A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages

A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages

A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages

A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages


This classic text outlines the development of the papacy as an institution in the Middle Ages. With profound knowledge, insight and sophistication, Walter Ullmann traces the course of papal history from the late Roman Empire to its eventual decline in the Renaissance.The focus of this survey is on the institution and the idea of papacy rather than individual figures, recognizing the shaping power of the popes' roles that made them outstanding personalities. The transpersonal idea, Ullmann argues, sprang from Christianity itself and led to the papacy as an institution sui generis .


The reprinting of this book gives me a welcome opportunity to bring the literature on certain topics up to date. In order to avoid the expense incurred by resetting all the Bibliographical Notes I have adopted a device which has proved useful on other occasions: I have put asterisks (*) in the margin of the relevant note to indicate to the interested reader that there is further bibliographical material in the Appendix.

This book is an attempt to portray within manageable terms the history of the medieval papacy by combining a straightforward historical account with the intellectual, constitutional, legal and administrative developments. Originally I embarked upon this novel attempt with great trepidation, but have been gratified and encouraged by the reception of the book in scholarly circles and in the student population. No changes in substance are called for, but I have taken the opportunity of eliminating a few misprints and of correcting a few minor matters. May this book continue to serve the purpose for which it was originally designed, that is, to introduce the serious student to the historical development of one of the central and most fascinating institutions of medieval Europe.


29 July 1973 W.U.

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