Consideration, a manual of guidance for his Cistercian compatriot Eugenius III, comments: “who can you point to in the whole of the city who accepted Pol., (Dickinson), V.17, 164. Seneca, De Beneficiis, Moral Essays, vol. 3, trans. John W. Basore (London and Cambridge MA: Loeb Classical Library, 1964), 2.34.4, 119-120. 55 Pol. (Pike ), III.12, 190. 56 Quoted in Lester K. Little, “Pride goes before avarice: Social Changes and the Vices in Latin Christendom,” American Historical Review 76 (1971): 16-49, at 16. 57 Pol. (Dickinson), VII.17, 282. 58 On this theme see Alexander Murray, Reason and Society in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), 74-76. 59 Pol. (Dickinson), VIII.17, 342. 60 Pol. (Dickinson), V.17, 162. 53 54
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 527 
you as pope without receiving a penny or the hope of a penny?”61 Gerhoh of Reichersberg (1093-1169) wrote in 1167: For previously [before the end of the papacy of Gregory VII], the Roman people had the habit of voluntarily pledging feudal loyalty to their pastor with due obedience, but after the contention arose between the priesthood and the kingdom, the citizens of Rome who were followers of the pope did not want to struggle in such a war for nothing, but demanded a great deal of money as if it were a kind of salary owed for their military service.62
The satirist Walter Map pointed out that the initials of the Pauline maxim: radix omnium malorum avaritia spelled out ROMA, indicting the corruption of the city and the curia.63 In John’s case, the linguistic consistency between his descriptions of contemporary Rome and the language used to describe classical Rome as a bastion of avarice is particularly interesting. It is in stark contradiction to his admiration of the precepts of Roman philosophy extolling frugality. It is the interplay between avarice and frugality that governs John’s treatment of the revived Senate; its flaw, and that more generally of the Romans, is its excessive concern for money and power—but the solution to this is Roman-endorsed frugality. In the place of an analysis of the Senate that discusses its political basis, or its classical antecedents, John is content with providing a moral critique of its agenda. To further evaluate the dyadic relationship between the tropes of avarice and frugality in John’s discussions I wish to look at two additional discussions of Rome and the Romans in his work: the relationship between Pope Adrian IV and the Romans, and the upheaval caused by Arnold of Brescia.
61 Bernard of Clairvaux, De Consideratione IV.4, quoted in Susan Twyman, Papal Ceremonial, 162. 62 Quoted in Richard Newhauser, The Early History of Greed: The Sin of Avarice in Early Medeival Thought and Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 127-128. 63 1 Timothy 6.10. Walter Map, De Nugis Curialium, eds. Montague R. James and Roger A. Mynors (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), II.17, 168. For further examples of the association between the Romans and money, particularly in the later twelfth century, see Marco Vendittelli, “Élite citadine: Rome aux XIIe-XIIIe siècles,” in Les élites urbaines au moyen âge: actes du XXVIIe congrès de la société des historiens médiévistes de l’enseignement supérieur public (Rome: École française de Rome, 1997), 183-191, 187-188.
irene a. o’daly
Adrian IV In the Policraticus, John turns his attention to the contemporary papacy and recounts a conversation with Adrian IV.64 Here the organological model of the body-politic is reprised. John criticizes the avarice and simony proliferating the curial circle and comments: If, therefore, you are father, why do you extort gifts and payments from your children? If you are lord why do you not strike terror into your Romans, and repressing their insolence, call them back to the way of loyalty? But you may answer that you wish to preserve the city to the Church by means of the gifts which you receive. [. . . .] What you received without a price, see that you bestow without a price.65
John alludes to Cicero and argues that: Justice is the queen of the virtues and blushes to be bartered for a price. If she is to be gracious, she must be gratuitous. It is vain to prostitute for a price her who cannot be corrupted; for she is pure and ever incorrupt. While you oppress others, you will yourself be even more grievously oppressed.66
Adrian replies that the stomach of the polity requires food to ensure that the rest of the body-politic can function, thus providing a validation for curial expenditure aimed at gaining the support of the Roman citizenry.67 Adrian concludes: “Do not therefore seek to measure our oppressiveness or that of temporal princes, but attend rather to the common utility of all.”68 John highlights here a very real contradiction inherent in the medieval Church: the contrast between spiritual poverty as preached by the apostles, and the material demands of the hierarchy of the Church. As Yunck comments, “The passage is a profound statement of both sides of the struggle between old feudal principle and new fiscal necessity.”69
Pol. (Dickinson), VI.24, 251-257. Pol. (Dickinson), VI.24, 255. 66 Pol. (Dickinson), VI.24, 255. 67 Adrian is drawing here on Livy’s History of Rome II.32, where a similar fable is told. John accessed Livy’s Histories through an late first-, or second-century, epitome of Roman history by Florus, see Janet Martin, ‘John of Salisbury as a Classical Scholar,’ 185. 68 Pol. (Dickinson), VI.24, 257. 69 John A. Yunck, The Lineage of Lady Meed: The development of medieval venality satire (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1963), 116. 64 65
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 529 
In a concluding chapter of Policraticus John criticizes the ambition of popes; ambition is the cause of schism in the Church. John, however, recognizes Adrian’s dilemma: “For if he pursues his own avarice, it is death to him; but if not, he will not escape the hands and tongues of the Romans.” Furthermore, “But if he hates gifts, who will force presents upon him against his will? And how then, if he does not receive, will he be able to bestow? And how, if he does not bestow, will he be able to please the Romans?” John is forced to acknowledge that “even the Romans are servants of God, although they are tyrants whose servant the Roman pontiff must necessarily be, to the point that unless he is their servant he must of necessity cease to be either pontiff or Roman.”70 John recognizes the insoluble position of the pontiff vis-à-vis the political situation in Rome. John’s description of the avarice of the Romans, in this case, is not purely hyperbolic, but based on an astute assessment of the political and practical requisites of the papacy. John does not, therefore, consider that the avarice of Romans is an aspect of their history that can be consigned to their pagan past; even in a Christian context the Romans remain avaricious: For they all love gifts and strive for rewards and (a fact equally remarkable and deplorable), it is recorded that there were more citizens indifferent to money when Rome was blinded by pagan error than now that she is illuminated by the light of faith, strengthened by the example of the apostles and first in the world in the teaching of the divine word.71
Arnold of Brescia John criticizes the avarice of the papacy again in his Historia Pontifiicalis when recounting the life of the rebellious Arnold of Brescia.72 This is broadly recognized as one of the areas of John’s works where he is, if not
All quotations in this passage are taken from Pol. (Dickinson), VIII.23, 408-409. Historia Pontificalis, XL, 80. 72 On Arnold see Robert I. Moore, The Origins of European Dissent (Oxford: Blackwell, 1985); George W. Greenaway, Arnold of Brescia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1931); Schmitz-Esser, “In Urbe, quae caput mundi est;” Arsenio Frugoni, Arnaldo da Brescia nelle fonti del secolo XII (Rome: Istitutio storico Italiano per il medio evo, 1954), 107-138; Maurizio Pegrari, ed., Arnaldo da Brescia e il suo tempo (Brescia: Grafo, 1991), esp. Ovidio Capitani, “Arnaldo da Brescia e le inquietudini del secolo XII,” 7-18, and Gherardo Ortalli, “Arnaldo da Brescia: il personaggio e la sua memoria,” 41-59. 70 71
irene a. o’daly
an eyewitness, then a balanced, well-informed commentator.73 John notes the connection between Arnold and the political reactionaries in Rome: Arnold “was said to have bound himself by oath to uphold the honor of the city and Roman republic.”74 He points out that Arnold “was reputed to be factious and a leader of schism,” and directly connects Arnold with the revival of the Roman Senate, locatively at least: “He himself was frequently heard on the Capitol and in public gatherings.”75 John reports that Arnold “publicly denounced the cardinals, saying that their college, by its pride, avarice, hypocrisy and manifold shame was not the Church of God, but a place of business and den of thieves,” and preached that the Pope could not be admitted to the city as he “wished to impose a yoke of servitude on Rome, the seat of Empire, fountain of liberty and mistress of the world.”76 Arnold is also reported as considering that the Pope was “a man of blood who maintained his authority by fire and sword, a tormenter of churches and oppressor of the innocent, who did nothing in the world save gratify his lust and empty other men’s coffers to fill his own.”77 In contrast to this critique of papal avarice, John draws attention to Arnold’s personal frugality: This man was a priest by office, a canon regular by profession, and one who had mortified his flesh with fasting and coarse raiment: of keen intelligence, persevering in his study of the scriptures, eloquent in speech, and a vehement preacher against the vanities of the world.78
John considered that the juxtaposition between Arnold’s personal frugality and the perceived avarice of the papacy was the motivation behind his critiques:
Chibnall, Introduction to Historia Pontificalis, xli-ii. Historia Pontificalis, XXXI, 62. John does not give Arnold the credit for revolution accorded to him by Otto of Freising: The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa by Otto of Freising and his Continuator Rahewin, ed. and translated by Charles C. Mierow and Richard Emery (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1953), II.28, 144. 75 Historia Pontificalis, XXXI, 63. 76 Historia Pontificalis, XXXI, 65. 77 Historia Pontificalis, XXXI, 65. 78 Historia Pontificalis, XXXI, 63. Otto says: “For he [Arnold] used to say that neither clerics who owned property, nor bishops that had regalia, nor monks with possessions could in any wise be saved. All these things belong to the prince, and should be bestowed of his beneficence for the use of the laity only.” Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa, II.28, 143. 73 74
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 531  He said things that were entirely consistent with the law accepted by the Christian people, but not at all with the life they led. To the bishops he was merciless on account of their avarice and filthy lucre; most of all because of stains on their personal lives, and their striving to build the Church of God in blood. He denounced the abbot [Bernard], whose name is renowned above all others for his many virtues, as a seeker after vainglory, envious of all who won distinction in learning or religion unless they were his own disciples.79
John describes Arnold’s followers as similarly devoted to frugality: “He had disciples who imitated his austerities and won favor with the populace through outward decency and austerity of life, but found their chief supporters among pious women.”80 John’s account of Arnold is brief, but it is valuable in that John seems unwilling to condemn Arnold’s political role outright. As Partner notes, “level-headed and well-informed writers such as John of Salisbury and Gerhoh of Reichersberg were careful to avoid indiscriminate abuse of Arnold; St. Bernard, whom Arnold had criticized as self-interested, denounced him violently as a heretic.”81 It can be argued that a further reason for this reasonable presentation of Arnold’s preaching is that Arnold’s ideas seem to coincide with a theme that, as we have seen, resonates throughout John’s works: the rejection of avarice, and the promotion of frugality. Conclusions John’s negative perception of Rome is the result of two interacting elements: his perspective on the contemporary political situation, and the role of Rome as metaphor in his work. He is not concerned with the institutional significance of the revival of the Senate. His discussion in the Historia Pontificalis is, instead, dictated by moral norms, and the criticism of the avarice of the Senate is coterminous with the general criticisms of Historia Pontificalis, XXXI, 64. Historia Pontificalis, XXXI, 64. Cf. Otto of Freising, who describes Arnold as ‘seducing’ the populace: “acting as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, [Arnold] entered the City, inflamed to violence the minds of the simple people by his exceedingly seductive doctrines, and induced—nay, rather, seduced (post se duxit, immo seduxit)—a countless throng to espouse that cause,” Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa, II.28, 143. 81 Partner, The Lands of St. Peter, 183. For additional information about Arnold, including details of the testimony of Bernard and others see Greenaway, Arnold of Brescia, 106112; Frugoni, Arnaldo da Brescia, esp. 15-39, 147-162. 79 80
irene a. o’daly
avarice found in John’s theoretical works. Like other authors, John criticizes the Romans for their avaricious nature; unlike other authors, John finds a solution for such behavior in the recommendation of frugality, a solution that is explicitly articulated in John’s account in a classical manner, rather than evolved from Christian ideologies of greed. For John, Rome is a metaphor for corruption; his accounts of contemporary political events use this metaphor extensively. The inductive value of this metaphor is not only to comment on the state of political stalemate in Rome, but also to present a model of a flawed state that could be extended to illustrate broader political concerns, a view John alludes to in his poetical work, the Entheticus Maior : The city corrupted by its own vices also corrupts the world, And a sick head makes the limbs weak. For any court whatever imitates men like Crassus, and The world, lover of wealth, feels the hunger of the city.82
History, for John, is a source of such lessons; the antiquity of the past provides models for the present. Presenting these lessons is the primary purpose of history in his opinion, not reflection on the actualities of occurrences. John’s criticism of the avaricious Romans emphasizes the consistency of their sinful behavior over the ages, but also posits an implicit solution: moderate frugality. John’s discussion of Adrian IV’s bribery of the Romans recognizes that one cannot avoid, on occasion, buying power. His account of Arnold of Brescia acknowledges that, while frugality is recommendable, extreme asceticism can also be interpreted as immoderate. The interplay in John’s works between philosophy and history, between didacticism and description, is particularly evident in his accounts of events in Rome. His study of Roman classical ideas dictates his opinion of contemporary Rome and the Romans. In John’s writings we can observe a fascinating relationship between twelfth-century conceptions of antiquity, and the reality of the contemporary world.
82 John of Salisbury’s Entheticus Maior et Minor, 3 vols., ed. Jan Van Laarhoven (Leiden: Brill, 1987), II.1173-1176, 2:180.
an assessment of the political symbolism of the city of rome 533 
Acknowledgements The author would like to acknowledge the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK, the Cambridge European Trust, the Isaac Newton Trust, and the Robert Gardiner Memorial Trust for facilitating this research. The material was originally presented at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, in July 2007.
