Tam Grecos Quam Latinos: A Reinterpretation of Structural Change in Eastern-Rite Monasticism in Medieval Southern Italy, 11th-12th Centuries

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Morton, James Deas David Jack
History , Medieval , Monasticism , Italy , Byzantium , Schism , Agriculture , Demography
In the eleventh and twelfth centuries southern Italy passed irrevocably out of Byzantine control and into Norman control, at roughly the same time as the Roman papacy and the Christians of the East were beginning to divide into what we now know as the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Historians have typically viewed the history of southern-Italian monasticism in this period around the notion of a cultural conflict between Latins and Greeks, either arguing for or against the idea that the Italo-Normans had a policy of ‘latinisation’ with regards to Eastern-rite monasteries. This thesis will argue, however, that this conceptual framework obscures more important long-term economic and social factors that affected Germany, Italy and Byzantium alike. Having outlined the political and social context of southern-Italy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 will demonstrate the manner in which southern-Italian monasticism was firmly embedded into a network of cultural and social contacts in the broader Mediterranean world, and especially with Byzantium, even during the Norman domination. Chapter 3 will focus on the fundamental patterns of southern-Italian monastic change in the early Middle Ages, emphasising the gradual movement from informal asceticism to organised monastic hierarchies. Chapter 4 will set forth the essential irrelevance of viewing this structural change in terms of ‘Latin’ and ‘Greek’ identities, underlining the point that the distinction is largely meaningless in the context of monastic change. Chapter 5 will explain by contrast the far greater significance of economic and social expansion to monastic change in both ‘Latin’ and ‘Greek’ areas of the Mediterranean, and especially southern Italy. Finally, Chapter 6 will show that consolidation in southern-Italian monastic structures was not simply part of a centrally-directed papal reform movement, but part of a wider range of innovations undertaken on a local basis throughout the peninsula and the rest of the Mediterranean, with a considerable range of influences. An extensive selection of literary and documentary evidence will be examined in both Latin and Greek, with an especial focus on the monastic and ecclesiastical archives of southern Italy.
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