Registra lateranensia, bulk 1389-1892

Catholic Church Cancellaria Apostolica


174 linear m. (2467 v. nos. and 13 drawers of index cards).
Registers proceed pontificate by pontificate with the exception of nos. 2461-2467. Within each pontificate, however, there can be numerous registers containing business for a given year. In each register, documents are grouped according to type of business, as ASV Indice 1039-1040 show.
Form a parallel series of "Miscellanea Litterarum Apostolicarum", 1559-1758.
Within the registers there are a number of misattributions of entire registers, particularly in the papacies of the Pius's and the Pauls. Gualdo straightens these out in his concordance (see below).
The chronology of this series is also disturbed by earlier materials (including some pergamene), referred to by Chancery officials, which were then often filed in later registers.
These paper registers are so called because they were kept in the Lateran Palace after their return to Rome in 1817 and were only transferred to the Vatican in 1892. They contain copies of the letters issued from the Roman Chancery in the Schism (parallel to the Registra Avenionensia, which continued at Avignon), then, from the mid-fifteenth century, from the new office of the Datary. The official designation of this series, Regesta bullarum datariae apostolicae, applies to the registered letters generated after the establishment of the Datary. The bulls, granting ecclesiastical favors of every kind in foro externo, were registered according to the actual date of their expedition rather than the date of their being signed by the pope or his vice-chancellor. Many volumes of the series were lost when it was removed to Paris (1810-1817).
Boyle, pp 132-148, provides an extensive analysis of these registers. He argues that the registers consist of common letters sent through the Chancery. As such he suggests that though they are Datary by their custodial provenance, they are in fact Chancery in origin.
The Registra Lateranensia record routine letters prepared in reply to "petitions for benefices, dispensations of various kinds, indulgences, graces, and the like" (L.E. Boyle, Introduction, Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Calendar of Papal Letters, vol. XV [1484-1492], edited by M.J. Haren, Dublin, 1978, p. xv). Approved petitions were registered in the Dataria Apostolica series Registra supplicationum. If a supplicant wanted a papal letter communicating the grant of favor, additional fees and steps were required. The Registra Lateranensia contain those approved supplications, which were not only recorded in the Registra supplicationum but were followed up with a formal letter. From the late fifteenth century onward, letters in the shorter form of briefs increasingly communicated routine favors and graces and were registered in a different series, Dataria Apostolica series Brevia Lateranensia, whose scope and content are closely related to the Registra Lateranensia.
The contents of the Registra Lateranensia fall into three main categories of business: beneficiary, judicial, and dispensatory or spiritual. As in the Registra supplicationum, the vast majority of letters registered here relate to beneficiary activity. Since a great variety of individuals held and received income from benefices in the medieval and early modern period, papal grants relating to benefices have been used to glean information about the careers not only of high ecclesiastical figures but also of muscians, literary figures, professors of theology and law, scholars, and members of the households of cardinals and popes. Judical business includes: requests to obtain commision of cases to judge delegates in matters pertaining to ecclesiastical jurisdiction, grants or confirmations of legal privileges, confirmations of the terms of wills or foundation documents (altars, chapels, monasteries), the extension of papal protection, licenses, and requests for papal intervention, pardons, and exemptions. For example, in 1492 Alexander IV commissioned two canons to settle a dispute between the "masters of works" in charge of London Bridge and a parish rector, both of whom claimed rights to the alms offered to a recently placed image of the Virgin on the bridge (RL 918 f. 210r-v). In 1399, Margaret the Duchess of Norfolk sought confirmation of her will from Boniface XIII (RL 52, ff. 113v-114r).
Ecclesiastical officials were also commissioned to settle conflicts relating to marriage, divorce, annulment, dowries, and inheritence. The third general category for grants of favor comprehends and responds to a wide range of requests for dispensations, absolutions, indults, and indulgences, some of which are discussed below.