Decoding the Labyrinth: Rome in Arabic and Persian Medieval Literature Mario Casari*
Department of Philology, Linguistics and Literature, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy *E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract The city of Rome is described in a number of Arabic and Persian geographical and historical texts produced between the ninth and thirteenth centuries. Despite the chronological range and geographical distances that separate many of these texts, a common thread of transmission unites them, testament to the fact that very few eyewitness accounts of the city were used. Instead, the descriptions of Rome drew on the authority of more ancient literary accounts, that were reproduced with variations and additions deriving from a number of different origins. While it is not possible to identify the exact web of sources used, nor whether some descriptions refer to Old Rome—the city of the Pope—or to the new Rome on the Bosporus, Constantinople, these texts nevertheless reveal a substantial knowledge of the city’s symbolic features. Indeed, it appears that accurate physical descriptions of Rome were considered less important than exemplary representations of the city. One of the figurative details assumes the iconographic form of a labyrinth, at times identified as a map of the city of Rome, and at other times as a prison located in the city. In this paper, it will be argued that the labyrinth icon is drawn from one of Rome’s own myths concerning the founding of the city by complex and at times obscure means that offer promising directions for further research. More generally, it would appear that the Arabic and Persian sources considered here share a view of the city of Rome that is nourished by a great respect and admiration. Keywords Rome, Constantinople, labyrinth, Arabic geography, Persian geography Hic labor ille domus et inextricabilis error Aeneid VI, 27
decoding the labyrinth
The Account The labyrinth referred to in the title is a presumed topographical map of Rome preserved in a 1410 manuscript of a Persian historical work from the twelfth century. We will return to this work, but the labyrinth is also a perfect metaphor for the difficulty one has understanding the complicated collections of interrelated medieval Arabic and Persian texts dealing with Rome, Rūmiy(y)a or Rūma in the medieval nomenclature. The complexity derives mainly from the difficulty in ascertaining the actual reference of accounts that are too often clouded by the unlikelihood of the wonders described therein, by the confluence and overlap of descriptions of distinct and distant places, and by the frequent lack of links with the Roman history and geography that we know. In the medieval period, notable descriptions of Rome can be found in a number of Arabic and Persian texts, especially in geographical and historical works, spanning approximately the ninth to the thirteenth centuries. Despite the long chronological arc and the geographical distances that separated these works, it is possible to trace a number of common textual threads, that in general appear to derive from literary sources. Such textual links were facilitated by the frequent and wide circulation of books that characterised the Islamic world in the Abbasid period, as well as the intense permeability that existed between the Arabic and Persian literary fields, especially within the same genre. In many of these texts Rome was not the result of eyewitness accounts. Indeed, Khalil Samir observes that, of the seventeen Arab geographers he examined, “nobody saw the city; not even al-Idrīsī, although he lived in Palermo, working for King Roger II of Sicily.” This lack of eyewitnesses, along with certain other elements that will be discussed below, provides the basis for a key aspect of these accounts: the use in the descriptions of Rome of features pertaining to the second Rome, Constantinople. In many cases, it is possible to trace details that unequivocally refer to the city of Rome, especially in the accounts produced in the western regions of the Islamic world (Maghreb and Andalus), for the obvious reason of closer geographical proximity to the city. This does not so much imply, however, that these descriptions were based on direct observations, as much as it shows a dependence on a diverse web of literary sources, either Latin or Byzantine, or others. The main accounts of Rome dealt with in this study are included in the following: the Arabic Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik (“Book of Itineraries and Kingdoms”) by Ibn Khurradādhbih, of Iranian family, settled in
Baghdad (born between 820-826, died between 885-912); the Arabic Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa (“Book of Precious Gems”), by the Persian Ibn Rusta (composed between 903-913); the Arabic Kitāb dalāʾil al-qibla (“Book for the Orientation of the Qibla”) by Ibn al-Qās ̣s,̣ born in the Iranian region of Tabaristan, but educated in Baghdad (died between 946-948); the Arabic Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik (“Book of Itineraries and Kingdoms”) by the Andalusian al-Bakrī (eleventh century); the anonymous Persian Mujmal al-tawārikh wa-l-qis ̣aṣ (“Collection of Chronicles and Stories,” 1126); the Arabic Nuzhat al-mushtaq fī ikhtirāq al-āfāq (“The Pleasure of Him Who Longs to Cross the Horizons”) by al-Idrīsī (1099-1165), geographer at the Sicilian court of Roger II; the Persian ʿAjāyibnāma (“Book of Wonders”) by Hamadānī (composed ca. 1175-1193); the Arabic Kitāb al-ishārāt ilā maʾrifat al-ziyārāt (“Guide for the Knowledge of Pilgrimage Sites”) by al-Harawī, an Iraqi traveller from a family originally from Herat (d. 1215, in Syria); the Arabic Muʿjam al-buldān (“Dictionary of Countries”) by Yāqūt, born in Byzantine territory of nonArab parents, but enslaved and raised as a Muslim (died 1229); the Arabic Kitāb al-rawḍ al-miʿṭār fī khabar al-aqṭār (“Book of the Fragrant Garden on the Information about the Countries”) by al-Ḥ imyarī (probably a Maghrebi author from the end of the thirteenth century, whose work seems to have been updated in the fifteenth century).1 Other texts will also be taken into account as needed below. Abū al-Qāsim ʿUbayd Allāh b. ʿAbd Allāh Ibn Khurradādhbih, Kitāb al-masālik wa-lmamālik, ed. Michael Jan de Goeje (Leiden: Brill, 1889); Abū ʿAlī Aḥmad Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, ed. Michael Jan de Goeje (Leiden: Brill, 1892); Fuat Sezgin, “Kitāb dalāʾil al-qibla li-Ibn al-Qās ̣s ̣ (Das Buch über die Orientierung nach Mekka von Ibn al-Qās ̣s)̣ ,” Zeitschrift für Geschichte der arabisch-islamischen Wissenschaften 4 (1987-1988): 7-92; Abū ʿUbayd al-Bakrī, Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik, eds. Adrian Van Leeuwen and André Ferré, 2 vols. (Tunis: al-Muʾassasa al-Wat ̣aniyya li-l-Tarjama wa-l-Taḥqīq wa-l-Dirāsāt, 1993); Muḥammad Taqī Bahār and Muḥammad Ramażānī, eds., Mujmal al-tawārikh wa-l-qis ̣as ̣ (Tehran: Khāwar, 1318Sh/1939); Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Idrīs al-Ḥ ammūdī al-Ḥ asanī al-Idrīsī, Nuzhat al-mushtaq fī ikhtirāq al-āfāq. Opus Geographicum, eds. Alessio Bombaci et al., 9 fasc. (Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1970-1984); Muḥammad Ibn-i Maḥmūd Hamadānī, ʿAjāyibnāma. Bāzkhānī-i mutūn, ed. Jaʿfar Mudarris Ṣādiqī (Tehran: Nashr-i Markaz, 1375Sh/1996); Abū al-Ḥ asan ʿAlī b. Abī Bakr al-Harawī, Kitāb al-ishārāt ilā maʾrifat al-ziyārāt, ed. Janine SourdelThomine (Damascus: al-Maʿhad al-Faransī bi-Dimashq, 1953); Shihāb al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh Yāqūt b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥ amawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, ed. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, 6 vols. (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1866-1873); Ibn ʿAbd al-Munʿim Al-Ḥ imyarī, Kitāb al-rawḍ al-miʿṭār fī khabar al-aqṭār, ed. by Iḥsān ʿAbbās (Beirut: Maktabat Lubnān, 1975). 1
decoding the labyrinth
When considering this corpus of texts, the inevitability of numerous inconsistencies due to faults in the oral and written transmission over time and distance should not let us forget that if some of the textual traditions have survived, it is because those descriptions or narratives were valuable more in their own right than for the real object of the description. According to the effective definition present in the Koran (XII, 111), the ‘account’ (ḥadīth), “is a confirmation of what happened before, and a clear explanation of everything and guidance and mercy fo a people who believe.” This passage refers to prophetic narrative, but the definition could also include many other types of report in Arabic literature, linked to their exemplarity rather than to their factual likelihood, according to a principle of adhesion/comparison with the history of Revelation that is very similar to the role played by the exemplum in Latin Christian literature.2 Thus, the authority of those responsible for literary transmission enabled old textual or iconographic ‘vestiges’ to resist any updating of knowledge, and to be passed down through the centuries unaltered—although with a shift in their interpretation—in a manner parallel to other literatures throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Regarding the city of Rome, Yāqūt (11791229), one of the later authors considered here, but also the Arab geographer who left the most thorough descriptions, made a point of declaring that he had reported certain facts about which he had doubts because he was following the example of famous scholars before him.3 A number of studies throughout the last 150 years4 have attempted to provide some orienting tools for the web of Arabic and Persian sources There is extensive literature on this subject, a good starting point is Roberto Tottoli, Biblical Prophets in the Quʾrān and Muslim Literature (Richmond: Curzon, 2002), and the related bibliography. 3 See Yāqūt al-Ḥ amawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, 2:867. 4 Ignazio Guidi, “La descrizione di Roma nei geografi arabi,” Archivio della Società Romana di Storia Patria 1 (1877): 173-218; Giustino Boson, “Descrizione di Roma in una geografia araba del 1169 dell’Egira,” Aevum 3 (1929): 5-12; Michelangelo Guidi, “Roma e gli Arabi,” Roma. Rivista di studi e di vita romana 20 (1942): 10-21; Giorgio Levi Della Vida, “The ‘Bronze Era’ in Moslem Spain,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 62 (1943): 183-191; Giorgio Levi Della Vida, “La traduzione araba delle storie di Orosio,” Al-Andalus 19 (1954): 257-293; Maria Nallino, “Un’inedita descrizione araba di Roma,” in Scritti in onore di Laura Veccia Vaglieri, vol. 1, Annali dell’Istituto Universitario Orientale, n.s., 14 (1964), 295-309; Maria Nallino, “‘Mirabilia’ di Roma negli antichi geografi arabi,” in Studi in onore di Italo Siciliano, 2 vols. (Florence: L.S. Olschki, 1966), 2:875-893; Salāḥ al-Dīn al-Munajjid, “Rome vue par les géographes musulmanes,” Travaux at Jours, 21 (1968): 51-61; Eliyahu Ashtor, “Che cosa sapevano i geografi arabi dell’Europa 2
concerning the city of Rome and—more generally—Roman history. All of the questions raised by these texts, whose philological and geo-historical reconstruction is, in many cases, still open, cannot be dealt with here in detail. Rather, in the spirit of the conference that has inspired this volume, this essay will attempt to analyze some of the most meaningful aspects of these accounts, in order to outline a few interpretative points essential to the optical lens through which these authors viewed the great capital of Christianity over the course of several centuries. Given the premises above, when we look from a certain distance at the entire corpus of Arabic and Persian medieval sources regarding Rome, it seems less surprising that they offer almost no information on the rare occasions of direct contact with the city, such as the sack of the two Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul Outside the Walls in 846, or the defeat of the Saracen fleet at Ostia three years later.5 We are offered, on the other hand, some mythological traditions on the genealogy of the Roman people (Banū al-Aṣfar, literally ‘the clan of the Yellow’, which is the equivalent of gens occidentale?” Rivista storica italiana 81 (1969): 453-478; André Miquel, La géographie humaine du monde musulman jusqu’au milieu du 11e siècle, vol. 2, Géographie arabe et répresentation du monde: la terre et l’étranger (Paris: Mouton, 1975); André Miquel, “Rome chez les géographes arabes,” Comptes rendus des Séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 119 (1975): 281-291; Khalil Samir, “Les confusions entre les deux Rome chez les géographs arabes médiévaux,” in Roma fuori di Roma: istituzioni e immagini, eds. Pierangelo Catalano and Paolo Siniscalco (Rome Università degli studi ‘La Sapienza’, 1993), 93-108; Renato Traini, “Rūmiya,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition, vol. 8, eds. Clifford E. Bosworth, et al. (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 612-613; Adalgisa De Simone and Giuseppe Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma. I geografi del Medioevo (secoli IX-XV) (Bologna: Pàtron, 2002); Gianroberto Scarcia, “Roma vista dagli Arabi: appunti su Abū ʿUbayd al-Bakrī (sec. XI),” in Roma fra Oriente e Occidente, Settimane di studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 49, 2 vols. (Spoleto: CISAM, 2002), 1:129-171; Angelo Michele Piemontese, “Roma nella cosmografia persiana medioevale,” in Studi sulle società e le culture de Medioevo per Girolamo Arnaldi, eds. Ludovico Gatto and Paola Supino Martini, 2 vols. (Florence: All’Insegna del Giglio, 2002), 2:499-518; Angelo Arioli, Le città mirabili. Labirinto arabo medievale (Milan: Mimesis, 2003); Mayte Penelas, “De nuevo sobre la imagen de Roma en las fuentes árabes,” Collectanea christiana orientalia 2 (2005): 343-352; Marco Di Branco, “Roma o Costantinopoli? Nota sull’immagine di Roma nei geografi arabi medievali,” Néa Rôme 3 (2006): 181-187; Marco Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani. La Grecia e Roma nella storiografia arabo-islamica medievale (Pisa: Pisa University Press, 2009); Giuseppe Mandalà, “Roma e il labirinto nella tradizione arabo-islamica,” Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome—Moyen Âge 121, 1 (2009): 219-238. 5 A reference to maritime raids carried out by the Berbers of Spain is included in Ibn Rusta’s account (between 903 and 913); see Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, 129.
decoding the labyrinth
flavia, mediated through the Hebrew filter of the term Edom)6 and on the foundation of the Capital by the ‘children of the she-wolf ’ (Ibnāʾ al-dhiʾba).7 In the same way, the scarcity of known reports and the numerous inconsistencies concerning the chronology and nomenclature of Roman kings, rulers and emperors, are somewhat balanced by a clear fondness for what seemed significant in the eyes of many Muslim intellectuals: the role of Rome and of Roman rulers in the history of Revelation, through its different embodiments in the monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.8 Whereas the history of the Roman monarchy and republic is almost completely absent, the succession of emperors—apart from a number of mistakes in some name transcriptions and dating—is usually quite accurately and significantly articulated in three distinct categories: the pagan emperors, the Christian emperors who, after moving the capital from Rome to Constantinople, ruled up to the advent of Islam, and the Christian emperors who came after the message of Muḥammad.9 Interestingly enough, after Constantine, the chain of the ‘kings of Rūm’ includes only those of the pars orientalis of the Empire, ignoring those of the pars occidentalis, and continuing directly with the Byzantine emperors: a sign of the continuity of the two Christian capitals in Muslim eyes, and of the probable dependence of these accounts on Byzantine sources. Old Rome reappears, instead, in different textual contexts, as the city, “whose government is ruled by a king called the Pope (al-bāb)”10 “whom the Franks obey, 6 For instance in Abū al-Ḥ asan, ʿAlī b. al-Ḥ usayn b. ʿAlī al-Masʿūdī, Murūj al-dhahab (Les prairies d’ or), eds. Abel Pavet de Courteille and Charles Barbier de Meynard, 12 vols. (Paris: Imprimerie impériale, 1861-1908), 2:294; on this question see Antoine Isaac Silvestre de Sacy, “Lettre a M. le Redacteur du Journal Asiatique,” Journal Asiatique, 3rd ser., 1 (1836): 94-96; Graziadio I. Ascoli, “Über Banu al-asfar,” Zeitschrift der deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 15 (1861): 143-144; Levi Della Vida, “The ‘Bronze Era’ in Moslem Spain,” 109-110; Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 110-112. 7 For instance in Abū al-Ḥ asan, ʿAlī b. al-Ḥ usayn b. ʿAli al-Masʿūdī, Kitāb al-tanbīh wa-l-ishrāf, ed. Michael Jan de Goeje (Leiden: Brill, 1894), 123. 8 Thus, for instance, the Iraqi historian Yaʿqūbī (ninth-tenth century) devotes special attention to Titus’ conquest of Jerusalem, and Ṭabarī (historian born in Tabaristan, Iran, but writing in Arabic, d. 923) introduces his section on the Roman emperors with a biographical profile of Jesus: some pertinent observations are in Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 112-133. 9 See for instance Muruj al-dhahab, 2:293-355, it is probably the Muslim historical work best informed on Western history. See also De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 25-42; Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 107-142. 10 Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, 128.
