La Chiesa del re. Monarchia e Papato nella Sicilia spagnola (secc. XVI-XVII)

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Few ecclesiastical provinces in early modern Europe had politics as complex as Sicily. The Sicilian Church was unique in having had so many of its richest benefices re-founded by the Norman kings who conquered the island from the Arabs in the eleventh century [...] The Habsburgs, who were Sicily’s ruling dynasty in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, had inherited it as part of the Crown of Aragon, by this time a sprawling conglomerate of territories in the Western Mediterranean. Conflicts between King and pope about the exercise of their respective rights on the island were almost as numerous as those between the Crown and Sicily’s old medieval feudal class. Ferdinand II, the last Trastámara King of Aragon, won an important concession from pope Innocent VIII in 1487 such that the pope recognized a royal right of presentation (appointment) to the ten Sicilian bishoprics, two quasi-bishoprics, thirty-two abbeys and thirty-one minor benefices. But for the next hundred and fifty years or so Ferdinand’s Habsburg successors and their local agents had to fight hard to exercise this right as they saw fit. They feared, not unreasonably, that popes would obfuscate or attempt to rein the privilege in; they also found themselves constrained by the Alternativa, a convention by which the holders of benefices alternated between ‘native’ Sicilians and ‘foreign’ Spaniards. Indeed, the international conflict, between Spanish King and Italian pope, intersected many other conflicts: the local, between Sicily’s many competing ecclesiastical jurisdictions, the centre-periphery, between the Viceroyalty’s officials and the central government in Madrid, and the central, within the government in Madrid itself. The process of asserting royal control over the Sicilian Church – making it ‘The King’s Church’ – was thus a slow one which involved diverse actors in multiple roles. [from Miles Pattenden, review in «American Historical Review», vol. 122/5 (2017), pp. 1696–97]
Original languageItalian
Number of pages188
ISBN (Print)978-88-430-7954-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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