Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

La Geografia Celeste Dei Duchi Di Savoia. Religione, Devozioni E Sacralità in Uno Stato Di età Moderna (Secoli XVI-XVII)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

La Geografia Celeste Dei Duchi Di Savoia. Religione, Devozioni E Sacralità in Uno Stato Di età Moderna (Secoli XVI-XVII)

Article excerpt

La geografia celeste dei duchi di Savoia. Religione, devozioni e sacralità in uno Stato di età moderna (secoli XVI-XVII). By Paolo Cozzo. [Istituto trentino di cultura: Annali dell'Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento, Monografie, 43.] (Bologna: Societa editrice il Mulino. 2006. Pp. 370. euro 22.00 paperback.)

This absorbing study examines the religious policies of the two dukes, Emanuel Filibert and Charles Emanuel I, who ruled the Savoyard state (straddling the Alpine borderland between France and Italy), between 1559 and 1630. It does not deal with their struggle against Protestantism-a subject that has long attracted intensive scholarly research-but pursues a novel kind of inquiry: how they harnessed the Catholic Reformation to underpin their policies of absolutist state-formation and dynastic self-promotion. The author does not fall into the trap of portraying their faith reductively, as simply an instrumentum regni manipulated for secular purposes. He is not interested in their private devotional life (a field well plowed by earlier scholarship), but in the public practice of their faith. As they refashioned their domains into an avowedly confessional state, their religious and political agendas converged and reinforced one another.

In 1562 Duke Emanuel Filibert transferred the capital across the Alps to Turin from Chambery, in the old heartland of Savoy. But this move did not simply involve shifting the court and the government to a new site. Turin had a long tradition of urban autonomy, embodied in the cults surrounding its patron saints-its "civic religion. "This the dukes systematically undermined, in order to control their new capital. They appropriated some civic saints, notably St. Maurice, who metamorphosed into a dynastic patron; they intruded into civic rituals; they introduced new cults centering on the dynasty. The most important was that of the Holy Shroud, owned by the dynasty since the midfifteenth century. It was conveyed to Turin from Chambéry in 1578 in a solemn translatio that made the city a consecrated space, at once the political and the spiritual heart of the monarchy. …

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