Rosamond McKitterickMay 23, 2023
Rome and the Invention of the Papacy
The Liber Pontificalis
Cambridge University Press 2020
The remarkable, and permanently influential, papal history known as the Liber pontificalis shaped perceptions and the memory of Rome, the popes, and the many-layered past of both city and papacy within western Europe. In Rome and the Invention of the Papacy: The Liber Pontificalis (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Dr. Rosamond McKitterick offers a new analysis of this extraordinary combination of historical reconstruction, deliberate selection and political use of fiction, to illuminate the history of the early popes and their relationship with Rome. She examines the content, context, and transmission of the text, and the complex relationships between the reality, representation, and reception of authority that it reflects.
The Liber pontificalis presented Rome as a holy city of Christian saints and martyrs, as the bishops of Rome established their visible power in buildings, and it articulated the popes' spiritual and ministerial role, accommodated within their Roman imperial inheritance. Drawing on wide-ranging and interdisciplinary international research, Rome and the Invention of the Papacy offers pioneering insights into the evolution of this extraordinary source, and its significance for the history of early medieval Europe.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.