Journal Article

<i>Fiat A:</i> the Earliest Known Roll of Petitions Signed by the Pope (1307)

P. A. Linehan and P. N. R. Zutshi

in The English Historical Review

Volume CXXII, issue 498, pages 998-1015
Published in print September 2007 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online September 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI:
Fiat A: the Earliest Known Roll of Petitions Signed by the Pope (1307)

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The vast majority of papal letters in the Middle Ages were issued not on the initiative of the pope or his government but in response to petitions addressed to him from all over Latin Christendon. They were submitted either individually or in groups, the latter category being called rolls (rotuli). Original petitions, written on strips of parchment or paper or in the form of rolls, rarely survive, but they are of particular interest since they show the precise format and phraseology of the petition and in most cases various additions made following submission, notably the signature of the pope. The present Note discusses and prints an original roll of petitions in the Archivo Histórico Nacional, Madrid, surviving among the archives of the convent of Uclés, which was the headquarters of the Order of Santiago. It contains nine petitions submitted by the Order to Pope Clement V. Three of the petitions received the pope's approval with the word Fiat followed by the initial A. (what the A. stands for is unclear); four more received the same response but with stipulations which to a greater or lesser extent modified the favours requested; and two received no response at all, meaning that they were rejected. The Madrid rotulus contains the earliest petitions signed by the pope with Fiat followed by an initial, a method of approving petitions which can be shown to have been introduced by Clement V and was to endure for centuries.

Journal Article.  9322 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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