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Suspect Saints and Holy HereticsDisputed Sanctity and Communal Identity in Late Medieval Italy$
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Janine Larmon Peterson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501742347

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501742347.001.0001

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Economics, Patronage, and Politics

Economics, Patronage, and Politics

(p.119) Chapter 5 Economics, Patronage, and Politics
Suspect Saints and Holy Heretics

Janine Larmon Peterson

Cornell University Press

This chapter assesses a number of motives beyond religious devotion that played a part in local veneration. There were economic, social, and political considerations that motivated segments of society to support regional cults even with the threat of papal or inquisitorial censure. Earthly rewards included the wealth that accrued to a church or a town, the prestige of establishing a cult, and the benefits of promoting a new saint as a holy patron for resolving political disputes, either between rival factions within a town, between towns, or between a town and the papacy. The chapter then considers wealth and patronage, looking at the cult of Guglielma of Milan, which serves as a centerpiece to demonstrate this concatenation of motives. It also examines a saint's role in promoting peace in war-torn late medieval Italy. The chapter therefore moves from economic to political motives, and from a narrower focus on individuals and institutions to broader considerations of community and region.

Keywords:   religious devotion, regional cults, papacy, inquisitorial censure, wealth, patronage, political disputes, Guglielma of Milan

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