since for them he holds the rank of the imām. [. . .] nobody among them can contradict him.”11 However, in all of the texts the central role of Constantine is clear. Constantine was the emperor about whom the greatest number of reports was written, including commonly known legendary episodes. Whether treated with hostility or with admiration, Constantine was acknowledged as the political mind behind the transformation of the Roman Empire into a Christian Empire that had become the real antagonist, as well as the mirror, of the Caliphate. Moreover, he was the founder of Constantinople, the new capital that, for Muslim travellers and scholars, was, inevitably, a partially transparent barrier to observing the city of Rome, resulting in the descriptive overlaps we will consider below.12 As we have already observed, most of the information about the city itself seems to be the result of literary transmission more than of direct observation: partly from Byzantine works of history or geography (often through a Syriac filter), but also from Latin works, especially for the Western tradition of Arabic literature (in Maghreb and Andalus), as is the case in the important role played by the Arabic version of Orosius’ Historiae adversus paganos.13 In the development of the textual web, we can glimpse a process that draws closer to the socio-political and architectural reality of Rome. In particular, when we move away from the main core of the historical and geographical traditions of the Arabic Mashriq (‘the orient’), and we follow the literary route of the Maghrib, the Arabic west of Africa and Al-Andalus, which avoided the Byzantine barrier, observers seemed to have had, if not direct contact with Rome itself, at least access to sources that were closer to the object. But this did not prevent the ancient literary traditions from enduring, and many philological problems remain. The Yāqūt al-Ḥ amawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, 2:867. See for instance Masʿūdī, Mūrūj al-dhahab, 2:311-320; Kitāb al-tanbīh, 137-145; ʿIzz al-Dīn Abū al-Ḥ asan ʿAlī Ibn al-Athīr, Ibn-el-Athiri. Kitāb al-kāmil fī al-taʾrīkh, ed. Carl Johan Tornberg, 14 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1867-1876), 1:235 (the latter is from the twelfththirteenth century). On Constantine in the Islamic sources see Vincenzo Poggi, “Costantino nella polemica islamica,” in Costantino il Grande dall’antichità all’umanesimo, eds. Giorgio Bonamente and Franca Fusco, 2 vols. (Macerata: Università degli Studi, 1993), 2:823-834; Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 107-142. 13 See Levi Della Vida, “La traduzione araba delle storie di Orosio;” Mayte Penelas, ed., Kitāb Hurūshiyūs: Traducción árabe de las Historiae adversus paganos de Orosio (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas: Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, 2001); Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 143-189: including further bibliography. 11
decoding the labyrinth
denomination Rūmiya that we find in the oriental texts is considered to be tied to the Greek name Rōmē, while the denomination Rūma in some occidental sources (but not in all of them) derives most probably from the Latin term Roma.14 However, it is interesting to note that, among the few eye-witnesses to whom direct reports are attributed—both when they correspond to reality, and when they constitute a literary device—we find either the Jew, the merchant, or the monk.15 These are, in other words, the three classes of individuals who could cross the threshold between the two state and religious entities of Christianity and Islam most easily, and could carry descriptions and information. Furthermore we must add the ambiguous figure of Hārūn ibn Yaḥyā. According to most scholars, Hārūn was a Syrian, and a Christian, who was taken prisoner by the Byzantines and brought to Constantinople. Released by the authorities, possibly on account of his religious faith, he had the opportunity to visit the city, and left one of the most thorough accounts of the Christian capital produced by foreign visitors in the Middle Ages (the disputed date of his presence in the city is around year 900). Afterwards, he moved from Constantinople, following the route of the Via Egnatia to Venice and then Rome, although it is unclear whether he travelled as a pilgrim or not. He also left a description of the first Christian capital, Old Rome, although less detailed than that of Constantinople. Hārūn’s account of both Constantinople and Rome, and of the itinerary he followed, has not survived as an independent text, but it was consulted and quoted extensively by more than one author, and is particularly relevant to our theme.16 See Samir, “Les confusions entre les deux Rome,” 95-96, and Di Branco, “Roma o Costantinopoli?,” 181-187, where another hypothesis is formulated concerning the reading Rūmiyya (with double y) of the oriental transcription. Different suggestions concerning the origin of these denominations are offered by Piemontese, “Roma nella cosmografia persiana medioevale,” 499. An excellent first survey of the Arabic sources for Roman history can be found in Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 15-36, while many descriptions of the city of Rome are discussed in De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma. 15 The first scholar to suggest this was Guidi, “La descrizione di Roma,” 212. 16 More or less complete quotations of Hārūn’s travel diary are, for instance, in the Arabic geography by Ibn Rusta (beginning of the tenth century), the Arabic treatise on the qibla by Ibn al-Qās ̣s ̣ (tenth century), the anonymous Persian history Mujmal al-tawārikh wa-l-qiṣaṣ (twelfth century). On Hārūn, mentioned in almost all the essays in no. 4, see Josef Marquart, Osteuropäische und ostasiatische Streifzüge. Ethnologische und historischtopographische Studien zur Geschichte des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts (ca. 840-940) (Leipzig: Dieterich‘sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, T. Weicher, 1903), 260-270; Willy Lüdtke, “Der 14
Mirabilia It has been difficult for scholars to untangle and decypher the kaleidoscope of wonders that emerges from a comparative reading of all these interrelated Arabic and Persian descriptions of the city of Rome, that center around the eleventh and twelfth centuries. A characteristic element is the overlap in Rome of features that are doubtless characteristics of Constantinople—the New Rome—notwithstanding that the latter city was often given a separate section in the Arabic geographical encyclopaedias, under the entry Qusṭanṭiniyya.17 This is especially the case in the descriptions from the oriental side of the Islamic world, but also in some of the occidental ones.18 Beyond the obvious ideological overlap of the two Christian capitals in the eyes of Muslim observers, Constantinople’s possible alternative denomination as Rūmiyya (with the double ‘y’, instead of only one: thus not a name’s transcription, but an adjective)19 could be the basis for the subsequent confusion between the two Christian capitals:20 another sign of the literary nature of the transmission. Bericht des Hārūn ben Jaḥja über Rom,” Mitteilungen des kaiserlich deutschen archaeologischen Instituts Römische Abteilung 19 (1904): 132-141; Alexander A. Vasiliev, “Harun-ibnYahya and his Description of Constantinople,” Seminarium Kondakovianum. Recueil d’Etudes archéologiques. Histoires de l’Art. Etudes Byzantines 5 (1932): 149-163; Georg Ostrogorsky, “Zum Reisebericht des Harun-bin-Jahja,” Seminarium Kondakovianum. Recueil d’Etudes archéologiques. Histoires de l’Art. Etudes Byzantines 5 (1932): 251-257; Henri Grégoire, “Un captif arabe à la cour de l’Empereur Alexander,” Byzantion 7 (1932), 666-673; Mehmed Izeddin with P. Therriat, “Un prisonnier arabe à Byzance au IXe siècle: Hārūn ibn Yaḥyā,” Revue des études islamiques 15 (1941-1946): 41-62; Jean-Charles Ducène, “Une deuxième version de la relation d’Hārūn ibn Yaḥyā sur Constantinople,” Der Islam 82 (2005): 241-255. 17 On Constantinople in Islamic literature, see Giorgio Levi Della Vida, “Costantinopoli nella tradizione islamica,” Rendiconti delle Adunanze Solenni dell’Accademia dei Lincei 5 (1953): 364-373; Mehmed Izeddin, “Quelques voyageurs musulmans à Costantinople au Moyen Âge,” Orient 34 (1965): 75-106; Miquel, La géographie humaine, 381-481; Albrecht Berger, “Sightseeing in Constantinople: Arab travellers, c. 900-1300,” in Travel in the Byzantine world. Papers from the thirty-fourth spring Symposium of Byzantine studies (Birmingham, April 2000), ed. Ruth Macrides (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), 179-191; NadiaMaria El Cheikh, Byzantium viewed by the Arabs (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004). 18 General discussions of this overlap are in Samir, “Les confusions entre les deux Rome;” De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma. 19 Meaning ‘Roman’, that is the city of the Rūm, ‘the Romans’, as the Byzantines used to call themselves. 20 This is the hypothesis developed by Marco Di Branco, “Roma o Costantinopoli?,” 181-187 and Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 223-230, and related to the most
decoding the labyrinth
Some of the features attributed to the city of Rūmi(y)ya can only be ascribed to the new capital on the Bosporus: first, that it was flanked on three sides by the sea and surrounded by a double wall enclosure, in the middle of which flowed a canal, called—according to a recent reading— Qusṭanṭīnūs.21 Many other accounts—included in some of the occidental sources—can be traced to their Constantinopolitan origins, as Samir, among others, has correctly shown.22 This does not negate some remarkable characteristics that can be attributed with certainty to Rome. For instance, in the important account by Ibn Rusta (Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, “Book of precious gems,” tenth century), whose first section is based on Hārūn’s report, we read about the presence of the Pope, as well as the distance of Rome from the sea to the west, features of the city’s river, and other details.23 A few relevant data are provided especially by one of the most detailed occidental sources, the Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik (“Book of Itineraries and Kingdoms”) by the Andalusian al-Bakrī (eleventh century). In this text, apparently dependent on Latin sources, the fortress that “has never been conquered by any enemy” should be identified as the Capitoline Hill, for whose name a derivation from the Latin mons arcis may be suggested.24 Furthermore, in the creation of a new city beyond the river, set opposite the rūma bākiya (a possible ancient geographical description of Rūmiyya by Ibn Khurradādhbih (Persian Arabograph of the ninth century). According to Di Branco, this description should refer to Constantinople, and it might have affected many subsequent accounts of Rome; see Ibn Khurradādhbih, Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik, 113-6. On the multifaceted value of the term Rūm, see below. 21 See Ibn Khurradādhbih, Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik, 113. These features are diffused in many of the accounts, starting in the oriental tradition with Ibn Khurradādhbih, and discernable also in some of the occidental sources (see for instance Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, 130; Yāqūt al-Ḥ amawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, 2:868-869; al-Idrīsī, Nuzhat al-mushtaq, 751). In some cases a section with this incipit is juxtaposed with another one that shows proper ‘Roman’ characters. For the reading of the canal’s name, see De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 36, no. 69; Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 163-165. 22 Samir, “Les confusions entre les deux Rome.” 23 Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, 128-130. 24 See al-Bakrī, Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik, 1:477-478; Nallino, “ ‘Mirabilia’ di Roma,” 882, where reference is made to the later al-Ḥ imyarī (from Maghreb, thirteenthfourteenth century; the Arabic text is in Nallino, “Un’inedita descrizione araba di Roma,” 298-302, at 299), who follows al-Bakrī; De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 37, 84. A suggestion indicating the association of the Latin words mons and arx with the Arabic transcription muntʾrqūṭ is already present in Scarcia, “Roma vista dagli Arabi,” 157.
