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Title: Pope Leo IX 1049-1054 : a study of his Pontificate
Author: Smith, Andrew Philip
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis poses a simple but intriguing and powerful question. Can Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) continue to be described as a reforming or reform-minded pope? The approach taken rethinks Leo and rethinks reform and the analysis of each, taken together, leads to a fresh evaluation of what Leo did and how he went about it. This thesis focusses on his pontificate and is not a full life biographical portrait. The historiographical background of the last one hundred and thirty years is comprehensively analysed. This analysis shows that the descriptor of reform has been applied to Leo consistently over that period but that only one attempt has been made to define reform. This thesis puts forward a new definition of reform which is used to provide a framework for evaluation and for clarifying the answer to the thesis question. Leo’s extant papal letters and other sources provide the basis for a new and full analysis of what Leo actually did in his Synods. This analysis shows that Leo used his Synods for complex and multi-faceted purposes. These purposes were not so much to push a reform agenda but more to resolve disputes, to deal with simony and to deal with very many issues related to Church governance. Leo’s letters are also used to analyse afresh the reasons for his many journeys. The analysis shows that Leo’s journeys were undertaken for multiple reasons and were not specifically related to the long standing view that the journeys relate to Leo’s attempt to Europeanise the papacy. Finally the letters are utilised to ask questions of Leo’s overall policy approach to papal governance. This analysis puts forward new ideas about the team in the papal office and reveals a complex landscape of influences. Taken together these strands of analysis show a complex picture and highlight a new perception of Leo and that the long held premise of seeing Leo through the single prism of reform confuses and obscures the real nature of his policy approach and his pontificate. The conclusion of this thesis is that Leo can no longer be accurately described as a reforming pope but rather as an important one who was both a conservative and traditionalist. The implications of this for the grand narrative of the history of eleventh century Europe are considerable. The roles of the other principal actors need to be thought out afresh; the notion of reform itself needs to be reconsidered and the antecedents of the so-called Gregorian reform fall to be re-evaluated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: D History (General) ; D111 Medieval History ; DC France ; DD Germany ; DG Italy