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Sacred FollyA New History of the Feast of Fools$
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Max Harris

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449567

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449567.001.0001

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The Complaints of Innocent III

The Complaints of Innocent III

(p.86) Chapter 8 The Complaints of Innocent III
Sacred Folly

Max Harris

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Pope Innocent III's complaints about the Feast of Fools. The first official complaints about the Feast of Fools appear between 1198 and 1216. Many of the complaints seem to be grounded in unsubstantiated rumor rather than in eyewitness accounts. Furthermore, all the complaints flow, directly or indirectly, from the same source: the Italian pope Innocent III (1198–1216). When Lothar of Segni was elected pope in January 1198, he quickly dispatched cardinal legates to attend to political, moral, and ecclesiastical matters throughout Europe. One legate, Peter of Capua, was sent to France, where he threatened the warring kings of England and France with papal interdict if they failed to conclude a peace treaty within two months. This chapter also considers how Peter of Capua addressed the question of the Feast of Fools as part of Innocent's efforts to reform the behavior and to control the allegiance of the French clergy.

Keywords:   clergy, Innocent III, Feast of Fools, Lothar of Segni, cardinal legates, Peter of Capua, France, papal interdict, peace treaty

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