Civic religion
in The towns of Italy in the later Middle Ages
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The documents in this section explore civitc religion. A feature of civic Christianity is the lay confraternities that were common in towns in north and central Italy. Civic religion is useful for a group of religious practices that gave prominence to the role of the laity and that asserted or protected civic identity. If the emphasis in civic religion was increasingly on religion in the service of the city, and on lay domination of the church, the church's long and eventually victorious struggle against heresy reveals the successful imposition of orthodoxy, often to popular opposition. The presence of Cathar heretics in the first half of the thirteenth century was favoured by local political conflict, which weakened communal government, and by an influx of refugee heretics from southern France.

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