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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter argues that there was a pillaging problem attached to ecclesiastical interregna, that the nature of ecclesiastical elections contributed to the pillaging "problem," and the problem in turn contributed to a great political crisis of the later Middle Ages, the Great Western Schism. In general, this book follows interregna violence through several means: (1) a survey of ecclesiastical legislation concerning the Empty See to show the level of familiarity the church had with the violence and how it attempted to remedy it; (2) the timing of the violence is discussed through the various methodologies proposed by cultural anthropology; ecclesiastical interregna are analyzed as liminal moments; (3) episodes of Empty See violence are traced chronologically from the early Middle Ages to the early-modern period; and (4) the events of the Schism are detailed to highlight the dialectic between the tradition and the events that initiated the Schism.

Keywords: church; ecclesiastical interregna; electoral pillaging; Empty See violence; Great Western Schism



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