During the recurring wars between Pisa and Lucca in the 13th and 14th centuries, each city-state sought to define itself as more magnificent than its neighbouring rival by establishing a tradition of an historical connection of their diocesan territory to Peter the Apostle. The Pisans claimed that Peter had visited their diocese and established the church of San Piero a Grado, while the Lucchese discovered the body of Saint Paulinus, Lucca’s first bishop and a disciple of Peter sent to convert the city. Both cities aimed to use their Petrine legacy to distinguish themselves. The similarity of their claims reveals a shared belief that ties to the early Christian church played a key role in contemporary political disputes.
The phenomenon of ecclesiastical fraternitas or societas has long been known to scholars but is only marginally present in the historiography of the central Middle Ages. This paper intends to examine fraternitas and societas in 11th-century churches, and will focus in particular on the granting of this ill-defined privilege to lay patrons. Through a series of sample cases drawn from institutions from a broad swath of Central France, from Southern Burgundy to Northern Aquitaine, this paper will explore how lay aristocrats used these grants to establish and maintain prestigious and conspicuous links with the church, while reformers sought increasingly to exclude them through a more rigid lay/clerical divide.
This brief study has, as its main objective, the analysis of the presence of the nobility on the south river banks of Douro, where traditionally, historians have agreed that it is best characterized by its municipal structures. Nevertheless, we strongly believe that this assertion is result to an overall wrong generalization. We intend to demonstrate, based on three vectors (Parish patronage; the concentration of nobles’ properties; and the ‘privileged land’ phenomena proliferation), during King Afonso III of Portugal reign, that in fact, the other side of Douro river, is a continuation of the northern and old reality, rather than the transition to a new one.