An Excessively Rare Example of a Papal Bull from Innocent III, The Most Important Man in Europe during his Reign (1198-1216)

SETTLING A BOUNDARY DISPUTE BETWEEN THE MONASTERY ATTACHED TO THE LATERAN PALACE AND THE PRIORY OF SANTI QUATTRO CORONATI.

([Rome]: 2 December 1210). 206 x 293 mm. (8 1/8 x 11 1/2"). 12 lines in a papal documentary script.

Attractively framed. Lead bulla suspended on silk threads. Very light rubbing to ink in places, one horizontal and three vertical creases (each with a tiny hole where the folds meet), lead seal showing a bit of wear around edges and to protuberances of the faces, but these faults all quite minor, and on the whole an excellent specimen.

Beautifully preserved and with the original lead bulla still attached, this document, issued by one of the most powerful popes of the Middle Ages, resolves a dispute between the monastery attached to the Lateran Palace and the priory of Santi Quattro Coronati (Four Holy Martyrs). The two groups seem to have been in conflict over their respective parish boundaries and the inclusion or exclusion of certain churches (and therefore the tithes and legal dues stemming from those churches) within their particular networks of influence. According to this bull, the cardinal priest of Sts. Peter and Paul was charged with hearing their petitions; based on his report, Pope Innocent III decrees that the boundaries of the priory's parish will extend to the church of St. Nicholas "de formis" on one side, and the arch of John the Baptist "intra formis" on the other side (with "de formis" and "intra formis" possibly referring to their relative position to certain aqueducts in the city). The document also notes that it does not alter parish boundaries as formerly defined by Pope Calixtus II (r. 1119-24). The present item falls into a category of papal documents known as "litterae solemnes" (comprising solemn letters and simple privileges). Though somewhat shorter and less formal than the so-called "Great Bulls," which were very large and included many marks and signatures for authentication, "litterae solemnes" still followed strict rules in terms of format and appearance, and included a lead seal displaying the pope's name on one side, and the visages of Sts. Peter and Paul on the other, as here. (For a full overview of papal bulls and their various formats, see Clemens & Graham, "Introduction to Manuscript Studies," pp. 230-36). Innocent III (born Lotario dei Conti di Segni, 1160 or 1161-1216) was considered the most powerful person in Europe during his reign (1198-1216), having done much to consolidate the power of the Holy See and exert influence over the affairs of nations near and far. Notably, he proclaimed the supremacy of the church over secular authority, launched the Fourth Crusade (which ended in the sacking of Constantinople), presided over the Fourth Lateran Council, excommunicated King John of England and nullified the Magna Carta, and vigorously suppressed heretical sects such as the Cathars. Papal bulls issued by Innocent III seem to be of the utmost rarity on the market; we could find just one other example recorded by ABPC and RBH as sold in the past 100 years, going for a hammer price of €9,000 ($10,999) in 2013.
(ST16379-036)

Add to Cart Price: $25,000.00

PJP Catalog: 79.005

SETTLING A BOUNDARY DISPUTE BETWEEN THE MONASTERY ATTACHED TO THE LATERAN PALACE AND THE PRIORY OF SANTI QUATTRO CORONATI. PAPAL BULL ON VELLUM, POPE INNOCENT III.
SETTLING A BOUNDARY DISPUTE BETWEEN THE MONASTERY ATTACHED TO THE LATERAN PALACE AND THE PRIORY OF SANTI QUATTRO CORONATI.

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