The Bishops Palace: Architecture and Authority in Medieval Italy by Maureen C. MillerThe Bishops Palace: Architecture and Authority in Medieval Italy by Maureen C. Miller

The Bishops Palace: Architecture and Authority in Medieval Italy

byMaureen C. Miller

Paperback | November 14, 2002

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This lavishly illustrated book looks at the art and architecture of episcopal palaces as expressions of power and ideology. Tracing the history of the bishop's residence in the urban centers of northern Italy over the Middle Ages, Maureen C. Miller asks why this once rudimentary and highly fortified structure called a domus became a complex and elegant "palace" (palatium) by the late twelfth century. Miller argues that the change reflects both the emergence of a distinct clerical culture and the attempts of bishops to maintain authority in public life. She relates both to the Gregorian reform movement, which set new standards for clerical deportment and at the same time undercut episcopal claims to secular power. As bishops lost temporal authority in their cities to emerging communal governments, they compensated architecturally and competed with the communes for visual and spatial dominance in the urban center. This rivalry left indelible marks on the layout and character of Italian cities.Moreover, Miller contends, this struggle for power had highly significant, but mixed, results for western Christianity. On the one hand, as bishops lost direct governing authority in their cities, they devised ways to retain status, influence, and power through cultural practices. This response to loss was highly creative. On the other hand, their loss of secular control led bishops to emphasize their spiritual powers and to use them to obtain temporal ends. The coercive use of spiritual authority contributed to the emergence of a "persecuting society" in the central Middle Ages.
Maureen C. Miller is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Clothing the Clergy: Virtue and Power in Medieval Europe, c. 800–1200, The Bishop's Palace: Architecture and Authority in Medieval Italy, and The Formation of a Medieval Church: Ecclesiastical Change in Verona, 950–1150, all from...
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Title:The Bishops Palace: Architecture and Authority in Medieval ItalyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9.84 × 6.69 × 0.37 inPublished:November 14, 2002Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801485398

ISBN - 13:9780801485398

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Editorial Reviews

"Maureen Miller has walked innumerable cities and mastered some exceedingly difficult historiographical issues. Her explorations of the medieval urban texture is a revelation—the Episcopal palace was not simply the seat of religious administration, it was the locus in which spiritual, social, and political life in the early Italian communes was worked out. This is an exciting and original book."—Duane J. Osheim, University of Virginia