Miguel Gotor

The Frustrated Devotion in Honour of the Theatine Andrea Castaldo Pescara. Neapolitan «Sanctifiers» and the Manipulation of Charismatic Bodies in the Early Modern Age

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Roman Inquisition, Cult of saints in Early Modern Naples, Theatine order, Body conservation techniques

The article examines the proposal to canonize the Theatine father Andrea Castaldo, who died in Naples in 1629 with a reputation for holiness. The Roman Inquisition quickly repressed nascent devotions and tried a Theatine father – a «sanctifier» – charged with having promoted an «affettato cult». He was accused of manipulating the body of the deceased in order to ensure its preservation and smell. The study takes a close look at body preservation techniques in the modern age and how they spread and were practiced in the Kingdom of Naples between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It also examines conflicts within the Theatine order and within the Neapolitan aristocracy who brought about the failure of the proposal for sainthood.

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