The book examines the history of eight convents founded in Palermo between the eleventh and the fourteenth centuries from a social, economic, and cultural point of view by reconstructing their foundation, assets, and the profile of nuns and abbesses. The founders gave the convents properties of different value in Palermo and its environs that became their main financial asset. Only half of the convents had a fief that supplied agro-pastoral products for their basic food requirement. Monastic life was considered the best choise for a woman, furthermore, the dowry of the nuns was far less than that given to brides, this avoided drawing on family properties. Nuns lived longer than lay women thanks to better diet and health care and because isolation protected them from violence and epidemics. Convents helped orphans, beggars, and the sick. They had a very close relationship with the city: the municipal archive was kept in San Salvatore and the most crowded city councils were held in the Chapter House of Santa Caterina. After entering the convents, the nuns maintained relations with their families; they could leave the convents to be cured or to go on pilgrimage with a special license. Scandals broke out in some convents. The citizens of Palermo claimed that Santa Caterina was frequented by young and shameless laymen; the nuns of San Salvatore were accused of being slaves to carnal pleasures. In the fifteenth century the painters Giacomo de Comite and Tommaso de Vigilia worked for San Salvatore, Santa Maria del Cancelliere, Santa Maria delle Vergini, Santa Chiara, and San Giovanni dell’Origlione, proof of the important role played by the convents of Palermo in artistic commission.
|Editore||University Press Palermo|
|Numero di pagine||310|
|ISBN (stampa)||978-88-5509-145-9; 978-88-5509-146-6|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2020|