transcription of Roma vecchia), ‘Old Rome,’ one can see a depiction of the civitas leonina, or perhaps more probably of the slightly later Giovannipoli (or even more likely of both), if the ‘bishop’ to whom the construction is attributed is Yuwānish, identifiable as Pope John VII.25 There is even a reference to the Mons Gaudii ( jabal ghawdhīh), ‘Mount of Joy’; that is, Monte Mario, at the end of the Via Francigena, where pilgrims were able to glimpse the Basilica of St. Peter for the first time.26 Still, the list of unresolved questions is long. Problems of reconstruction include the presence of an important church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul (Ibn Khurradādhbih, Ibn Rusta, Yāqūt, al-Idrīsī) located above the tombs of both saints: occasionally it is divided into two churches, dedicated to each saint respectively. Is this an unexpected overlap of the two Roman patriarchal churches, or the ennobling of the church of the same name in Constantinople? And what conclusions can we reach about the huge church that is usually the most thoroughly described (and sometimes associated with the King’s Palace), and referred to as the Church of the Nations (Kanīsat al-umam, Yāqūt, a term that corresponds to Ecclesia Universalis, the title of St. John Lateran), the Church of the King (ar. Kanīsat al-malik, in Yāqūt, pers. Kanīsa-yi malik, in Hamadānī), or the Church of Sion (Kanīsat Ṣihyūn, Ibn Khurradādhbih, Yāqūt)? Putting aside for the moment the detailed descriptions of doors, columns, lamps, statues, altars, etc., this latter name deserves further attention. On the one hand, it has been supposed that it may correspond to the Church of Hagia Sofia, in Constantinople, one of whose titles was in fact New Sion.27 On the other hand, the comparison with the Ecclesia Sion in Jerusalem (as the Church See al-Bakrī, Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik, 1:478; De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 29-30, 84. Since the transcription in al-Ḥ imyarī is slightly different (rūma bāliya, cfr. Nallino, “Un’inedita descrizione araba di Roma,” 299, and 304, no. 32), Samir hypothesizes that the name was modelled on the Greek: Rōmē palaià, ‘Old Rome’ (Samir, “Les confusions entre les deux Rome,” 97). The older reading by al-Bakrī and the Romance context make the other derivation more plausible: see, De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 29, no. 31, and Scarcia, “Roma vista dagli Arabi,” 158-159. 26 See al-Bakrī, Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik, 1:477; Nallino, “Un’inedita descrizione araba di Roma,” 299, 303; the reading as Mons Gaudii is suggested in De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 42, 84. Different interpretations can be found in Nallino, “Un’inedita descrizione araba di Roma,” 303, no. 22, and in Scarcia, “Roma vista dagli Arabi,” 156. 27 Gilbert Dagron, Constantinople imaginaire. Etudes sur les recueil des Patria (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1984), 300-5; De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 53-55; Di Branco, “Roma o Costantinopoli?,” 184. 25
decoding the labyrinth
of the Apostles, in the south-west of the city, was called in many medieval Itineraria), could also point to the Roman basilica of St. John Lateran, founded by Constantine, as suggested by Guidi, on the basis of an explicit reference in a later anonymous Arabic geographical text.28 In the same way, considering the name Siḥyūn as an implicit link between the Lateran church and the Temple of Jerusalem should not be viewed as groundless. In the introductory section of his long account on Rome, the geographer Yāqūt relates that, according to Ibn ʿAbbās (cousin and companion to the Prophet, and one of the first and most authoritative transmitters of traditions), “the holy furnishings of the Jerusalem Temple had descended from Paradise. The Rūm took them and carried them away, to one of their cities called Rūmiya.” A passage about Rūmiya from the above mentioned Arabic anonymous geographical text observes, “In this city there is a source from which three hundred and sixty rivers flow [. . .]. The water from this source comes from beneath the king’s palace and in it are hidden the keys to the Temple, the Prophet Moses’ rod, the relics of the Tablets of Law and the Ark of the Covenant: all that is beneath the stair to the east.”29 It is clear that there is a connection with the tradition, reported in ancient epigraphs and spread through medieval Christian literature—and discussed elsewhere in this volume—that beneath the high altar of the Lateran church were precious Temple relics.30 It is also worth noting that the See Guidi, “La descrizione di Roma,” passim; it is a late Christian Arabic text, preserved in at least two manuscripts: no. 755 (3) in Leiden University Library, transcribed and translated in Carlo Crispo Moncada, La descrizione di Roma nel secolo XII d’Abû Ḥ āmid da Granata tolta da un codice arabo della Biblioteca Nazionale di Palermo (Palermo: Stabilimento Tipografico Virzì, 1906), 29-40; and the Vat. Ar. 286 from the Vatican Library, often used by Guidi in his essay and translated into French in Olga de Lébédew, Codex 286 du Vatican. Récits de voyages d’un Arabe (St. Petersburg: XIIIème Congrès international des orientalistes, 1902). 29 Ms. Vat. ar. 286, f. 107r (de Lébédew, Codex 286 du Vatican, 62); see Guidi, “La descrizione di Roma,” 204-205. 30 For instance in the Graphia Aureae Urbis Romae, see Karl Ludwig Urlichs, Codex Urbis Romae Topographicus (Würzburg: J. Stahel, 1871), 117. Two other Latin texts from the twelfth century that present the same theme (De sacra imagine SS. Salvatoris in Palatio Lateranensi and Descriptio Lateranensis Ecclesiae) are discussed by Marie Thérèse Champagne, “ ‘Treasures of the Temple’ and Claims to Authority in Twelfth-Century Rome,” in Aspects of Power and Authority in the Middle Ages, eds. Brenda Bolton and Christine Meek (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 107-108. The same tradition was well known in Jewish literature, see the article by Marie Thérèse Champagne and Raʾanan Boustan in this volume. The entire argument was presented by Guidi, “La descrizione di Roma,” 191-192, 201-205. Guidi reported another Arabic tradition saying that the holy table, descended from the sky, 28
list of the wonderful furnishings of the Church of the King in Yāqūt’s description corresponds closely to those reported in the section related to the life of Pope St. Sylvester in the Roman Liber Pontificalis, as Constantine’s gift.31 Yāqūt locates this church close to the immense ‘King’s Palace’ (Qas ̣r almalik), but, although al-Idrīsī specifies that the king of this palace is called al-bāba, the Pope, it remains doubtful whether—within the web of these texts considered as a whole—we are dealing with the Patriarch or the Grand Palace in Constantinople, due to the complex blend of other details and the clear process of interpolation of all of the texts (in one passage, Yāqūt calls it al-balāṭ, which was the proper Arabic name used for the Palace of the Byzantine emperors). However, the setting, outside the Palace, of a complex Salvatio Romae talisman defending the city seems to drive us back to Rome with certainty. A hundred copper statues, each holding a bell, were standing on a hundred golden columns. Each one represented a people, and the bells would ring when the king of that people planned to attack the city.32 It is the famous Roman device described in most of the Latin Mirabilia, and whose oldest reference seems to be found in the Byzantine Cosmas of Jerusalem’s commentary on Gregory of
was preserved in the Church of Sion in Jerusalem (Ibn al-Wardī, fourteenth century), see Guidi, “La descrizione di Roma,” 192. 31 See Guidi, “La descrizione di Roma,” 204; Yāqūt al-Ḥ amawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, 2:870-871; Louis Duchesne, ed., Le ‘Liber Pontificalis’, 3 vols. (Paris: Éditions de Boccard, 1955-1957), 1:172-174. The figure of Pope Sylvester I, legendary baptizer of Constantine, appears to have had a significant role in the construction and definition of the figure of Khiḍr, one of the main saints of Islam, referred to in the Koran and still the object of strong devotion throughout the Islamic world. The textual passage, which was transmitted through Latin-Greek-Armenian-Syriac-Arabic, seems particularly indebted to the course of the Acta Silvestri, a text that was already codified in Latin at the end of the fourth century, authoritatively cited in the literature of Symmachus and in the Liber Pontificalis (sixth century). The Acta Silvestri was translated into Greek, Armenian and Syriac and penetrated into prestigious and well diffused texts such as the Armenian History of the Armenians by Moses of Chorene (probably fifth century), and the Syriac Omelie by Jacob of Sarūgh (d. 521), until it made its way into Arabic literature. On this matter, see Mario Casari, “La Fontana della Vita tra Silvestro e Khizr. Alessandro e Costantino a confronto,” in Medioevo Romanzo e Orientale. Macrotesti fra Oriente e Occidente, eds. Giovanna Carbonaro et al. (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 2003), 225-237. 32 See Yāqūt al-Ḥ amawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, 2:871; see also Hamadānī, ʿAjāyibnāma, 406.
decoding the labyrinth
Nazianzus’ poems (seventh century).33 Although most of the sources place the Salvatio on the Capitoline Hill, Yāqūt’s placement of it outside the presumed Lateran church and Palace—beside the other famous talisman of the copper (or golden) bird34—would seem to match the central role played by the Campus Lateranensis in the medieval tradition, also fitting Muslim historians’ special attention towards the figure of Constantine and his architectural as well as political inheritance. Many doubts remain, but it is important to note that in a few cases it seems that we can discern in these texts two clearly different accounts, one of the main description of Constantinople, the other of recognizable traits of Rome.35 These two main reports have converged to different degrees, in some cases remaining simply juxtaposed, while in other cases becoming inextricably merged. Apart from some possible philological considerations, this was probably due to the fact that the two cities, Old and New Rome, taken together, represented the heart of Christianity. It is significant that a detailed Arabic source from the western side of the Mediterranean (the geographical work by the Maghrebi al-Ḥ imyarī) reports the following quite accurate list of the Patriarchal sees of Christianity: Rome, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, rightly identifying the last as the most recent.36 It is unclear whether Constantinople has been forgotten or, rather, blended together with the ‘other’ Rome. The Labyrinth This brings us to the actual labyrinth that was our starting point. An anonymous Persian cosmography and universal history, the Mujmal al-tawārikh 33 Arturo Graf, Roma nella memoria e nelle immaginazioni del Medio Evo, 2 vols. (Turin: Loescher, 1882-1883), 1:182-213; Giuseppe Lozza, Cosma di Gerusalemme. Commentario ai Carmi di Gregorio Nazianzeno (Naples: D’Auria, 2000); Cristina Nardella, Il fascino di Roma nel Medioevo. Le “Meraviglie di Roma” di mastro Gregorio (Rome: Viella, 2007), 64-68, 160-163. 34 For this and the related bibliography, see Miquel, La géographie humaine, 376; De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 55-57. 35 The first of these two accounts could be the one derived from the ‘voice’ of a monk, while the second one represents the account of the ‘pilgrim’ Hārūn. On the monk (mentioned by Yāqūt and based on Ibn al-Faqīh, ninth-tenth century) and his possible identification, see De Simone and Mandalà, L’immagine araba di Roma, 20-21. 36 Nallino, “Un’inedita descrizione araba di Roma,” 298, 302; see also, Samir, “Les confusions entre les deux Rome,” 105-106.
wa-l-qiṣaṣ (“Collection of Chronicles and Stories,” 1126), was the result of the consultation of ancient sources and of the personal travel experiences of the author. In the geographical section, there is a description, with correct place names, of the tracks of the Via Egnatia that linked Constantinople with the Adriatic in the Middle Ages and from there moved on to Rome. The description is based on the report of the supposed pilgrim mentioned previously, Hārūn ibn Yaḥyā.37 The account of Rome is brief but full of meaning: “The wall and the bastion of the city of Rome constitute a collection of wonders. They were built intelligently. There are nine surrounding walls, one after another. When a foreigner enters, he is confused when he leaves: wherever he crosses, he finds himself in the centre. This report is famous.” A short report on the bird talisman follows. The talisman, together with the basilica that houses it, is considered to be among the four wonders of the world, alongside the lighthouse of Alexandria, the copper horseman in Andalus, and the copper tower in the Land of ʿĀd. Introducing a beautifully depicted labyrinth, he adds: “The shape of the walls in Rome follows this fashion” (Fig. 1). At the entrance to the labyrinth is a door, beside which, obliquely, one can read the word ṭilism, ‘talisman’.38 The text tells us that it is a famous report, but it is not easy to find traces of it. A similar account is found in an Arabic guide for Muslim pilgrims produced shortly thereafter, the work of al-Harawī (m. 1215), Kitāb al-ishārāt ilā maʾrifat al-ziyārāt (“Guide of pilgrimage sites”). The tone, however, is completely different. In the section devoted to the northern side of the Mediterranean, after a short presentation of some wonderful features of the city of Rome, we read: “as for the rumor it has seven surrounding walls, arranged in such a way that whoever enters cannot leave, this has no foundation nor truth; there we find only a prison built as a Bahār et al., eds., Mujmal al-tawārikh wa-l-qiṣas,̣ 487-489; the different stages on the pilgrims’ route can be read as referring to Salonika, Beroia (or Brucida) and Split. Compare with Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, 126-128, and see Piemontese, “Roma nella cosmografia persiana medioevale,” 507-8; Ducène, “Une deuxième version.” 38 Bahār et al., Mujmal al-tawārikh, 488-489; see Piemontese, “Roma nella cosmografia persiana medioevale,” 507-510. Among the manuscripts that present this icon, see: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, ms. Persan 62 (1410 CE), f. 322v; Dublin, Chester Beatty Library, ms. 322, 120r; Istanbul, Mehmet Fuat Köprülü Collection, f. 167v. A facsimile of another manuscript is in Īraj Afshār and Maḥmūd Omīdsālār, eds., Mujmal al-tawārikh wa-l-qis ̣aṣ (Tehran-Indianapolis: Society for Promotion of Persian Culture, 1379Sh/2000). 37
decoding the labyrinth
Figure 1. Mujmal al-tawāriḫ wa-’l-qiṣaṣ (1126). Paris, Bibliohèque Nationale de France, Ms. Pers. 62 (1410), f. 322v. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via http://www.brill.nl/me
spiral, in such a way that the prisoner cannot escape; and here is a drawing of it.”39 Indeed, the presence of a few representations and descriptions of labyrinths in medieval Arabic and Persian literature has aroused the curiosity of some scholars.40 In analysing its main features, Alessandro Bausani has observed that the archetypal symbol of the labyrinth should be considered as extraneous to the theological fundamentals of Islam; indeed, neither the Arabic nor the Persian scholars of the classical era have a precise term for “labyrinth.”41 Thus, we are led to reflect that the representations of the labyrinth that we can find within the Islamic environment are the fruit of the acculturation of objects originating from different textual and iconographic contexts. In addition, it is interesting to note, too, that almost all of the labyrinth representations found so far in Arabic and Persian texts are, in some way, related to the city of Rome (or Constantinople, as we will see in due course).42 Al-Harawī, Kitāb al-ishārāt, 57. The same report was taken up by the fourteenthcentury Arabic cosmographer al-Dimashqī: Shams al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Dimashqī, Nukhbat al-dahr fī ʿajāʾib al-barr wa-l-baḥr, ed. August Ferdinand Mehren (St. Petersburg: Académie Impériale des Sciences, 1865-1866), 227. 40 Specific observations are in Umberto Scerrato, “Labyrinths in the wooden mosques of North Pakistan. A problematic presence,” East and West 33, 1-4 (1983): 21-9; Alessandro Bausani, “Islamic Culture and a possible astronomical interpretation of the Labyrinth: Some Notes,” Hamdard Islamicus 2, 4 (Winter 1984): 17-24; Alessandro Bausani, “La cultura islamica e una possibile interpretazione astronomica del labirinto,” in Orientalia Iosephi Tucci Memoriae dicata, eds. Gherardo Gnoli and Lionello Lanciotti, 3 vols. (Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1985), 1:57-63; Angelo Arioli, “Labirinti islamici: ricognizioni letterarie,” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 68 (1994): 233247; Arioli Le città mirabili; Mario Casari, “Il labirinto romeo: un’ipotesi di traslazione,” in Scritti in onore di Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti, eds. Daniela Bredi, Leonardo Capezzone, Wasim Dahmash, and Lucia Rostagno, 3 vols. (Rome: Edizioni Q, 2008), 1:355-369; Mandalà, “Roma e il labirinto.” References can be found also in general works on the labyrinth: in particular, Paolo Santarcangeli, Il libro dei labirinti. Storia di un mito e di un simbolo (Florence: Vallecchi, 1967), 179-185; Hermann Kern, Labyrinthe. Erscheinungsformen und Deutungen 5000 Jahre Gegenwart eines Urbilds (Munich: Prestel, 1982), 166, 425, and passim. 41 See Bausani, “Islamic Culture and a possible astronomical interpretation;” Bausani, “La cultura islamica e una possibile interpretazione astronomica.” 42 There are a number of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century labyrinths carved in the prayer rooms of some Islamic mosques in northern Pakistan (Scerrato, “Labyrinths in the wooden mosques”). Literary descriptions of labyrinthine places are listed in Arioli, “Labirinti islamici,” 233-247; however, these descriptions (and the term multawī which denotes them) seem to be traceable to the ancient figurative value of the concept (in use since late 39
decoding the labyrinth
A third labyrinth has been given extensive attention recently by Giuseppe Mandalà in an excellent study:43 this image is included in the work of Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn Abī Aḥmad ibn al-Qāṣs ̣ (d. between 946-948), Kitāb dalāʾil al-qibla, “Book for the orientation of the qibla,” written for the benefit of travellers and pilgrims.44 It is the oldest known representation of Rome as a labyrinth in Arabic literature. Following Mandalà’s edition of the passage, on the description of Rūmiyya we read: “Its walls are most extraordinary: there are ten walls, one after the other; when a foreigner enters and walks along the space between the walls, until he gets near the city, it seems as if they are spinning around him, so he wants to leave but he gets confused and then might get lost, when he try to return from a place that he does not know; I have drawn their image”. The text is almost identical to the Persian version of the Mujmal al-tawārikh wa-l-qisạ ṣ, and in both cases the labyrinth is linked to the account of Hārūn ibn Yaḥyā.45 The identification of the topographical concept underlying these references is also complicated by the presence of a second tradition that identifies this characteristic of multiple walls, not with Rome, but with Constantinople, the second Rome. The description given by the Persian cosmographer al-Qazwīnī (d. 1283), who wrote in Arabic, has been known for some time. In the entry on Qusṭanṭiniyya (Constantinople) of his Kitāb āthār al-bilād, “Book of the Monuments of the Countries,” he presents the antiquity) which refers more properly to the ‘maze,’ a tortuous structure where different choices lead to different paths, some of them blind. This is substantially different than the graphic representation of unicursal labyrinths which were the only depicted labyrinths before the Renaissance: in these labyrinths (including the celebrated Knossos ‘palace’ and the Islamic representations we are considering) there is no possibility of going astray, and only one way to follow, which eventually coincides with the ‘thread of Ariadne itself ’ (see Kern, Labyrinthe, 13-42). 43 Mandalà, “Roma e il labirinto,” 220-222. 44 On this Shafiʿi jurisprudent and his geographical work, see Jean-Charles Ducène, “Le Kitāb dalāʾil al-qibla d’Ibn al-Qāṣṣ : analyse des trois manuscrits et des emprunts d’Abū ̇ Ḥ āmid al-Garnāt ̣ī,” Zeitschrift für Geschichte der arabisch-islamischen Wissenschaften 14 (2001): 169-187; and Ducène, “Une deuxième version.” A facsimile of one of the five manuscripts (preserved in Cairo, Dār al-kutub) was published by Sezgin, “Kitāb dalāʾil al-qibla li-Ibn al-Qāsṣ ,̣ ” 7-92; a facsimile of a second shorter version of the same work (preserved in Istanbul, Beyazit Kütüphanesi) is in Fuat Sezgin, “ ‘Kitāb dalāʾil al-qibla’ liIbn al-Qās ̣s ̣. Ar-riwāya at ̠-t ̠āniya (Das Buch über die Orientierung nach Mekka von Ibn al-Qāsṣ .̣ Zweite Version),” Zeitschrift für Geschichte der arabisch-islamischen Wissenschaften 5 (1989): 7-62. 45 The labyrinth is not included in what seems to be the longest report of Hārūn’s account, as reported by Ibn Rusta; see Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, 126-132.
