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Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325 Paperback – January 23, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press; New edition edition (January 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271029099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271029092
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,175,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This brilliant, innovative, challenging, and often surprising book lays out every conceivable aspect of the religious lives of citizens of the medieval Italian commune. It is also a fascinating exposition of the unexpected ways in which civic communes of central and northern Italy from the late twelfth to the early fourteenth century were indeed 'Cities of God.' --William Bowsky, History: Reviews of New Books

Thompson's stimulating and well-researched volume fills an important gap in our understanding of lived religion in the Italian Middle Ages. His style is fluid and often entertaining, and he skillfully balances comprehensiveness with evocative detail. It deserves to be widely read and debated. --Frances Andrews, University of St. Andrews

Using a wealth of evidence drawn from civic and ecclesiastical statues, tithe lists, saints' lives, art, and architecture, Thompson reminds us that the urban environment was densely packed with expressions of orthodox religion. . . . This book is a stunning achievement. Not only is it a masterful study of the Italian church and lay religion, it calls into question prevailing views of communal society and challenges us to rethink the way we apply terms like 'secular' and 'religious' to medieval society. --David Foote, American Historical Review

Thompson's stimulating and well-researched volume fills an important gap in our understanding of lived religion in the Italian Middle Ages. His style is fluid and often entertaining, and he skillfully balances comprehensiveness with evocative detail. It deserves to be widely read and debated. --Frances Andrews, University of St. Andrews

Using a wealth of evidence drawn from civic and ecclesiastical statues, tithe lists, saints' lives, art, and architecture, Thompson reminds us that the urban environment was densely packed with expressions of orthodox religion. . . . This book is a stunning achievement. Not only is it a masterful study of the Italian church and lay religion, it calls into question prevailing views of communal society and challenges us to rethink the way we apply terms like 'secular' and 'religious' to medieval society. --David Foote, American Historical Review

About the Author

Augustine Thompson, O.P. is Professor of Religious Studies and History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Revival Preachers and Politics in Thirteenth-Century Italy (1992) and, with James Gordley, Gratian: The Treatise on Laws with the Ordinary Gloss (1993).

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Miller on October 23, 2007
Thompson's work is a great study of medieval Italian communes which revises previous assumptions about their poltical and religious character. Rather than early democracies which separated religious practices from local government, Thompson argues persuasively that civic and religious concerns were completely interwoven. The book provides a well researched and deeply detailed study of the daily lives of the lay people of the communes and the significant role of religious beliefs which permeated both their spiritual and civic activities. Thompson focuses primarily on the urban populations of cities which exercised actual or de facto autonomy from the empire.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lisa J. Steele on June 27, 2007
It is a rare book that, having read it, one wonders why it was not written sooner. This is such a book. Thompson surveys religious faith and customs in 12th to 14th century Italy, looking at typical practices and beliefs. The book focuses primarily on the upper classes, perhaps due to a dearth of materials about other urban residents.
Like the author, this reader looks forward to similar books about medieval faith in England, France, and other parts of medieval Europe. This reviewer is moderately well-read in medieval history, but found new insights in nearly every chapter of this book.
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