Fosi’s “Papal Justice: Subjects and Courts in the Papal State, 1500-1750”

Readers interested in the late history of ecclesiastical law may want to check out Papal Justice: Subjects and Courts in the Papal State, 1500-1750 (CUA Press 2011), by Irene Fosi (G. D’Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara) (translated by Thomas V. Cohen).  The publisher’s description follows.  — MOD

In early modern Europe, justice was always the key to public order and the state’s main pillar. The pope, though the head of the church, was also a prince like any other, but his justice, as machinery and moral model, displayed the double nature of his rule, targeting not only actions but also beliefs and consciences. Irene Fosi, the doyenne of scholars of papal justice, lays out the ambitious, complex, and sometimes baffled endeavors of the pope’s magistrates and through lively anecdotes gives the flavor of the encounter between the pope’s assorted magistrates, inquisitors, and others, and the men and women hauled before the law.

Originally published in Italian and widely acclaimed, Papal Justice has been translated into English by Thomas V. Cohen, professor of history at York University. With the English edition, this lively overview of the papal justice system reaches a transatlantic readership and makes available the fruit of Fosi’s decades-long research in unpublished archives in Rome and the Vatican.

The book examines the very motley shape of the pope’s territorial domain, the institutions found there, and the relationships between Rome and its outlying cities. Microhistories of how things worked form a clear picture of relations between the sovereign and his subjects.

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