Serena Di Nepi

The "Restitutiones ad libertatem" of Slaves in Early Modern Rome: Annotations on Unheeded Phenomenon (1516-1645)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Christian-Islamic Relationships; Mediterranean History; History of Slavery.

The emancipation of the baptized slaves was a major issue in the political and religious debate of the Early Modern Age. Despite a centuries-old tradition had been establishing that baptism entailed the liberation of the spirit and not the freedom for the body, Roman customs went on a di+erent path. Since 1566, a "motuproprio" by Pope Paul V ("Dignum et Rationi") circumvented the problem by giving the Conservatori of Rome (i.e. the local authority) the power to grant freedom to the baptized slaves that were able to reach the Campidoglio. The statement of Pope Paul V invested an ancient Capitoline custom, dating back to the Caracalla's law on Roman citizenship. By examining data stored in the documentation kept in the Archivio Storico Capitolino in Rome - from 1516 (even before the intervention of Pope Ghislieri) to 1797 - it's possible to deeply investigate the role played by this unique privilege in the management of the continuous relationship between Rome (and the Catholic Church) and the rest of the world (from the Ottoman Empire to the far Eastern areas).

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