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Bonds of Wool: The Pallium and Papal Power in the Middle Ages
by Steven A. Schoenig
Catholic University of America Press, 2016
Paper: 978-0-8132-3370-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8132-2923-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8132-2922-5
Library of Congress Classification BX1925.S36 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 262.130902

The pallium was effective because it was a gift with strings attached. This band of white wool encircling the shoulders had been a papal insigne and liturgical vestment since late antiquity. It grew in prominence when the popes began to bestow it regularly on other bishops as a mark of distinction and a sign of their bond to the Roman church. Bonds of Wool analyzes how, through adroit manipulation, this gift came to function as an instrument of papal influence. It explores an abundant array of evidence from diverse genres - including chronicles and letters, saints' lives and canonical collections, polemical treatises and liturgical commentaries, and hundreds of papal privileges - stretching from the eighth century to the thirteenth and representing nearly every region of Western Europe. These sources reveal that the papal conferral of the pallium was an occasion for intervening in local churches throughout the West and a means of examining, approving, and even disciplining key bishops, who were eventually required to request the pallium from Rome.

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