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As If God ExistedReligion and Liberty in the History of Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142357

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142357.001.0001

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Republics Protected by God

Republics Protected by God

(p.15) 1 Republics Protected by God
As If God Existed

Maurizio Viroli

, Alberto Nones
Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the religious dimension of communes that emerged in northern and central Italy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The assemblies of citizens that gave birth to the communes gathered in churches. Even when public authorities built their own palaces, public council meetings were always preceded by religious ritual. Furthermore, the communes contributed to consecrating the city through paintings and sculptures of the saints, especially those patron saints who had defended the community from external or internal enemies, and hence had an explicitly civic meaning. The cities were religious, and so were the communes. The communes' religious identity and republicanism went hand in hand, and together engendered a republican religion.

Keywords:   Italian history, communes, republican religion, religious ritual, patron saints, republicanism

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