The battle against simony in Norman Italy
Perceptions, interpretations, measures and consequences
in Rethinking Norman Italy
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Following the consolidation of Norman rule in Italy, the southern Italian Church underwent a period of profound change. Watching and guiding the transformations, Pope Leo IX and his successors were concerned with ensuring that they conformed to canon law, especially in their ecclesiastical structures. One major issue they confronted was simony, the purchase and sale of Church office.

This chapter investigates how simony was perceived and interpreted and what concrete measures were taken against it in southern Italy from the middle of the eleventh to the end of the twelfth century. In doing so, it asks what role simony played in the transformation of the southern Italian Church and whether the response to it was typical of contemporary approaches elsewhere or merely a regional peculiarity.

Through a careful examination of the available documents, it finds that the parameters for discussion of simony in southern Italy were set by the reformed papacy rather than by local clergy or secular Norman rulers. Furthermore, the battle against simony appears to have had no notable influence on the transformation of the southern Italian Church, although, as mentioned above, this process unfolded under papal guidance.

Rethinking Norman Italy

Studies in honour of Graham A. Loud


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