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12. R eligious Palermo: A Panorama between the 12th and the 15th Centuries

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Chapter Summary

The Palermitan church, reconstructed in 12th century, within a zone of Christendom strongly marked by original Greek and Arab features, led the city's inhabitants in the course of three centuries towards a more classical, Italianized and Tuscanized Christianity. Rechristianization began with the foundation by the monarchy and the grandees, that is to say, the Greek- and Arab-speaking emirs, of churches and monasteries clustered together in upper town of the Cassaro, centre of comtal and monarchical power. Of the thirty-five churches attested for the 12th century, there being thirty-two in the city itself and three in its suburb, twenty, or two-thirds, were situated in the Cassaro, and of these the majority were monasteries. The Palermitan Church benefited from a long period of autonomy from the Papacy in the 14th and 15th centuries. Palermitan inventories are rife with the signs of everyday piety, and thus shed light on the culture called "material".

Keywords: Arab; Cassaro; Greek; monarchical power; Palermitan church; Papacy; Rechristianization

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