A sacred city

Consecrating churches and reforming society in eleventh-century Italy

By Louis Hamilton

A sacred city

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8026-5
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: July 2010
  • BIC Category: History, Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholic Church, History & Archaeology, CE period up to c 1500, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, RELIGION / Christianity / Catholic, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, Humanities / Medieval history, Medieval History
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Studies


The so-called Investiture Conflict was a watershed moment in the political life of the Latin West and the history of the papacy. Occurring at a time of rapid social change and political expansion, the eleventh-century reform movement became a debate centered on a ritual: the investment of bishops with the signs of their sacred and secular authority. The consecration of bishops, however, was only one of several contemporaneous conflicts over the significance of consecrations. Less well known is that which occurred over the dedication of churches. This book provides an examination of the consecration, placing the fundamental questions of the Gregorian Reform and Investiture Conflict back into their original liturgical framework. This context allows us to consider the symbolic richness of the liturgy that attracted large numbers of people.


This is an important work for any number of reasons: it is an extremely well-researched book that takes into account a wide range of sources and specialised literature on medieval liturgy, socio-religious history, commentary, canon law and the so-called Gregorian reform. It will fill a gap in the existing historiography of reform.
Kathleen Cushing, English Historical Review, cxxvii. 528 (Oct. 2012)

'a fresh perspective on a stale historiographical, tradition, a vivid portrait that evokes the true power of consecrations in, reforming Italian society in the late-eleventh and early-twelfth centuries'
Kriston Rennie, Catholic Historical Review


Introduction: a sacred city
1. The liturgies for the dedication of a new church
2. "Turba concurrit": attending the ritual and its meanings
3. Peter Damian from mystical to political allegory
4. Anselm of Lucca, Urban II and the invention of orthodox dedication
5. Bruno of Segni and Paschal II: from coordination to conflict
Conclusion: liturgy and history
Appendix A: Italian dedications with named participants
Appendix B: papal dedications (1009-1143)


Louis I. Hamilton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Drew University

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout