[Paper:] Andreas Rehberg (Rome) : Heraldry in municipal Rome – some reflections on a scarcely studied topic

EvenHeraldry_Medieval_City though the Eternal City today looks like a city particularly rich in heraldry, this first impression is due to the abundant use of heraldry from the sixteenth century onwards, employed as a baroque means of self-representation by the ecclesiastical estates (especially popes and cardinals) within the city’s space and its churches. In the light of this predominance of the curial world, the celebration of civil power and heraldry of the Roman families remains in the shadows. As a result of the continuous urban transformations, which Rome suffered from the Sacco of 1527 onwards, the remains of the heraldry of the Middle Ages and Renaissance are scarce and often hidden. There is no systematical study of narrative sources for a better knowledge of the use of heraldry in municipal Rome. The first armorials which survived derive from the work of a few antiquarians interested in the heraldic topic in the sixteenth century. This social-cultural approach tries to open up tracks for research regarding the role played by heraldry in Roman society from the 13th to the 16th century. It aims to identify the various groups that used it (the town of Rome, the laity, the clergy, the members and the heads of the Roman Curia etc.). The general pluriform framework is a consequence of the known social mingling in Rome with the local population, members of other Italian regions, and of the strangers from abroad who arrived in town because of their commitments to the Curia or because of their craft and commercial activities. In this perspective, Rome makes for an interesting laboratory for knowledge and exchanges on heraldry on European scale.


Conference: Heraldry in the Medieval City: The Case of Italy in the European Context (Journées Héraldiques 5), Rome, 5th-7th May 2015


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