city in the figure of a labyrinth, followed by a short note: “Now it no longer has this shape, yet it is still a powerful city.”46 A second Constantinopolitan labyrinth in Arabic, also brought to light by Mandalà, is part of a late geographical work, the Kitāb al-bustān fī ʿajāʾib al-arḍ wa-l-buldān, “Book of the Garden on the Wonders of the Earth and the Countries,” by Salāmish ibn Kundughdī al-Ṣāliḥī (possibly a qadi from Damascus, d. ca. 1538-1539). Following the same typological tradition as al-Harawī, the labyrinth does not correspond to the walls of the city, but to a prison: “There is an extraordinary jail in this city, and whoever enters it, will never be able to get out. It has the shape of a snail, and whoever wants to leave, goes around, returning to the beginning; this is its shape.”47 We see quite clearly that the texts accompanying these five manuscript depictions of the labyrinth are closely entwined via a relationship that is difficult to disentangle, and involves reciprocal borrowing, interpolation and variation. It has been suggested that the city to which Arab and Persian authors were referring originally was Constantinople. Notations on the particular shape of the walls of Constantinople recur in Arabic literature, perhaps connected with a widespread preoccupation with the city’s defence system: the impenetrable walls of this closest and best known Christian capital remained the objective of successive Muslim armies for centuries, unbreached until 1452.48 The labyrinthine representation of these walls should be connected, then, to the parallel tradition concerning Jericho. In a number of medieval Greek, Latin, Armenian, Syriac and Jewish manuscripts (from the ninth to the nineteenth century) the city of Jericho was often represented as being set in a labyrinth (whose spirals are thus not the walls of the city, but a winding road that leads to it). The association of the city of Jericho with the labyrinth is the result of an elaboration of the well-known biblical account of its conquest by Joshua’s Zakariyyāʾ b. Muḥammad b. Maḥmūd Abū Yaḥyā al-Qazwīnī, Kosmographie (Kitāb āthār al-bilād; Kitāb ʿajāʾib al-makhlūqāt), ed. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, 2 vols. (Göttingen: Dieterichschen Buchhandlung, 1848-1849), 2:406. 47 See Mandalà, “Roma e il labirinto,” 225-227, 232-234. On this geographical work, see also Jean-Charles Ducène, “Le Hortus rerum mirabilium (Rome 1584-1585): une cosmographie arabe oubliée,” Zeitschrift der deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 156 (2006): 81-93. 48 Mandalà mentions an interesting text by al-Zuhrī (Andalusian geographer from the twelfth century), where a description is given of the labyrinthine character of Constantinople’s walls; see Mohammed Hadj-Sadok, ed., “al-Zuhrī, Kitāb al-djaʿrāfiyya,” Bulletin d’études orientales 21 (1968): 7-312, at 233-234; Mandalà, “Roma e il labirinto,” 228-229. 46
decoding the labyrinth
army after having circled it seven times.49 According to this interpretation, the biblical conquest of Jericho would have represented an historical and iconographic model that these Muslim authors relocated to their main military target, the Christian capital of the Byzantine Empire.50 On the other hand, the preference shown by some authors for the idea that the ‘Roman’ labyrinth represented a prison, rather than the walls of the city, would seem to point to an allusion to an infamous Constantino politan jail, well-known to many Arab geographers and historians, and possibly identifiable as the Praetorion. The constant overlap between the two Christian capitals would have provided the general frame for this textual and iconographic development. These considerations may help us understand the way our authors tried to deal with this image of the labyrinth when they encountered it in their sources. Employing a rational approach, they might have tended to historicize this icon (either as winding walls or as a prison from which it was impossible to flee), while at the same time retaining the representation at the level of an exemplum related to ‘Roman’ strength and power. Whatever the case, the question of this Roman labyrinth’s deepest origins requires further attention. We should return to Old Rome in order to decode this image, on the basis of several textual considerations. Although we have seen a number of evidently Constantinopolitan details wrongly attributed to Rome in the Arabic and Persian descriptions of the city, other data clearly have been proven to be Roman; in particular it seems that we can trust at least the basic structure of Hārūn’s account (from the ninth/tenth century, and providing the basis for the two oldest extant representations of the Roman labyrinth-walls, in the work of Ibn al-Qāsṣ ,̣ tenth century, and in the Persian anonymous historical text, twelfth century), since it provides the correct route of the Via Egnatia from Constantinople to Rome, and a number
See Wolfgang Haubrichs, “Error inextricabilis: Form und Funktion der Labyrinthabbildung in mittelalterlichen Handscriften,” in Text und Bild: Aspekte des Zusammenwirkens zweier Künste in Mittelalter und früher Neuzeit, eds. Christel Meier and Uwe Ruberg (Wiesbaden: L. Reichert, 1980), 63-174; Kern, Labyrinthe, 182-198; Penelope Reed Doob, The idea of the labyrinth from classical antiquity through the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), 133-148, 341-342. 50 This idea is the basis for Mandalà’s accurate reconstruction in Mandalà, “Roma e il labirinto.” 49
of accurate Roman features.51 Also, the explicit assignation of the labyrinth as an image for Constantinople is from a later date (thirteenth century in al-Qazwīnī, and sixteenth century in al-Ṣāliḥī). We can add that the interpretations’ ambiguity, which viewed the labyrinth variously as a map of the walls or as a jail, implies an unstable transmission, making the association with the Jericho tradition only partially meaningful. Finally, in none of the texts considered is there any allusion to the desire to attack the city walls: rather a sense of wonder and admiration pervades the lines devoted to the labyrinth where we read of a ‘foreigner’ ( gharīb) who enters the city and tries—without success—to go out, rather than of an aggressor who wants to conquer it. Hermann Kern has established a number of foundational concepts concerning the birth and development of the labyrinth symbol.52 Besides the well-known tradition relating to the palace of Knossos on Crete, which is the oldest building referred to as a labyrinth in literature and archaeological evidence, the archetypal labyrinth seems to have been connected to a propitiatory dance performed by a group of young men and women who move along spiralling routes according to a specific liturgical sequence. The association of the labyrinth with the dance is already present in Homer (Iliad, 18, 590-605), but the earliest visual proof of its choreographic function appears on an Etruscan pitcher (ca. 620 BC), where it is labelled Truia, a word alluding to the city of Troy, but also, in the Etruscan language, bearing the meaning of ‘circle’, ‘circus’, ‘arena’.53 The ‘game of Troy’ (Lusus Troiae) entered Roman civic life and was established in the time of Augustus as an important part of the imperial ceremonial. And it is under Augustus that the clearest description of this dance is given by Virgil who ascribes it to a ceremony led by Ascanius, Aeneas’ son, after Reported in the first part of Ibn Rusta’s account: Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, 126-130. 52 Again, this needs to be distinguished from the “maze.” Kern, Labyrinthe is an exceptional catalogue and reflection on all the aspects and typologies of the theme; the English edition, Hermann Kern, Through the Labyrinth. Designs and Meanings over 5000 Years (Munich: Prestel, 2000), includes a few addenda at the end of each chapter and an updated bibliography. 53 See Adolfo Zavaroni, I documenti etruschi (Padua: Sherpa, 1996), 319-321. On the Truia labyrinth, see also John L. Heller and Stewart S. Cairns, “To Draw a Labyrinth,” in Classical Studies Presented to Ben Edwin Perry by His Students and Colleagues at the University of Illinois, 1924-60 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1969), 236-262; Kern, Labyrinthe, 99-111. 51
decoding the labyrinth
disembarking on Italian soil on their flight from burning Troy. After the thorough description of the dancers’ movements, he states: Hunc morem cursus atque haec certamina primus Ascanius, Longam muris cum cingeret Albam, Rettulit et priscos docuit celebrare Latinos, Quo puer ipse modo, secum quo Troia pubes; Albani docuere suos; hinc maxima porro Accepit Roma et patrium seruauit honorem; Troiaque nunc pueri, Troianum dicitur agmen. Hac celebrata tenus sancto certamina patri. 54
The labyrinth dance, thus, is associated with the foundation of cities, in particular Albalonga and its most precious ‘daughter,’ Rome. Notwithstanding the many difficulties in ascertaining the different aspects and values of the labyrinth symbol, Kern believes that this concept of the city-founding, apotropaic Game of Troy is at the origin of the great diffusion of mosaic labyrinths in Roman culture: datable between the second century BCE and the fifth century CE, they were spread across a vast area of the Empire, which included North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, Gaul, Great Britain, and even Cyprus. The center of these mosaic labyrinths often was occupied by a representation of the Minotaur’s tale, sometimes of Theseus only, or of Ariadne, or of both. However, in other cases the center was left blank, or was filled with different motifs or objects, like floral decorations, weapons, and even a house. The labyrinth mosaic in Ostia has at its center the representation of a lighthouse, possibly the one in Ostia’s harbor.55 The most relevant feature of these mosaics is that we are faced here with the first explicit representation of the labyrinth surrounded by walls and entrance doors: the aspect is unmistakenably that of a city. These mosaics, “exclusively a Roman phenomenon,”56 were often 54 The whole passage is in Aeneid, V, 596-603. “This game and mode of march Ascanius, / when Alba Longa’s bastions proudly rose, / taught to the Latin people of the prime; / and as the princely Trojan and his train / were wont to do, so Alba to her sons / the custom gave; so glorious Rome at last / the heritage accepted and revered; / and still we know them for the ‘Trojan Band,’ / and call the lads a ‘Troy.’ Such was the end / of game and contest at Anchises’ grave,” transl. by Theodore C. Williams, The Aeneid of Virgil (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1910), 168. 55 Kern, Labyrinthe, 113-138; Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 84-103. 56 Kern, Labyrinthe, 113, Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 85; on the mosaic labyrinths and their interpretation see also Erwan Marec, “Le thème du Labyrinthe et du Minotaure dans
placed near the entrances of houses to ward off evil. Most of these mosaic labyrinths are divided into quadrants. Kern believes that this particular shape is connected with the foundation of Rome and its primitive form, the so-called Roma quadrata. The precise meaning of this term is still the subject of debate, but should probably be translated as, “Rome divided into four sections” (Figs 2 and 3).57 Kern emphasizes that the presence of Theseus refers to his role as re-founder of a city (Athens), and so is associated with Romulus in Plutarch’s Vitae Parallelae.58 It seems difficult to separate the later appearance of labyrinthine representations of Rome from such a powerful literary and iconographic tradition. Following the affirmation of Christianity, some of these mosaics moved from Roman houses to churches, progressively acquiring new meaning. Two Roman mosaic labyrinths show this transition quite clearly. A square labyrinth from the Basilica of Reparata, founded in 324 CE in Al-Asnam, Orléansville (Algeria), bears in its center a square group of letters, 13 rows across and 13 down, where the expression Sancta Ecclesia can be read in all directions.59 A second square labyrinth in Tigzirt’s Christian Basilica la mosaïque romaine : Les Nouvelles Mosaïques d’Hippone, de Dellys et de Cherchel,” in Hommages à Albert Grenier (Coll. Latomus, LVIII) ed. Marcel Renard, 3 vols., (Bruxelles: Latomus-Revue d’Études Latines, 1962), 3:1094-1112; Wiktor Andrzej Daszewski, La Mosaïque de Thésée: Etudes sur les mosaïques avec représentations du labyrinthe, de Thésée et du Minotaure (Warsaw: Editions Scientifiques de Pologne, 1977); John Kraft, “The Cretan Labyrinth and the Walls of Troy: an Analysis of Roman Labyrinth Designs,” Opuscula Romana 15, 6 (1985): 79-86; Gianna Dareggi, “I mosaici con raffigurazione del labirinto: una variazione sul tema del ‘centro’,” Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome. Antiquité 104 (1992): 281-292. 57 See Kern, Labyrinthe, 113-114; Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 85. On the Roma quadrata, see Ádám Szabó, “Roma Quadrata,” Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 87 (1938): 160-169; an updated discussion of the status quaestionis is in Claudia Cecamore, Palatium. Topografia storica del Palatino tra III sec. a.C. e I sec. d.C. (Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2002), 15-54. The majority of the Roman mosaic labyrinths are square and few are round. 58 See Kern, Labyrinthe, 114; Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 85. Kern believes that Plutarch’s account of the foundation of Rome, achieved by Romulus with the liturgical help of Etrurian priests, contains an implicit reference to the Game of Troy (Plutarch, Romulus, 11, 1-5); see Kern, Labyrinthe, 99-111. 59 See François Prévost, “Notice sur le labyrinthe de l’église de Reparatus,” Revue Archéologique 8 (1851-1852): 566-571; William H. Matthews, Mazes and Labyrinths. A general account of their history and development (London: Longmans-Green, 1922), 54-5; Daszewski, La Mosaïque de Thésée, no. 4, Pl. 57; Kern, Labyrinthe, 119, and the attendant bibliography.
