Colloque – The Dominicans and the making of Florentine cultural identity: Influences and interactions between Santa Maria Novella and the Commune of Florence (1293-1313)

International Conference, University of Zurich, 8th-9th December 2016
Organized by J. Bartuschat, E. Brilli, D. Carron

Scientific organization

Administrative organization


Florence, the celebrated city-republic, dominates the historiography of medieval Italy still today. Her glory and crises define the paradigm for investigating other medieval city-states; she stood at the forefront of European politics; her banking and commercial networks made her economy unpowered in its effective power; and her citizens – the most famous of whom, Dante Alighieri, was himself one of the main causes for this historiographical success – became dominant figures in world culture. This historiographical interest finds fuel in the unmatched importance of the sources: communal, commercial, notarial archives, chronicles, account books, as well as literary and artistic artefacts. The birth and growth of the Mendicant Orders paralleled the rise of urban Europe. As attention to medieval cities has increased, so too the history of the Dominican Order has constituted a major field of study, since the Dominicans were at the forefront of the cultural and religious life of Medieval cities.

The combination of these two research fields precipitates a particularly fruitful topic, namely the Dominican contribution to the construction of Florentine cultural identity. The convent of Santa Maria Novella, the only Dominican convent in Florence at the turn of the 14th century, deserves to be studied in detail, building on the pioneering researches of Nicholai Rubinstein, Charles T. Davis, Emilio Panella and Carlo Delcorno, among others.

Indeed, from the promulgation of the Ordinamenti di Giustizia del Secondo Popolo government (1293) to the victorious resistance against the Emperor Henry VII (1313), Florence witnessed an extraordinary fertile conjunction: on the one hand, a series of social and political turmoil put the very nature of the Commune into question; on the other hand, the arrival of a particularly talented cadre of Dominican thinkers and orators, such as Remigio dei Girolami, Tolomeo da Lucca, Paolo dei Pilastri, Riccoldo da Monte Croce, Giordano da Pisa, Bartolomeo da San Concordio, brought about a profound renewal of cultural life. The conventual school of Santa Maria Novella and its masters produced a collection of political texts in connection to major events in Florentine politics, precisely at the time that Dante would have visited the convent. These texts reveal well-informed intellectuals directly and deeply involved in the Commune’s life and crises. In a similar way, the oratory, scientific and literary productions of the Dominican friars actively nourished contemporary debates, by promoting both an important cultural mediation thanks to the global network of the Dominican order and new reflections on the origin, role, function and goal of the local civic community.

This conference intends to analyse the reciprocal influences and interactions between the activities and works of this constellation of Dominican intellectuals and the making of Florentine cultural identity through the social and political events that consumed the public life of the Commune between 1293 and 1313.

Programme :

December 8, 2016

8h30-9h – Registration and Coffee

9h-9h30 – Welcome and Greetings – Johannes Bartuschat (Zurich), Elisa Brilli (Toronto-Zurich), Delphine Carron (Zurich)
9h30-10h30 – In memory of Thomas Ricklin
10h30-11h – Coffee break

11h-13h00 – Session I: The Convent and the City
Chair: Francesco Bruni (Venezia)

Cecilia Inannella (Pisa) – Giordano da Pisa e il pubblico. Modelli e comportamenti
Nicolò Maldina (Edimburgh) – Il predicatore e la città. Sull’immagine di Firenze nella predicazione di Giordano da Pisa

13h-15h – Lunch break (reserved to speakers)

15h-17h15 – Session II: The Convent and the Commune
Chair: Alexander Brungs (Zurich)

Roberto Lambertini (Macerata) – L’usura tra Santa Croce e Santa Maria Novella: Pietro de Trabibus e Remigio de Girolami a confronto
Andrea Tabarroni (Udine) – Social and political views in the Franciscan Convent of S. Croce at the end of the 13th Century
Delphine Carron (Zurich) – Réactions et implications de Remigio de’ Girolami face aux événements politiques florentins (1293-1302)
17h15-18h – Break

18h-19h30 – Keynote conference I
Chair : Vilem Mudroch (Zurich)

Ruedi Imbach (Paris) – Une métaphysique thomiste florentine.
Quelques remarques sur le traité De modis rerum de Rémi de Florence
20h – Dinner (reserved to speakers)

December 9, 2016

9h-10h30 – Keynote conference II
Chair: Johannes Bartuschat (Zurich)

Francesco Bruni (Venezia) – Dante, Remigio dei Girolami, l’Ordine dei Predicatori: teologia e politica
10h30-11h – Coffee Break

11h-13h – Session III: Five contemporary research projects
Chair: Elisa Brilli (Toronto – Zurich/FNS)

Round table with the participation of:

Joël Chandelier (Paris) – « Les savoirs dans les ordres mendiants (Italie, XIIIe-XVe siècle) » (EFR)
Delphine Carron (Zurich) – « Santa Maria Novella et la commune de Florence (1293-1313). Enquête philosophique sur les écrits politiques des dominicains florentins contemporains de Dante » (FNS)
Sonia Gentili (Roma) – « Una biblioteca nella Firenze di Dante: i manoscritti di Santa Croce » (Società Dantesca Italiana ; Sapienza Università di Roma ; Notre Dame University)
Nicolò Maldina (Edinburgh), Anna Pegoretti (Venezia), Paola Nasti (Reading) – « Dante and Late-Medieval Florence. Theology in Poetry. Practice and Society » (AHRC-project, Leeds)
Antonio Montefusco (Venezia), Maria Conte (Venezia) – « BIFLOW (Bilingualism in Florentine and Tuscan Works (ca. 1260 – ca. 1416) » (ERC-EHESS-Venezia)
13h-14h15 – Lunch break (reserved to speakers)

14h15-17h45 – Session IV: The Dominican Convent and its cultures
Chair : Ruedi Imbach (Paris)

Anna Pegoretti (Venezia) – Lo Studium, la biblioteca e il convento di Santa Maria Novella nel Duecento: stato dell’arte
Paola Nasti (Reading) – Florentine quodlibetal culture in the age of Dante
15h45-16h15 – Coffee break

Blaise Dufal (Melbourne) – Racines scolastiques de l’humanisme florentin : Nicolas Trevet et Sénèque
Sonia Gentili (Roma) – Poesia e filosofia a Firenze tra Santa Croce e Santa Maria Novella

18h – Conclusions

Source : Universität Zürich

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