By Robert Brentano
Unique historian Robert Brentano presents a wholly new viewpoint at the personality of the church, faith, and society within the medieval Italian diocese of Rieti from 1188 to 1378. Combing via a cache of formerly missed files saved in a tower of the cathedral, he makes use of wills, litigation court cases, economic debts, and different documents to reconstruct the everyday life of the diocese.
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Extra info for A New World in a Small Place: Church and Religion in the Diocese of Rieti, 1188-1378
Chapter 6 examines the stability of the cathedral chapter, whose members were more long-lasting and conservatively local than were the bishops, and compares the chapter with other ecclesiastical institutional groups like monasteries and houses of friars. Chapter 6 is meant to restate the descriptive argument of chapter I, at a different level, with different intensity and depth, guided by the nature of the book's dominant institution, the cathedral chapter; chapter 6 means, in the rather plain imagery of institutions, to push hard to reveal the way in which forces for conservation and change worked against and with each other.
Pietro's charity, or at least Colaxia's and her colleagues', is caught in a specifically institutional container. Stefania's vineyard dowry is to be hers only if, within two years time, she enters a monastery of nuns within, or in the immediate neighborhood of, Rieti, and takes her vineyard dowry to that monastery, and if she then dwells in habit there like the other nuns. If Stefania fails in this, the vineyard in Coll'Arcangeli is to go instead to a house of Dominican nuns, Sant'Agnese near Rieti.
But I have decided, as much as I can, except for that comparison necessary for definition, to stay within my own evidence, even when it is meager. The value of local history is, I think, to show what its historian thinks he knows happened, knows existed, in its one placeto offer that pure to other historiansnot to fill in what must have happened, what reasonably would have happened. But this is a pattern that is very hard to follow, like pure nominalism, perhaps impossibleand what historian of the canons of Rieti could keep his eyes from wandering to the documents about the canons of Narni?