decoding the labyrinth
Figure 2. Fribourg, Switzerland. Miséricorde Building, University of Fribourg. Mosaic from a Roman villa in Cormérod (200-225 ca). Courtesy of the University of Fribourg. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via http://www.brill.nl/me
Figure 3. El Djem, Tunisia. Mosaic from a Roman house in ancient Thysdrus (175-225 ca). From Wiktor Andrzej Daszewski, La Mosaïque de Thésée: Etudes sur les mosaïques avec représentations du labyrinthe, de Thésée et du Minotaure. Warsaw: Editions Scientifiques de Pologne, 1977: Pl. 54b. (Algeria), dating from 450 CE and unfortunately destroyed, also shows traces of this transformation in the heavily damaged inscription that was adjacent to the labyrinth.60 In general, the emergence of Christian culture heralds a new interpretation of the conceptual and visual features of the labyrinth. In some ancient churches we find labyrinths connected with the passages from the legend of the Minotaur, functioning as a warning. In Christian contexts, the labyrinth quickly assumed the broader meaning of representing the tortuous path through this life, wide at its entrance and narrow at the exit, so that he who is caught up in the joys of life and weighed down by vices, will find it difficult to regain true life (Piacenza, San Savino Church, 903 CE). Progressively, the labyrinth has served as a symbolic route for prayer and metaphor for pilgrimage from Late Antiquity.61 Large floor labyrinths in some French cathedrals were called See Daszewski, La Mosaïque de Thésée, no. 6; Kern, Labyrinthe, 135-136. Among the extensive studies on this subject, see especially, Adolphe-Napoleon Didron (Didron ainé), “Essai sur le pavage des èglises antérieurement au quinzième siècle,” Annales 60 61
decoding the labyrinth
chemin de Jerusalem, and were used as an alternative to the pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the Crusades or when the roads were unsafe (for example in the cathedral of Chartres, ca. 1200). Although smaller and at times depicted on the walls, there were numerous examples of these labyrinths in Italian churches, apparently predominant on the pilgrimage road of the Via Francigena. Many no longer exist, however, or are deteriorated and not easy to date: among the Italian examples are the Cathedral of Lucca, the Cathedral of Cremona, San Michele in Pavia, Santa Maria in Trastevere and Santa Maria in Aquiro in Rome (Fig. 4). In fact, the labyrinthine allusion to pilgrimage was not limited to the city of Jerusalem, but soon included Rome. When dealing with the representations of labyrinths in Arabic and Persian manuscripts, we cannot ignore this double tradition of labyrinths related to the city of Rome (those of the Roman mosaics and of the Christian churches). The direct links are still missing, and further research is required, but this hypothesis may provide some useful directions in our interpretation of those texts and images. First, the Roman mosaics are the most ancient representations of the labyrinth as a city, including the city’s walls and gates, which, for example, can be seen in the Parisian manuscript of the Persian Mujmal. These mosaics were apotropaic symbols that represented the foundation of the city of Rome and its power. With this function they could find a place within the wondrous reports that were later included in these Arabic and Persian literary accounts. As we have already noted, these texts do not reveal so much a desire for conquest, as much as Archéologiques par Didron ainé 12 (1852): 137-153; Julien Durand, “Les pavés-mosaïques en Italie et en France. II.—France,” Annales Archéologiques par Didron ainé 17 (1857): 118-127; Matthews, Mazes and Labyrinths, 54-70; Henri Leclercq, “Labyrinthe,” in Dictionnaire d’archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, 15 vols., eds. Fernand Cabrol and Henri Leclercq (Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1907-1953), 8:973-982; Kern, Labyrinthe, 206-241; Reed Doob, The idea of the labyrinth, 117-133; Paolo Caucci von Saucken, “La francigena e le vie romee.” in Il mondo dei pellegrinaggi. Roma, Santiago, Gerusalemme, ed. Paolo Caucci von Saucken (Milan: Jaca Book, 1999), 137-186; Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 142-165; Riccardo Capasso, “Itinerari di pellegrini alla volta di Roma fra Tardo Antico ed Altomedioevo,” in Studi sulle società e le culture de Medioevo per Girolamo Arnaldi, ed. Ludovico Gatto and Paola Supino Martini, 2 vols. (Florence: All’Insegna del Giglio, 2002), 2:91104; Giorgio Massola and Fabrizio Vanni, Il labirinto di Pontremoli. Storia e interpretazione di un simbolo di pellegrinaggio (Firenze: Editoriale gli Arcipressi, 2002). Different readings of the church labyrinths are provided in a series of other essays; it is worth mentioning Adriano Peroni, “Il mosaico romanico di San Michele Maggiore a Pavia: materiali per un’edizione,” in A Gustavo Vinay (Spoleto, CISAM, 1977), 705-738.
Figure 4. Rome, Italy. Church of S. Maria in Aquiro. Floor mosaic (twelfth century?), now disappeared. From Julien Durand, “Les pavésmosaïques en Italie et en France. II.—France.” Annales Archéologiques par Didron ainé 17 (1857): 118-127: 119. a sense of admiration for a great and ancient city. The tradition of the church labyrinths appears at first sight to be more distant, but it is quite surprising to discover that two out of the five labyrinths considered here are depicted in texts connected with the practice of travel and pilgrimage (that touched on Christian territories as well: they are Ibn al-Qās ̣s ̣ and al-Harawī). Moreover, two of these depictions are presented as part of the account by Hārūn ibn Yaḥyā, the presumed pilgrim on the ConstantinopleRome route (Ibn al-Qāsṣ ̣ and the Mujmal ). Taken together, they constitute the three oldest texts that attribute the labyrinth to Rome and not to Constantinople (the attribution to the latter being explicitly formulated only in the two more recent works, by al-Qazwīnī and al-Ṣāliḥī). We
decoding the labyrinth
should recall here, furthermore, that the Arabic and Persian accounts of Rome often focus on the majesty of the city’s lived and practiced faith: they describe innumerable and immense churches, armies of priests, and elaborate liturgical rites. At the same time, the circulation of the image of the labyrinth was connected to the tale of the Minotaur, who was often represented at the labyrinth’s centre in both Roman mosaic and church depictions. The idea of the labyrinth as a prison was closely related to the myth of the Minotaur from the very beginning. Although there appear to be no traces of this narrative in Arabic and Persian literature, it would seem that this association was known and circulated, at least at the level of oral transmission.62 The double interpretation offered by our authors with regard to the labyrinths of Rome, thus, is substantially present in the oldest attributions and motifs that were central to the idea of the labyrinth and to its circulation. We might ask ourselves whether the presence of Roman mosaic labyrinths in territories that were occupied by Muslim armies may have contributed to the transmission of this symbolic image into the various literary traditions of Islam. On the other hand, if we are to suggest a transfer of an iconographic nature, one fruitful area for further research is the depiction of the labyrinth in the cartographic tradition: for example, the Hereford Mappa Mundi (dated 1300, but based on more ancient sources) locates the island of Crete and its labyrinth erroneously, but significantly, in front of the Roman coast.63 Such geographical slippage could have taken place, for example, in some itineraria that may have been viewed by Arab travellers. There is a late, but significant labyrinth on a manuscript of the Secretum de thesauro experimentorum ymaginationis hominum by Giovanni Fontana (1395-1455). The center bears the Latin inscription carcer (“prison”). The manuscript is ca. 1420; see Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 138-139. More generally the western manuscript tradition where the labyrinth was often used as a figurative comment on various philosophical issues should be explored. On this, see Werner Batschelet-Massini, “Labyrinthzeichnungen in Handschriften,” Codices Manuscripti 4 (1978): 3-65; Haubrichs, “Error inextricabilis;” Kern, Labyrinthe, 139-205; Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 105-141. I would add the interesting presence of the icon of the labyrinth—with a political meaning—on the Emperor of Rome’s vestments, according to one of the redactions of the Mirabilia Urbis Romae: “Habeat et in diarodino laberinthum fabrefactum ex auro et margaritis;” see Frédéric Ozanam, Documents inédits pour servir à l’histoire littéraire de l’Italie depuis le VIIIe siècle jusqu’au XIIIe (Leipzig: H. Welter, 1897), 178. 63 See Anna-Dorothee von den Brincken, “Roma nella cartografia medievale (secoli IXXIII),” in Roma antica nel Medioevo. Mito, rappresentazioni, sopravvivenze nella ‘Respublica Christiana’ dei secoli IX-XIII (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2001), 209-229. 62
Again, the dual process by which the icon became historicized, and shifted from the first Rome to the second Rome on the Bosporus, may have been influenced by the Jericho tradition (whose origin itself, however, most probably goes back to the idea of the city-labyrinth presented for the first time by the Roman mosaics, as Kern has observed). This process may also have relied on the attention many authors paid to the walls of Constantinople on the one hand, and to news about a particular jail in that city on the other. Overall, however, it would seem that the presence of the labyrinthine depictions of Rome, especially in the three most ancient texts that we have considered, is suggestive of a much more ancient and profound, if indirect, function that is both abstract and symbolic. An echo of this process can be perceived in the last known manuscript labyrinth in an Arabic text. In a passage of the Taḥqīq mā li-l-Hind (“Research on What Pertains to India”) by Abū Rayḥan al-Bīrūnī (completed in 1030 CE), the celebrated Persian scientist and historian, who wrote primarily in Arabic, describes an Indian labyrinthine fortress in Laṅkā (Ceylon), the hiding place of the demon prince Rāvaṇa. Bīrūnī says that the fortress, defined as multawī (Arabic for ‘tortuous, twisted’), “is called Thankat Mard, and it is the one that is called in our countries Jāwan Kuth, and could be related to Rūmiya; this can be shown by what I have drawn.”64 The image of a labyrinth follows. Bausani confirmed the scholarly view that the expression Jāwan Kuth derives from the Sanskrit Yāwaṇa Kotī, “Greek fortress.” Interestingly enough, presently in southern India the labyrinth symbol is used for a game that is still called Kotī “castle.”65 Abū Rayḥan al-Bīrūnī, Taḥqīq mā li-l-Hind min maqūla maqbūla fī al-ʿaql aw mardhūla, ed. Eduard Sachau (London: Trübner & Co., 1877), 158; Abū Rayḥan al-Bīrūnī, Alberuni’s India. An English Edition with Notes and Indices, ed. and tr. Eduard Sachau, 2 vols. (London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1910), 2:306-307; see also Bausani, “Islamic Culture and the Labyrinth” and Bausani “La cultura islamica e il labirinto.” 65 See Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 289-291; Bausani, “Islamic Culture and the Labyrinth,” 17-19; Bausani “La cultura islamica e il labirinto,” 57-59. Piemontese suggests the possible derivation of Jāwan Kuth from Greek gaiáoxos, “surrounding the earth,” “protecting the country;” see Piemontese, “Roma nella cosmografia persiana medioevale,” 510. On the labyrinth in the area around the Indian subcontinent see also Rosa Maria Cimino, “Il ‘labirinto’ di Simraongarh. Una testimonianza antica,” in La conoscenza dell’Asia e dell’Africa in Italia nei secoli XVIII e XIX, eds. Aldo Gallotta e Ugo Marazzi, 3 vols. (Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1989), 3:581-599; Rosa Maria Cimino, “A short note on a new Nepalese labyrinth,” East and West 45, 1-4 (1995): 381-385; Staffan Lundén, “A Nepalese labyrinth,” East and West 48 (1998): 117-134; John Kraft, “The Oldest labyrinth in India?” Caerdroia 35 (2005), 57-59. 64
decoding the labyrinth
However, the uncertainty about the different transcriptions and origins of its name reveals Bīrūnī’s unfamiliarity with the structure he is describing and with the tales associated with it. The vague link with the city of Rome appears as a literary (and of course iconographic) topos in circulation at the time, to which the author makes only a passing and doubtful reference. Umbilicus The suggestions provided here concerning the possible route of the symbol of the labyrinth into the Arabic and Persian texts do not claim to solve, once and for all, the problem of the frequent overlap between Rome and Constantinople. Yet they might provide some insights into the more general question of the positioning of Rome by Muslim authors in the politico-cultural context of Eurasia. The Arabic (and then Persian) denomination Rūm, too often interpreted with almost exclusive reference to Byzantium and to the Byzantine Empire, including the region of Anatolia (and therefore, later, to the Turkish-Ottoman world), proves to be, on close inspection, much more ambiguous.66 Some of the Arab and Persian historians explain the derivation of this term from the city of Rūmās,67 just as many references to the area of Ancient Greece have been consciously made with the distinctive term Yūnān (Ionia). Thus, we often find the Roman emperors as much as the Byzantine ones referred to with the title of malik al-Rūm (‘king of Rome’) or qayṣar al-Rūm (‘Caesar of Rome’). As observed by Khalil Samir, “the Bilād al-Rūm (the Country of the Rūm) changed its configuration in the course of history.”68 Masʿūdī (Arab geographer and historian of the tenth century) declared: “Rome is the greatest seat of the Franks’ kingdom in ancient as well as modern times.”69 To which we may add the already partially quoted passage from Yāqūt: “There resides the Pope, whom the Franks obey, since for
See Khalil Samir, “Quelques notes sur les termes Rūm et Rūmī dans la tradition arabe. Etude de sémantique historique,” in La nozione di “romano” tra cittadinanza e universalità (Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 1984), 461-478; Di Branco, Storie arabe di Greci e di Romani, 107-142. 67 See for instance al-Masʿūdī, Murūj al-dhahab, 2:293-294. 68 Samir, “Quelques notes,” 477. 69 al-Masʿūdī, Kitāb al-tanbīh wa-l-ishrāf, 182. 66
them he holds the rank of the imām.”70 The Franks (Ifranj) were an entity recognized by the Arabs from the time of the presumed ambassadorial exchanges between Charlemagne and Hārūn al-Rashīd, as well as during the Crusades. Since the Franks were considered nearly synonymous with Europe, Rome also became the city of the Franks for these Muslim observers. In an important tenth-century map (the work of the Arab geographer Ibn Hawqāl) the city is positioned at a distance from the rest of the Italian coast, and transferred to the French hinterland, on the Rhone, in the heart of the land of the Ifranj.71 This combination Rūm-Constantinople-RomeFranks, to which it would be possible to add numerous other examples, is explained only partly by the inevitable errors arising from geographical distance, onomastic proximity, or—more generally—the fragility of transmission. On the contrary, it reflects the allusive and exemplary lucidity of the Islamic literary tradition that we have discussed: to these Muslim authors, Rome is without doubt the original umbilicus of the Christian world, whatever form it takes. In the medieval Arabic and Persian texts, as André Miquel has observed, Rome is presented to us as a place at the frontier of the real world,72 a gigantic symbol of a century-long history, of an unequalled monumental tradition, of a worldwide and truly respected faith. Despite the distortions due to distance and precarious transmission, these accounts contain aspects of (literary) intimacy, and appear to be the fruit of an admiration for the city. The heritage of Constantine, founder of the Christian Empire, becomes visible in the wonders associated with the Campus Lateranensis (a mirror to the parallel tradition in the Latin mirabilia). The faith is manifested in the immense quantity and the amazing richness of its churches, and in the city’s devotional practices and liturgical rites. In these texts, Rome emerges as having explicit links with the holy city of Jerusalem, but the city also appears as the powerful result of its remote apotropaic origins Yāqūt al-Ḥ amawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, 2:867. See Charles F. Beckingham, “Ibn Ḥ auqal’s Map of Italy,” in Iran and Islam. In Memory of the Late Vladimir Minorsky, ed. Clifford E. Bosworth (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1971), 73-78. Could such a representation be related to Charlemagne’s attempt to build a new Rome in Aquisgrana? For this topic, see Mario D’Onofrio, Roma e Aquisgrana (Naples: Liguori, 1996); Caspar Ehlers, ed., Deutsche Königspfalzen. Beiträge zu ihrer historischen und archäologischen Erforschung. VIII. Places of power, Orte der Herrschaft, Lieux du pouvoir (Göttingen: Max-Planck-Institut Für Geschichte, 2007), at 181-187, with the related bibliography. 72 André Miquel, “Rome chez les géographes arabes,” 287-291. 70 71
decoding the labyrinth
that, in the case of a few texts, coagulated into the icon of the labyrinth. The wonderful buildings described, the shining treasures (including the furnishings of the Temple of Jerusalem that were said to light the road as far as a horse ride of five nights) all served to reveal the city from afar, from a literary distance. They served to show the traveller or, more likely, the learned Muslim reader, what Rūma, Rūmiya was: the heart of the Christian Empire (whether it be Byzantine, Roman or Frankish) and, thanks to the splendour of its wonders, a magnet for myriads of pilgrims from its immense territory.
