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1.The registers of Innocent III

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Chapter Summary

Beginning at least as early as the fourth century, popes and their functionaries preserved copies of important letters and other documents, but it was only in the pontificate of Pope Innocent III, the pope of the Fourth Crusade, that a consistent archival policy was set in place to preserve in a systematic manner papal correspondence. Letters deemed especially significant were copied into bound volumes known as registers and were arranged by pontifical year. Needless to say, Innocent's papal registers provide historians with an invaluable body of evidence, but they are also flawed in several ways. In addition to these flaws, gaps, and eccentricities that compromise somewhat the value and usefulness of Innocent's registers, there is a nagging question that begs addressing: to what extent do the extant enregistered letters show us the mind and personality of Innocent III?

Keywords: Fourth Crusade; Pope Innocent III



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