The Coasts of the Patrimonium Petri as Hybrid Spaces

Dr. Kordula Wolf

Coasts are spaces that are constantly changing under the influence of very different factors. On the one hand they pose particular challenges for the people who inhabit and govern them, while providing them on the other hand with special resources and opportunities. A historical study of these near-sea regions as hybrid spaces incorporates several levels: a topographical level determined by the dichotomy and blurred boundary between land and water; an entangled level focusing on exchange, transfer, networks, linking local and transregional perspectives; a political-administrative level, which deals with divergent power and ownership relationships or claims; an economic level involving local resources, economy and trade; a level of social and mental history which deals with how people acquire, inhabit, change, structure and protect space, especially in the face of environmental and climate-induced uncertainties and threats from the sea; and finally, a perceptive level that deals with different spatial perceptions. The case study, dedicated to the regions of the terra Sancti Petri along the Mediterranean shores, analyses the complex interplay of all these levels in historical development. The period under consideration extends from the time of Gregory the Great (590–604) as a time of intense reorganisation of the activities of the Roman Church, the papal possessions and administration up to the pontificate of Pope Innocent III (1198–1216), through whose recuperation policy the 'Papal State' experienced its last major territorial change in the Middle Ages. The study is not only aimed at identifying the relevance of coastal areas for the territories managed by the Roman bishop in general, and in particular for the city of Rome, adding a maritime dimension to the land-fixed history of early and medieval papacy; but, also at dealing with coasts as hybrid spaces, it seeks to make a new contribution to Mediterranean studies regarding the medieval period.

Dr. Kordula Wolf
Researcher, Responsible for Early und High Middle Ages, Head of Editing and Public Relations, Editor of the Series "Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom", Technical Support for the Online Publications (without Databases)
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