Book Series Westfield Publications in Medieval and Renaissance Studies , vol. 7

Preaching Friars and the Civic Ethos

Siena, 1380-1480

Bernadette Paton

  • Pages: 367 p.
  • Size:140 x 220 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:1996

Not Available
  • ISBN: 978-1-870059-06-0
  • Hardback
  • Not Available


This work examines, within the social, economic, and political context of the Sienese Commune of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the system of moral theology and civic ethics which was formulated and actively disseminated by the mendicant friars of three orders: Dominican, Franciscan, and Augustinian. The study is based on a variety of pastoral literature, including sermons, confessional manuals, prescriptive literature for parish clergy, and collections of moral exemplars. This material is used to examine the way in which the friars sought to popularize traditonal scholastic moral doctrine and transform it into a system of ethics comprehensible to layment and applicable to their everyday lives within the actual conditions of life in the Italian mercantile commune, as exemplified in Siena. It includes an analysis of the work of the well-known Franciscan preacher, Bernardino of Siena, alongside that of other local preachers. The work is of relevance to both undergraduates and advanced scholars with an interest in the city-state in late medieval and Renaissance Italy. It is especially pertinent to those interested in civic religion, the role of the mendicant orders in promoting civic consciousness, and the application of scholastic moral theology to social problems by popular preachers and pastoral writers. Contents: The background -- The media and the message -- Images of the city : the government of the commune -- Rectors and neighbours : justice and charity as political virtues -- The ethics of the just economy -- Regole della vita matrimoniale : moral theology, marriage and the family -- The bene commune and the supernatural world -- Perversions of the civic spirit : gambling, greed and vanity