News from the Archives
This section presents news on the findings and achievements of the group in the context of its activities in archives. In particular, it offers information on the progress of the inventory project “Reorganization of the Archive of the Congregation of the Council (Vatican Secret Archives)”
The positiones of the Congregation of the Council as a source for the study of legal practitioners in Rome in the early modern age
During the process of inventorying the archival series ASV, Congr. Concilio, Positiones (Sess.) that the research group is carrying out and which includes documents from 1567 to 1681, the names of more than 330 legal professionals (advocati, notarii, procuratores) emerged. These figures had the delicate task of representing the acting parties in the Roman dicasteries and courts and in particular in the Congregation of the Council. These figures, often barely touched by historiography, play a fundamental role in understanding the functioning of Roman dicasteries and in defining the relations between local churches and the Apostolic See. The number of these legal practitioners is destined to increase, given that the list refers only to the first 60 volumes of the 271 volumes of the Positiones (Sess.) inventoried. The research group is identifying these figures whose names and activities will become an integral part of the GraphDB of the Congregation of the Council.
In the beginning was the case… and we have more than 33.000!
The Max-Planck Research Group is glad to inform that in November 2017 the second phase of the team research project Reorganisation and description of the archive of the Congregation of the Council was successfully concluded, that is, the analysis, inventory and description of the whole amount of Positiones by the Congregation of the Council between the origins of the dicastery and 1681 (ASV, Congr. Concilio, Positiones (Sess.)). The series preserves the decisions taken by the Congregation about specific issues of interpretation regarding Tridentine canon law as well as the preparatory material (letters, supplications, memorialia, libella, vota) used by the dicastery in the decision-making process. The requests of interpretation and justice administration used to arrive in Rome from all over the world by the faithful, by local ecclesiastics or also by other Roman dicasteries. The team (Dr. Francesco Russo and Dr. Benedetta Albani) is now refining the inventory, which comprehends more than 33.000 cases. At the end, each case will be described in a database composed of circa 150 fields and divided into several sections. These illustrate the actors involved, the legal matter and references, the decision-making process inside the Congregation and the Roman Curia, all the archival and diplomatic details of the documents. In the near future, all the information will be available to scholars through a graph-database software that the Group is already creating and that will make possible the comparison and connection of this archival material in a broader perspective thanks to Digital Humanities techniques.