Conclusion: An Imagined City Louis I. Hamiltona,* and Stefano Riccionib
Religious Studies Department, Faulkner House 303, Drew University, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison NJ 07940, USA b Faculty of Arts, Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, I-56126 Pisa, Italy *Corresponding author, e-mail: [email protected]
I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades’ curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this be would the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past. . . . Italo Calvino1
The city of Rome, as Jerusalem, is a city that historians have long realized exists first and foremost as a city of the imagination and an object of desire. Describing the city, as Calvino observed, is in reality an exercise in calculating the relationship between its physical reality and its stories about itself. Those stories in turn, for a city such as Rome, are shaped by countless visitors, pilgrims, merchants and their narratives. The city was, as Calvino further observed, a place of signs, “The eye does not see things, but images of things that mean other things.”2 Some objects, most notably sacred art and architecture, were created and located precisely to affect the memory of the viewer in a particular manner, “to recall sacred history to the mind of the indoctrinated.”3 In Rome, Christian sacred history and imperial history were linked as early as the first century and the fabricators of its medieval monuments and artistic production evoked the two Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (New York, NY: Harcourt Brace Yovanovich, 1974), 10. Calvino, Invisible Cities, 13. 3 Herbert L. Kessler, “Gregory the Great and Image Theory in Northern Europe during the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries,” in Conrad Rudolph, ed., A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006), 151172, at 151. 1 2
memories together in the name of both renewal and reform. Antiquity was essential to the identity of the City. The renewed Church and restored Senate both used antiquity (monuments, literature and spolia), not only as reused material, but as symbolic tools to update, with different politic intent, the image of Rome. The challenge for historians is not to assert one meaning for a space but to capture what the space signified, what was recalled to mind, along a spectrum of residents, visitors, and to those for whom it was purely a literary or notional space (the readers of a city), a spectrum where the import of the physicality of the city diminished and transformed as it moved away from the physical city. The same approach applies to the examination of monuments that inhabit and affect urban space, and to the comprehension of the artistic object. That spectrum, for Rome, stretched from Baghdad to the British Isles and included Jews and Muslims as well as Greek and Latin Christians. The job of the historian is not to isolate one significance as definitive, but to capture the dynamic of how meaning was constructed. This volume originated in a conference, “Twelfth-Century Rome, Mirror of the Mediterranean Religions;” that conference was initiated by the realization that while historians have long recognized the imaginative force of Rome within Christendom, they have not placed those notions within the broader context of the importance of the city across Mediterranean communities and religions in this transformational period.4 When placed It goes without saying that since Ferdinand Braudel first published, La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l’époque de Philippe II (Paris: Colin, 1949) the field of Mediterranean studies has grown tremendously and the material on cross-cultural exchange and conflict, which includes crusading is vast. Apart from the literature cited throughout this volume, one might consider Adnan Ahmed Husain and Katherine E. Fleming, eds., A faithful sea: the Religious Cultures of the Mediterranean, 1200-1700 (Oxford: Oneworld, 2007); Marilyn Joyce Segal Chiat and Kathryn Reyerson, eds, The Medieval Mediterranean: Cross-Cultural Contacts (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota University Press, 1988), and most broadly the extensive historiographical discussions in Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, The Corrupting Sea: a Study of Mediterranean History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000). In Italy, the problem is further complicated by a long-standing historiographical divide between the northern and southern peninsula, and recent attempts to engage the Mediterranean context have been largely southern, see Hubert Houben, Roger II, von Sizilien (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1997) transl. by Graham A. Loud and Diane Milburn, Roger II of Sicily, a Ruler between East and West (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Alex Metcalfe, The Muslims of Medieval Italy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). On art in Mediterranean context see, Catarina Schmidt Arcangeli and Gerhard Wolf , eds, Islamic artefacts in the Mediterranean World: Trade, Gift Exchange and Artistic Transfer (Venezia: Marsilio, 2010). Too late to be included in this 4
louis i. hamilton and stefano riccioni
in that context, the city’s force as a sacred city is subtly altered. Its sacral character becomes contested and redefined within that broader context, often retaining an almost magical quality. This allows us to see twelfthcentury Rome and its renewal in a broader perspective, not only as essential to a “Western” identity,5 a notion of the West that came to exclude the southern and eastern Mediterranean as properly its own,6 but as a part of the whole Mediterranean culture. As Khaldoun Samman has argued, “sacred world cities, functioning as mythographies, operate beyond the boundaries of a nation-state, enabling the construction of an imaginary community that stretches over a wide area of the world.”7 The goal of the conference and the volume was to explore a neglected portion of that imaginary community and to expand our understanding of Rome’s mythography as it was constructed throughout the Mediterranean world and beyond. In that context, Rome can be understood once again as an object of pan-Mediterranean desire and imagination. We have organized these essays so as to begin with internal narratives of Rome and to consider how twelfth-century Romans themselves attempted to order the meaning of their city, through sacred space, liturgical processional, visual media and monumental inscriptions. This Rome attempted, on the one hand, to assert a specific sacred meaning, a triumphant, Christian, and papal meaning, to its storied past and used a variety of media to accomplish that end. It is a meaning contested, in part, by the ruined city itself that always suggested former imperial glory, as well as by communal forces at work within the city. The pagan past, its prophets and emperors, was made, however, to speak with one voice. Through the reinterpretation collection, is the recent re-examination of Braudel by David Abulafia, The Great Sea, a Human History of the Mediterranean (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). 5 See the articles collected in Roma fra Oriente e Occidente: 19-24 Aprile 2001, 2 vols. (Spoleto: CISAM, 2002). 6 For a striking visual example of how medieval Rome continues to be considered apart from its Mediterranean context, see the map that precedes Claudia Bolgia, “Introduction: Rome Across Time and Space, c. 500-1400: Cultural Transmission and the Exchange of Ideas,” in Rome Across Time and Space, c. 500-1400: Cultural Transmission and the Exchange of Ideas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 1-15, the map at xx. For an interesting critique of Eurocentrism by means of an examination of the notion of “renaissance,” particularly its uniqueness to Europe (albeit a critique that is still invested in categories of cultural “awakening”), see Jack Goody, Renaissances: The One or the Many (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 11. 7 Khaldoun Samman, Cities of God and Nationalism: Mecca, Jerusalem, and Rome as Contested World Cities (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2007), 7.
of its history, and through the rewriting of its monuments and spaces, papal reformers created an identity with pan-European and pan-Mediterranean implications that asserted through liturgy and ritual the living imperial authority of medieval, Christian Rome. Many of those same places and much of that same history had an entirely different set of asserted sacred meanings for the Jews of Rome and by extension for Benjamin of Tudela and the broader diaspora, a seemingly conscious counter narrative. It is surprising to see the entirely distinct significance of the sacred memory of the Temple ruins at the Lateran and the possibility that they might have been a kind of pilgrimage destination for the Jews of the city. At the same time, this contested sacred history was also enacted liturgically in papal adventus into the city and in a manner that asserted papal dominance, but that also acknowledged the importance of the Jews of Rome to the life of the city. We are reminded here that while symbols and symbolic actions might remain the same over time, their significance does not remain static, and the evidence suggests that Jews of twelfth-century Rome saw themselves, and were seen, as an important schola within the city. Rome was both idealized and challenged by Anna Komnene from the vantage of Constantinople. Constantine’s city was, of course the New Rome, and the Old Rome of the popes was derided by the princess and other Byzantine historians. It was an identity that had to be both sustained and derided; sustained because Old Rome was essential to the Romanitas of the Byzantine Empire and derided since its authority challenged Constantinople. The power of image and inscription is testified as well from the north, as Barbarossa protested, and the Peutinger map asserted imperial Rome over Christian and papal Rome. The renaissance of the twelfthcentury was no guarantee that the physical city need be the center of empire; it was only necessary to control the imagined city. A similar strategy was pursued by John of Salisbury who both claimed the classical literary descriptions of the political life of the city, and so reinforced a renaissance model for understanding the city, and simultaneously denounced both the revival of the Roman Senate and the papal court as rooted in avarice. The revived history of Rome was a tool for John to critique the city’s religious and secular authorities. The Rome of the imagination resonated in Arabic and even Persian descriptions of the city that combined both a sense of the role of the city in sacred history—now a sacred history pointing to the rise of Islam. Indeed, several articles in this volume remind us of the direct connection different Persian imperial
louis i. hamilton and stefano riccioni
dynasties had to the Mediterranean over more than a millennium and the importance of the persistent memory of those connections in the Middle Ages. Most notably for the twelfth century it is the Rome of Constantine that concerns these geographers. That history intersects with a still more marvelous infrastructure, a veritable labyrinth. At the same time, it is a fabulous history echoing surprisingly, at points, the Marvels of Benedict of Rome and Benjamin of Tudela with which we began: amazing walls, temple relics in the Lateran and ringing bells representing the cities of the empire. The fabulous city was elided with biblical ( Jericho) and Mediterranean (Constantinople) cities. The Arabic and Persian geographers testify to pan-Mediterranean communication and shared historical memory and its limits.8 Thus, this volume does not present multiple Romes, but a Rome that was multi-vocal. That symbolic richness enabled Rome to be the fruitful ground for the medieval imagination and was the source of authority; it was broad enough to contain the seeds of its own symbolic inversions and reinventions. Those symbols were debated through the assertion of meanings and by challenging received significances across the Mediterranean world and, in a manner, each participant in the debate claimed the city as their own. Even though the city of Rome was only threatened militarily in the twelfth century from the north, on the landscape of a pan-Mediterranean memory it bore the literary marks of a contested and desired city no less than Jerusalem. Acknowledgements This Special Issue of Medieval Encounters is the result of a conference held at Drew University in the Spring of 2008 and sponsored by Drew University and the Drew University Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict 8 That shared historical memory was likely to cause contention is amply attested in the historiography of the twelfth century, and the historiography on violence and exchange in the period that gave birth to the crusades is limitless. For an interesting assessment see Jeremy Cohen, “Christian Theology and Anti-Jewish Violence in the Middle Ages: Connections and Disjunctions,” in Religious Violence between Christians and Jews, Medieval Roots, Modern Perspectives, ed. Anna Sapir Abulafia (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 44-60. For a discussion of the complex relationship between economic exchange and crusade, see David Abulafia, “Trade and Crusade, 1050-1250,” in Cross Cultural Convergences in the Crusader Period: Essays Presented to Aryeh Grabois on His Sixty-Fifth Birthday, eds. Michael Goodich, Sophia Menache and Sylvia Schein (New York, NY: Peter Lang, 1995), 1-20.
(CRCC). We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the President of Drew University, Robert Weisbuch, who supported the conference directly through the co-sponsorship of the Presidential Initiative Fund. We would also like to thank the CRCC, its Director, Prof. Christopher Taylor, and the Associate Director, Dr. Jonathan Golden for co-sponsoring and assisting in the conference.
