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The Rituals of Renaissance: Liturgy and Mythic History in The Marvels of Rome

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The Mirabilia urbis romae offers us insight into the symbolic meaning of the streetscape of Rome from the perspective of a canon of St. Peter’s. It should be read alongside the contemporary Roman Ordo with which it was certainly associated in the twelfth century. When read in that context, the Mirabilia serves as a kind of direct and indirect commentary on the papal liturgy. The papal liturgies at Easter and Christmas moved through an environment that was “re-written” by the Mirabilia as a narrative of Christian Roman renewal and of triumph throughout the Mediterranean world. The Mirabilia celebrates both Roman renewal and hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean, giving heightened significance to the liturgical life of the twelfth-century papacy. The papal liturgy, at these most triumphant processional moments, celebrated that historic and, ultimately, eschatological triumph.

Affiliations: 1: Religious Studies Department, Faulkner House 303, Drew University 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940 USA


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