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The Virtues of EconomyGovernance, Power, and Piety in Late Medieval Rome$
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James A. Palmer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501742378

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501742378.001.0001

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To Govern but Not to Rule

(p.196) Conclusion
The Virtues of Economy

James A. Palmer

Cornell University Press

This concluding chapter highlights Pope Boniface IX's engagement with Rome following his ascent to the papacy in 1389. Boniface's accrual of goodwill early in his papacy culminated in the concession to him of dominion over Rome in 1398. Ultimately, the production of social distinction and political legitimacy through the practices described in this book—practices not dependent on communal institutions—was so successful that Rome's political elites lost interest in defending the autonomy of the Roman commune, ceding power willingly to the papacy. It was this transformation of Roman political culture that ultimately enabled the transformation both of Rome and its place in future politics. Appreciating this frees one from a misleading sense of Roman history born from the pens of fifteenth-century humanists and, by so doing, fundamentally alters Rome's place in the political history of Italy and of Europe.

Keywords:   Pope Boniface IX, Rome, papacy, papal dominion, social distinction, political legitimacy, Roman political elites, Roman commune, Roman political culture, autonomy

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