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An Assessment of the Political Symbolism of the City of Rome in the Writings of John of Salisbury

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This article focuses on John of Salisbury’s analysis of contemporary Rome (its citizenry, its revived “republican” institutions, its ecclesiastical role, and its ancient symbolism), examining the extent to which John’s study and use of classical Roman political ideas was interwoven with his perceptions of the contemporary city. It argues that John’s use of Rome as a metaphor, specifically the trope of the avaricious Roman, had a significant impact on John’s critique and presentation of contemporary political events such as the re-establishment of the Senate, the difficulties experienced by the papacy in their efforts to control Rome, and the controversial activities of Arnold of Brescia.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Cultural Disciplines, Universiteit Leiden Witte Singel-complex, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, 2311 BV Leiden The Netherlands


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