Frances Andrews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the early decades of the thirteenth century, monks and Penitents, dedicated by profession of vows to varying degrees of detachment from the world, began to appear in a variety of stipendiary, term-bound offices in the urban governments of central and northern Italy. Such integration of men of the Church, regular and secular, in government or administration was not unusual in the medieval world. Prelates played major roles in secular politics and jurisdiction, and monk- (later friar-) confessors and chaplains were much sought after in the courts of royalty and nobility alike. The presence in the city offices of central and northern Italian governments of men of religion – the Penitents, monks and other viri religiosi on whom this book focuses – was not, however, a comparably conventional practice. During the twelfth century, communal leaders sought with varying degrees of energy and success to extract themselves from ecclesiastical and imperial jurisdiction. By the year 1200, laymen, often of some wealth, staffed the emerging administrations of their increasingly autonomous governments. Lay notaries, legally empowered to draw up instrumenta, were producing the texts which shaped and expressed communal identity. A process of differentiation seems to have been set in train. Yet, a few decades later, many of those same tasks were being assigned to Penitents, conversi, and monks, if not yet to members of the new orders of friars. And as the chapters in this volume demonstrate, some of the offices these religious assumed were to remain largely in their hands for several decades and, in some cases, a great deal longer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChurchmen and Urban Government in Late Medieval Italy, c.1200-c.1450
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781107360082
ISBN (Print)9781107044265
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this