Saints and cities in medieval Italy

Author: Diana Webb

The saints' Lives in this book were written in Italy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Here translated into English and in full for the first time, they shed light on the ways in which both lay men and women sought God in the urban environment, and how they were understood and described by contemporaries. Only one of these saints (Homobonus of Cremona) was formally canonised by the Pope: the others were locally venerated within the communities which had nurtured them. Earliest in date were Homobonus of Cremona and Raimondo Palmario of Piacenza, near-contemporaries and inhabitants of neighbouring cities, who died in 1197 and 1200 respectively; the latest was Enrico ('Rigo') of Bolzano, who died in Treviso in 1315. This was a period of rapid demographic and economic growth in the Italian urban environment; it witnessed much social and political upheaval, accompanied by religious change. Miracle collections are important hagiographical genre for some saints. The miracles which Umiliana de' Cerchi did in the first three years after her death and her posthumous appearances to her devotees were separately recorded, constituting, together with the Life, a hagiographical dossier. Umiliana and Pier Pettinaio were associated with the Franciscans, while Homobonus and Raimondo Palmario lived and died before 'the coming of the friars'. The Lives of both Pier Pettinaio of Siena and Rigo of Bolzano were written some time after their deaths, apparently to satisfy local and community pietas. There is no cross-reference between the Lives of Zita of Lucca and Rigo of Bolzano and their extensive miracle collections.

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