Pope Celestine III (1191-1198): Diplomat and Pastor

By Moore, John C. | The Catholic Historical Review, January 2011 | Go to article overview

Pope Celestine III (1191-1198): Diplomat and Pastor


Moore, John C., The Catholic Historical Review


Pope Celestine III (1191-1198): Diplomat and Pastor. Edited by John Doran and Damián J. Smith. [Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West.] (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing. 2008. Pp. ii, xvi, 370. $99.95; £60.00. ISBN 978-0-754-65671-5.)

This well-produced volume brings the career of Hyacinth Bobone into the light, featuring his distinguished career as papal diplomat as well as his role as Pope Celestine HI- developing policies he inherited and passing them on enhanced to his successor. The work of able scholars, the book is enriched with abundant bibliography in the footnotes, illustrations, maps, and a thorough index. Anyone interested in twelfth-century Europe will find it valuable.

Anne Duggan surveys Hyacinth's seventy-year career in the service of the papacy, giving an especially detailed analysis of the politics of Italy during the reign of Emperor Henry Vl, with Hyacinth making the best of a difficult situation. John Doran examines Hyacinth's life through an extended analysis of politics in Rome and its immediate environs throughout the twelfth century. He portrays Hyacinth as an effective and wise defender of papal interests, a considerate provider for Rome and its people, and a model for the policies of Pope Innocent III.

Damián Smith presents Hyacinth's work as a papal agent in Spain, with a lucid explanation of the complicated ecclesiastical and political competition created by the Christian reconquest.Although Hyacinth achieved little diplomatic success in Spain, Smith suggests that "the energetic, highly respected, purposeful Hyacinth" (p. 109) deserves some credit for the victory at Las Navas de Tolosa years later.

Pascal Montaubin shows that throughout Hyacinth's career, he had many close connections to France, notably his support for Peter Abelard and Gilbert de la Porree, and his friendship with King Louis VE. Peter Edbury makes clear that because Celestine was unable to overcome the dominance of Henry VI, the competing forces in the Levant, and the intractable ambitions of the Spanish princes, he had little influence on crusades in either end of the Mediterranean.

Barbara Bombi asks how the Livonian mission became a crusade, noting that the distinction between military crusade and peaceful mission became blurred in Germany during the 1 190s, as preachers sought support for both the Holy Land and Livonia.

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