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August 3, 2021
9781421440446
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158198
74
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9781421440453
9781421440446
English
456
158198
74
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$59.95 USD, £44.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Papal Bull

Print, Politics, and Propaganda in Renaissance Rome

Printing thrived after it came to Rome in the 1460s. Renaissance scholars, poets, and pilgrims in the Eternal City formed a ready market for mass-produced books. But Rome was also a capital city—seat of the Renaissance papacy, home to its bureaucracy, and a hub of international diplomacy—and print played a role in these circles, too. In Papal Bull, Margaret Meserve uncovers a critical new dimension of the history of early Italian printing by revealing how the Renaissance popes wielded print as a political tool.

Over half a century of war and controversy—from approximately 1470 to 1520—the papacy and its agents deployed printed texts to potent effect, excommunicating enemies, pursuing diplomatic alliances, condemning heretics, publishing indulgences, promoting new traditions, and luring pilgrims and their money to the papal city. Early modern historians have long stressed the innovative press campaigns of the Protestant Reformers, but Meserve shows that the popes were even earlier adopters of the new technology, deploying mass communication many decades before Luther. The papacy astutely exploited the new medium to broadcast ancient claims to authority and underscore the centrality of Rome to Catholic Christendom.

Drawing on a vast archive, Papal Bull reveals how the Renaissance popes used print to project an authoritarian vision of their institution and their capital city, even as critics launched blistering attacks in print that foreshadowed the media wars of the coming Reformation. Papal publishing campaigns tested longstanding principles of canon law promulgation, developed new visual and graphic vocabularies, and prompted some of Europe's first printed pamphlet wars. An exciting interdisciplinary study based on new literary, historical, and bibliographical evidence, this book will appeal to students and scholars of the Italian Renaissance, the Reformation, and the history of the book.

About the Author

Margaret Meserve (SOUTH BEND, IN) is an associate professor of history, the Fabiano Collegiate Chair in Italian Studies, and the associate dean for the humanities and faculty affairs in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought and the editor and translator of the Commentaries of Pius II.

Endorsements

""Elucidating the ways in which, prior to the Reformation, the papacy adopted and adapted the new technology of the printing press to further its own ends, Meserve reveals the complexity of an institution that was distinctively Roman and also international. Meserve's exploration of how this traditional institution gradually came to embrace an innovative mode of communication contributes in important ways to studies of power, information, and their intersection in early modern Europe. Marvelously detailed and evocative, Papal Bull weaves together a fascinating series of stories."

- Elizabeth M. McCahill, University of Massachusetts, Boston, author of Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420–1447

"Chronicling and analyzing the adoption of printing by the papacy, Papal Bull is a pathfinding work that crosses boundaries to make substantial contributions in more than one area of scholarship. Its take on the history of the Renaissance and Reformation will be of interest to a wide range of readers."

- Carlos M. N. Eire, Yale University, author of Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450–1650
Johns Hopkins University Press
Singleton Center Books in Premodern Europe
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