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Germany and the Papacy in the Late Middle Ages

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2020

DAVID D'AVRAY
Affiliation:
University College London
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Extract

Towards the end of the twentieth century much UK public money for research was diverted to collaborative projects with specific research objectives, notably in the field of history. This distinguished the UK from other countries on the cutting edge of historical research, notably the USA which lags far behind, but not from Germany, which had long led the way when it comes to teamwork with a clearly defined theme, and where average budgets for historical research projects are still on a scale unimaginable on this side of the Channel. One of the greatest German historical enterprises is the Repertorium Germanicum. The project was conceived in the 1890s, and linked from the start with the German Historical Institute in Rome, from which so much fine work on papal history has emerged, notably by Protestant scholars. The first secretary of the DHI (Deutsches Historisches Institut) had the idea of creating a ‘search engine’ (Suchmaschine). It was to be and is organised within pontificates by the names of individuals who appear in documents in the Vatican Archives: a prosopographical structure. Though the individuals need a ‘German’ connection to be included, that is interpreted in the broadest sense, so that dioceses from Poland to Belgium find a place, as do any Germans who turn up in any other region, if the team happened upon them. Consultation online is now also possible, at < http://194.242.233.132/denqRG/index.htm>, though the volumes under review did not seem to have been made available electronically at time of writing – and many will find the paper volumes easier to manage, where they are available. Ludwig Quidde, who conceived of the project, thought that it could be completed up to the end of the fifteenth century by a team of five within three years. He had no idea of the scale of the holdings in the archive. Furthermore, alongside the Repertorium Germanicum one must now place its precocious younger sister, the Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum, which has (thanks to Ludwig Schmugge and his team) already overtaken the elder sibling with Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum, XI: Hadrian VI,1522–1523, ed. Ludwig Schmugge (Tübingen 2018).

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2020

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References

1 Frustrating because the large existing literature seems to leave basic questions unanswered. One would expect a straightforward account from Barraclough's, G.Papal provisions: aspects of church history, constitutional, legal and administrative in the later Middle Ages (Oxford 1935)Google Scholar, but it is not up to the standard of the brilliant essays on papal diplomatic from the same phase of his career. Conversely, Hitzbleck, K., Exekutoren: die ausserordentliche Kollatur von Benefizien im Pontifikat Johannes’ XXII (Tübingen 2009)Google Scholar, is so concerned to set Barraclough's interpretation straight as to distract the reader from her (important) positive findings.

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