Mapping the Bishop of Avignon: sources of episcopal power in the thirteenth century
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This dissertation explores the medieval bishop's deployment of power in thirteenth-century Provence, arguing that control of a diocese required the efficient use of both sacred and temporal power. Although a bishop's authority derived from his ordained status (potestas ordinis) and his administrative status (potestas jurisdictionis), regarding these categories as mutually exclusive obscures the nature of episcopal power as a flexible, dynamic force. This project considers a bishop's activity in terms of new local/universal categories rather than across a traditional spiritual/temporal divide. Such an approach provides a clearer understanding of the manner in which both spiritual and temporal powers operated in tandem in the bishop's diocesan and international milieux. The case study of the Italian canon lawyer and papal legate Zoen Tencarari (c. 1200-61), who served as bishop of Avignon from 1241-61, reveals concrete mechanisms by which a medieval bishop centralized ecclesiastical power. In the century between the Albigensian crusade (1209-29) and the relocation of the papal curia there (1309-78), Avignon supported the pope's long-term adversary, the Holy Roman Emperor. As a foreigner educated in the pro-papal university of Bologna, Zoen used his experience with thirteenth-century debates on spiritual and secular power to shape his attack on imperial claims on Provence. On the frontier between imperial and French land, Avignon was a contested space that can be recreated, read, and analyzed through digital mapping. Space is a forum for power display: on the local level, Bishop Zoen centralized his power by laying claim to border towns and holy sites, while on the universal level, his itinerant episcopacy and attendance at councils ensured his influence over Provence more broadly. Mapping Zoen's movement in and domination over the urban and rural topographies of Avignon illuminates the bishop's carefully attuned use of spiritual and temporal powers in local and universal arenas. By tracking Zoen's activity in Provence, this study emphasizes both the singularity and the universality of a medieval bishop's experience, which, though part of a Church-wide bureaucracy bound by tradition and legal precedent, was nonetheless rooted in local events and contingent upon the personal skill set of the prelate.