Subverting a Papal Message? Master Gregory’s use of the Mirabilia urbis Romae

Kynan-Wilson, William (2018). Subverting a Papal Message? Master Gregory’s use of the Mirabilia urbis Romae. Journal of Medieval History, 44(3) pp. 347–364.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03044181.2018.1467579

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the relationship between two descriptions of Rome produced in the central Middle Ages: the Mirabilia urbis Romae (c.1140–3) attributed to the papal writer Canon Benedict and the Narracio de mirabilibus urbis Romae (c.1200) by the otherwise unknown author Master Gregory. In contrast to previous studies, it demonstrates a range of significant and revealing associations between these accounts that indicates Gregory was a knowledgeable and receptive reader of the papal Mirabilia in some form. It will be shown that the Narracio imitates, misreads and subverts the Mirabilia in such a manner that suggests it is a parodic and satiric response by its enigmatic author. In closing, this essay explores the possible implications of Gregory's responses to the papal messages within the Mirabilia.

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