Medieval Jewish Christian and Muslim Culture
Encounters in Confluence and Dialogue
Medieval Encounters 17 (2011) i-v
Index Acta Silvestri 134 Adrian I (pope 772-795) 39 Adrian IV (pope 1154-1159) 55, 95, 105, 115-17, 120 adventus -imperial 16, 19, 25 -papal, twelfth-century 19, 25, 157 -role of the Jewish schola in adventus 25, 75-81, 157 Aelia Capitolina 97 Aeneas 142 Aeneid (by Virgil) 122, 143 ʿAjāyibnāma (by Hamadānī) 124, 134 Al-Asnam (Orléansville, Algeria) 144 Albalonga 143 Alexander Palace 33 Alexander III (pope 1159-1181) 55, 79, 105, 111 Alexandria 18, 135-136 Alexios Angelos 96 Alexios Komnenos 84, 87, 89 Alexiad 4, 84, 85-88, 91, 99 Alfanus, camerarius of St. Maria in Cosmedin 39 Altar of Santa Maria in Portico (Altar of Santa Galla), 35-36, 46 Altar of San Pantaleo 36, 46 Anastatius, cardinal of St. Clemente 37 Anatolia 151 Andalus 123, 125, 128, 136 Anna Komnene 4, 83-84, 85-90, 98, 157 Antioch 97, 135 Aquisgrana 152 Ara Coeli 9, 30, 31 Ariadne 139, 143 Arnold of Brescia 100, 104, 115, 117-20 Ascanius 142-143 Athens 144
Augustum 33 Augustus (Octavian) 9, 10, 13, 15, 18, 24-25, 30, 31, 33, 104, 142 al-Bakrī, Abū ʿUbayd 124, 126, 131, 132 al-Bīrūnī, Abū al-Rayḥān Muḥammad b. Aḥmad 150, 151 Basilica of Reparata (Al-Asnam, Orléansville, Algeria) 144 Battle of the Maps 83, 91 Bellona temple 33 Benedetto Carushomo 49, 50 Benedict, canon of St. Peter’s 7-9, 19, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 55, 74, 75, 158 Benjamin of Tudela 4, 52, 56-57, 59, 64-65, 69-87, 80, 81, 157–158 -cave in which sacred vessels were stored 72, 73 -cave of the ten martyrs 73 Beroia 136 Bible, Admont 35 Bible of Frederic of Geneva 35 Boniface of Montferrat 96 Bosporus 4, 122, 131, 150 Bosra 97 Brucida 136 Bruno of Segni 36 Byzantium 83, 87-88, 151 Caesar, Julius 70, 112 Callixtus II (pope 1118-1123) 39, 62, 77, 94 Capitoline Hill 10, 13, 15, 16, 17, 31, 118, 131, 135 Casa dei Crescenzi 45, 46, 48 Cencio de Ansoino, senator 45 Charlemagne (emperor 800-814) 90, 92, 95, 152
Chartres, Cathedral 147 Church of the Apostles ( Jerusalem) 133 “Church of the King” 132, 134 “Church of the Nations” 132 Civitas leonina 132 Clement III (antipope) 86 Clement III (pope 1187-1191) 77, 79, 104 Codex Einsiedlensis 326 (Itinerary of Einsiedlen) 31, 33 Colosseum 10, 15, 17, 74, 75 Column of Antoninus (Marcus Aurelius) 15, 43 Column of Trajan 15, 43, 44 Conrad III (1138-1152) 89 Conradin 96 Constantine I (emperor 93-121) 12, 15, 30, 31, 32, 33, 85, 90, 95, 97, 104, 127-128, 133, 134, 135, 152, 157–158 Constantinople 12, 57, 83, 84, 85, 88-90, 92, 95, 96, 97-99, 122, 123, 127-130, 131, 132, 134-136, 138-140, 141-142, 148, 150-152, 158 see also Qusṭanṭiniyya Council of Chalcedon (Fourth Ecumenical Council, 39 CE) 86 Cosmas of Jerusalem 134 Cremona, Cathedral of 147 Crescentius 46, 47 Crete 142, 149 Crusade 16, 17, 84, 88, 90, 95, 96, 147, 152, 158–159 Crusade, Third 90, 95 Crusade, Fourth 96 Cyprus 143
Eugenius III (pope 1145-1153) 40, 78, 104, 106, 114 Flaminian gate 33 Filippo, senator 45 Foro Boario 49 Franks 127, 151-152 Frederick Barbarossa 90, 94-95, 104, 105-106, 118, 119 Frederick II 96 Gelasius II (pope 1118-1119) 94, 107 Giant Bibles 35, 41 Giovanni dei Conti di Sutri, bishop 41 Gregory I, the great (pope 590-604) 60 Gregory VII (pope 1073-1085) 32, 34, 35, 61, 86-88, 91, 115, 154 Gregory XIII (pope 1572-1585) 41, 69 Gregory of Nazianzus 134-135
David 47, 65, 74 al-Dimashqī, Shams al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh 138 Diocletian, Baths of 12 Dioscuri 15, 30
Hadrian (emperor 117-138) 10, 17 Hadrian I (pope 772-795) 39 Hagia Sophia 132 Hamadānī, Muḥammad Ibn-i Maḥmūd 124, 132, 134 al-Harawī, Abū al-Ḥ asan ʿAlī b. Abī Bakr 124, 136, 138, 140, 148 Hārūn al-Rashīd 152 Hārūn ibn Yaḥyā 129, 131, 135, 136, 139, 141, 148 Henry II (king 1133-1189) 105-106 Henry IV (emperor) 86, 88, 90 Henry V (emperor) 77, 86 Henry VI (emperor) 94, 95, 96 al-Ḥ imyarī, Ibn ʿAbd al-Munʿim 124, 131, 132, 135 Historiae adversus paganos, Orosius 128 History of the Armenians, Moses of Chorene 134 Hohenstaufens 89, 92, 95-96 Homer 142
Eden 92, 96 Epitome rerum ab Ioanne et Alexio Comnenis gestarum 84 Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius 15, 30, 31, 32
Iberian Peninsula 59, 143 Ibn ʿAbbās (cousin of the Prophet Muḥammad) 133 Ibn al-Athīr, ʿIzz al-Dīn Abū al-Ḥ asan ʿAlī 128
Ibn al-Faqīh 135 Ibn al-Qāṣs,̣ Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. Abī Aḥmad 124, 129, 139, 141, 148 Ibn Hawqāl, Abū al-Qāsim b. ʿAlī al-Naṣībī 152 Ibn Khurradādhbih, Abū al-Qāsim ʿUbayd Allāh b. ʿAbd Allāh 123, 124, 131, 132 Ibn Rusta, Abū ʿAlī Aḥmad 124, 126, 127, 129, 131, 132, 136, 139, 142 al-Idrīsī, Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Idrīs al-Ḥ ammūdī al-Ḥ asanī 123-124, 131, 132, 134 India 150 Innocent II (pope 1130-1143) 94, 102, 107 Innocent III (pope 1198-1216) 96 Innocent IV (pope 1243-1245) 96 Iohannes de Alberico, senator 45 Iohannes de Parenzo, senator 45 Irene Angelina 96 Isaac II (Byzantine emperor) 96 Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (see Benjamin of Tudela) imperium 16, 83, 87, 88, 90-92, 96, 97 Jacob of Sarūgh 134 Jericho 97, 140-142, 150, 158 Jerusalem 10, 16, 18, 25, 52, 55, 58, 62, 63, 64, 68-69, 71-72, 81, 92, 95, 96, 97, 127, 132-134, 135, 147, 152-154, 158 Jesus 15, 37, 114, 127, 158 Jews, in Rome 25, 53, 65, 67, 69, 74, 75-81 -history of the community 53, 58-64, 70 -scholars 59-60, 64, 72, 73, 80 -synagogue 62, 67-68 John Kinnamos 83, 84, 88-90 John II Komnenos 89 John VII (pope 650-707) 132 John of Salisbury 4, 100-120, 157 Joshua 140 Justinian 95, 104 Khiḍr 134 Kitāb al-aʿlāq al-nafīsa, Ibn Rusta 124, 126, 127, 131, 136, 139, 142
Kitāb al-bustān fī ʿajāʾib al-arḍ wa-l-buldān, al-Ṣāliḥī 140 Kitāb al-ishārāt ilā maʾrifat al-ziyārāt, al-Harawī 124, 136, 138 Kitāb al-kāmil fī al-taʾrīkh, Ibn al-Athīr 128 Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik, al-Bakrī 124, 131, 132 Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik, Ibn Khurradādhbih 123, 124, 131 Kitāb al-rawḍ al-miʽṭār fī khabar al-aqṭār, al-Ḥ imyarī 124 Kitāb al-tanbīh wa-l-ishrāf, al-Masʿūdī 127, 128, 151 Kitāb āthār al-bilād, al-Qazwīnī 139, 140 Kitāb dalāʾil al-qibla, Ibn al-Qāṣs ̣ 124 Knossos Palace 139, 142 Land of ʿĀd 136 Laṅkā (Ceylon) 150 Lateran Basilica, Campus and Palace 8, 12, 15, 31, 40, 51, 55, 56, 64, 65-69, 73-75, 79, 81, 92, 94, 132-133, 135, 152, 157–158 Latins in Byzantium 88, 96 Leo of Ostia 37 Liber Censuum 8, 30, 55, 76, 79 Liber Politicus 7, 8, 21, 30 Liber Pontificalis 30, 55, 66-67, 74, 77, 79, 92, 134 Lothar I 33, 92, 94 Louis the Pious 92 Maghreb 123, 124, 128, 131 Mamertine Prison 10 Manuel I Komnenos 89-90 maps -Beatus 91, 93 -Peutinger 92, 96-99, 157 -T-O 91 -world 91, 92, 96 al-Masʿūdī, Abū al-Ḥ asan ʿAlī b. al-Ḥ usayn b. ʿAlī 127, 128, 151 Mediterranean Sea 5, 16, 19, 135-136, 155–158 Minotaur 143, 146, 148-149
Mirabilia urbis Romae (Marvels of Rome) 3, 5-15, 17-21, 24-26, 27-33, 43, 51, 55, 56, 70, 74-75, 134, 149, 152, 158 Monte Mario 132 Moses 66, 67, 68, 78, 133 Moses of Chorene 134 Mount of Olives 97 Muḥammad (Prophet of Islam) 127 Muʿjam al-buldān, Yāqūt al-Ḥ amawī 124, 125, 128, 131, 134, 152 Mujmal al-tawārikh wa-l-qiṣaṣ 124, 129, 135, 136, 137, 139, 147-148 Murūj al-dhahab, al-Masʿūdī 127, 128, 151 Muslims 4, 18, 88, 96, 124, 127, 128, 135-136, 140-141, 149, 151-153, 155 Nathan ben Yehiel: -Sefer ha-‘arukh 59 -mentioned in the Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela 59 Needle 33 Nero 10, 69, 112 Nerva 33 Nicola Mannetto, senator 45 Nicolaus (Nicholaus) Crescentii 46, 47, 148 Normans 87, 88 North Africa 143 Nukhbat al-dahr fī ʿajāʾib al-barr wa-l-baḥ r (by al-Dimashqī) 138 Nuzhat al-mushtaq fī ikhtirāq al-āfāq (by al-Idrīsī) 124, 131 Octavian (see Augustus emperor) Odoacer 89 oikoumene 83, 87 orb 74, 97-98 Ordo romanus 3, 5, 8-9, 19, 21, 30 Ostia 37, 98, 126, 143 Otto the Great 95 Ovid 10, 30, 102 Pakistan 138 Pantheon 10, 16-17, 19 papacy (see individual popes)
Papal throne of San Lorenzo in Lucina 37 Papal throne of San Clemente 27, 37-38, 94 Pascal II (pope 1099-1118) 36, 37, 38 Peter Damian 35 Petrus Deustesalvi, senator 45 Peutinger map (see Maps, Peutinger) Philip, duke of Swabia 95-96 Pierleoni family -as patrons of Roman Jews 60, 81 -allied with the papacy 61, 102, 103, 107 Pinzo, senator 45 Planctus Hlothari I caesaris 33 Plutarch 108, 109, 144 Ponte Cestio (Cestius Bridge) 49, 50 Porta Metronia 45 Praetorion (Constantinople) 141 Prokopios 89 al-Qazwīnī, Zakariyyāʾ b. Muḥammad b. Maḥmūd Abū Yaḥyā 139, 140, 142, 148 Quirites 48, 49 Qusṭanṭiniyya (Constantinople) 130, 139 Qusṭanṭīnūs (a canal in Constantinople) 131 Rāvaṇa 150 Rainaldo Romano, senator 45 Regio Sancti Angeli 45 Rhone River 152 Robert Guiscard 87-88 Roger II of Sicily 123-124, 155 Roieri Buccacane, senator 45 Romanitas 96, 101, 157 Roman ordo (see Ordo romanus) Rome, New (Constantinople) 4, 10, 85, 87, 89, 123, 130, 135, 157 -as Rome, renewed 33 Rome, Old 10, 83-85, 89, 90-91, 98, 122, 127, 129, 132, 135, 141, 157 Rome, Commune 26, 44, 51, 99, 100, 102, 104 Romulus 10, 112, 144 Romulus Augustulus 89
Rūm 127, 130, 131, 133, 151-152 Rūma (Arabic name of Rome) 123, 129, 131, 132, 153 Rūmās 151 Rūmiy(y)a (Arabic name of Rome) 123, 129, 130, 131, 133, 139, 150, 153 St. Martin, Cathedral of Lucca 147 St. Paul outside the Walls 126 St. Peter, Basilica 5, 7, 8, 10, 21, 29, 40, 43, 67, 68, 81, 111, 126, 132 St. Peter in Chains 18, 25 al-Ṣāliḥī, Salāmish ibn Kundughdī 140, 142, 148 Salonika 136 San’ Adriano al Foro 37 San Bartolomeo all’Isola 37 San Clemente 3, 27, 28, 37-39, 69, 94 San Crisogono 40 Sancta Sanctorum -in 12th c. Lateran Palace 65 San Giovanni e Paolo al Celio 41, 42 San Giovanni in Laterano 40, 41, 43, 66, 94 San Lorenzo in Lucina 37 San Michele, Church of (Pavia) 147 San Niccolò 44 San Savino, Church of (Piacenza) 146 San Silvestro in Capite 43 Santa Maria in Aracoeli 13, 15, 31 Santa Maria in Aquiro 147, 148 Santa Maria in Cosmedin 12, 27, 38, 39, 45 Santa Maria in Portico 27, 34, 35 Santa Maria in Trastevere 12, 27, 147 Santa Maria Maggiore 40-41 Santi Apostoli 44 Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Cielo 41, 42 Santi Quattro coronati 37 Sasso, senator 45 schola(ae) -Greek 12, 25 -Jewish 53, 75-76, 157 -Roman 78 Sicily, Kingdom of 95, 123 Sion, Church of 132, 134 Split 136
Statue of Constantine (see Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius) Stephen III, of Hungary 89 Sybil of Tibur 13 Sylvester I (pope 314-335) 74-75, 134 al-Ṭabarī, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. Jarīr 126 Taḥ qīq mā li-l-Hind min maqūla maqbūla fī al-ʿaql aw mardhūla (by al-Bīrūnī) 150 Temple, Jerusalem 10, 52, 58, 63, 65, 69-70, 75, 133, 153 -vessels (treasures) 58, 64-65, 69, 7173, 81, 133 Theatre of Marcellus 45 Theodora 46, 47 Theseus 143-144 Tiber 12, 49, 72, 111 Tigzirt (Algeria) 144 Titus 10, 18, 58, 68, 70-72, 127 Torre delle Mura (Torre della Marana) 45 Trastevere 9, 12, 27, 40, 49, 59, 147 Troy 142-143, 144 tyche 97 Vatican 9, 30, 33, 67 Venice 129 Vespasian 68, 70-72 Via Appia 12 Via Egnatia 129, 136, 141 Via Francigena 132, 147 Via Sacra 21 Virgil 142 Vita Karoli Magni 92 Vitae Parallelae (by Plutarch) 144 al-Yaʿqūbī, Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad 127 Yāqūt b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥ amawī, Shihāb al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh 124, 125, 128, 131, 132-134, 135, 151, 152 Yūnān (Ionia) 151 Zacharias (pope 741-752) 92 al-Zuhrī, Muḥammd b. Abī Bakr 140