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Polemical Warfare in the Papal and Royal Chanceries (1073–1082)

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Chapter Summary

The distribution pattern of the royal letters identifies 1076-1077 as the beginning of polemical warfare. The struggle against anti-pope Guibert of Ravenna had widespread literary repercussions. The papacy instigated the polemical warfare, and was immediately joined by Gebhard of Salzburg. While the royal chancery took the propagandistic initiative by addressing Hildebrand, the German bishops and the Roman clergy and people with one stroke of the pen, the papacy struck back hard in the summer of 1076. In short, an analysis of the literary and argumentative structure of the letter discloses a firmly crafted letter in which the papal chancery has transcended the formal confines of the private polemic of 1076. The chanceries displayed a remarkable ability to adjust the discourse to suit different audiences and it is this ability, as much as the substantial aspects of the letters, which accounts for their importance.

Keywords: papacy; papal chancery; polemical warfare; royal chancery



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