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Electoral Politics and the Florentine Clergy: A Meeting of the Maius Concilium in 1424

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The report of the meeting of the Maius Concilium or Great Council of the Florentine clergy held on 15 November 1424 is a valuable and highly detailed document: it shows that the mixture of conciliar and republican elements in the Constitutiones Sinodales (c. 1418) was actually practised; permits a view of how the clergy themselves perceived the relative significance of their different elements; offers the possibility of determining whether the system proposed by the Constitutiones was actually honoured in reality; and presents the operation of the clerical corporation within the framework of the clergy's relations with the laity and with Rome. The meeting indicates that power did not flow smoothly down the ecclesiastical hierarchy from archbishop to clergy, and that clerical politics reflect shifting alignments and a delicate balancing of theory, serendipity and pragmatism.

Keywords: Catholic Church; Florence; Italy; Politics

Document Type: Original Article


Publication date: 1991-12-01

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