The most common sorts of dispensations found in the RL series are for illegitimacy, which impedes a cleric from office. Clerics also sought dispensations in order to hold multiple benefices. Monks and priests received dispensations to remove canonical disqualification resulting from their involvement with events, even judicial processes, that have resulted in death and bloodshed. Confessors to noble households, court musicians, clerical tutors, and students at universities sought dispensations for absentee enjoyment of their benefices. Clerics and lay persons might seek absolution for homicide and other violent crimes. Dispensations for consanguinity as an impediment to marriage was a very frequent lay petition. Laypersons also petitioned for indults that allowed them to have portable altars, to have their own priests celebrate private masses, to elect their own confessors, to say divine office in their households, and to otherwise exert control over their own expressions of piety. Noble laypersons also petitioned indulgences for their relics and altars, though most petitions for indulgences to attract visitors and alms come from churches and confraternities. The lay patronage of churches, religious houses, chapel, oratories, and altars received frequently backing from RL letters.
For example, in the mid-fifteenth century, Nicholas V gave a confraternity of Spanish artisans in Rome, associated with the hospital of St. Thomas, permission to erect a hospital for poor artisans (see ASV Indice 556, f. 172v). Finally, religious communities are well represented in the RL volumes, where there is evidence of hermits, tertiaries, beguines, hospitals, leprosaria, and confraternities receiving support and papal assistance, along with members of the traditional religious orders. RL 10, fols. 248-255r contains the canonization proclamation, issued in the second year of Boniface IX's pontificate, for Brigit of Sweden.
Dataria Apostolica series Registra supplicationum is the source of choice for successful petitions to the papacy. However, the RL volumes have the advantage of being more comprehensively indexed. They are also included in the Schedario Garampi.
This record was created by the University of Michigan Vatican Archives Project which ended in 1992. The collection described in this record may have been further processed by Vatican Archives staff so that the information may no longer be current. Consult the Vatican Archives staff for current access information. The final report of the University of Michigan Vatican Archives Project is found in: Vatican archives : an inventory guide to historical documents of the Holy See / Francis X. Blouin, Jr., general editor. New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.
Fink p. 39-42.
Boyle p. 32-33, 132-148.
Pasztor (1970) p. 25-27.
Pasztor (1983) p. 102.
MacFarlane p. 38.
RL. Current segnatura and page number(s).
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana 00120 Vatican City Ottob. lat. 1443.
Biblioteca Vallicelliana Rome, Italy cod. R32.???.
Trinity College, Library Dublin, Ireland n. 1223 (1-13).
There are two types of finding aids to this series. The first type generally presents an inventory or contents list of the registers and provides basic information: volume number, inclusive dates, and general title summary of the type of business. These inventories are useful if you already have a reference (either an old or current volume number). Reference to the contents of the RL can also be found in the Schedario Garampi (see Separate Collections, Individual and Family Papers series Schedario Garampi). The inventories of this first type are Gualdo (see below) and four ASV Indici: 1039, 1040, 705, and 319A. The second type of finding aid can be characterized as more descriptive and subject/geographic oriented. These indexes are useful if you are looking for information on a specific diocese, religious order, or perhaps even a person. The indexes of this second type are: BAV Vat. Lat. 6952 and ASV Indici numbers 1, 320-324, 325-430, and 690. The latter group of indices provides information on the contents of many RL volumes that are no longer extant. Additionally there are thirteen drawers of index cards to entries between 1455 and 1479. All of the above mentioned indexes are discussed in greater detail below.
See in particular Germano Gualdo, Sussidi per la consultazione dell'Archivio Vaticano, new ed. (Vatican City, 1989), vol. 1, pp. 245-313. Gualdo's work is invaluable in providing access to the RL. In addition to introducing the collection and providing a strong bibliography, Gualdo is essential to tying the various indexes and such that have been done over the years with the current organization of the collection. He does this through a table demonstrating the correspondence between each papacy and ASV Indici 320-430 and has constructed the most useful concordance between Schedario Garampi reference numbers and the current volume numbers. Gualdo's notes to the registers of each pope are also indispensible in locating misattributions (particularly for papacies of popes named Pius and Paul) or misfiled items.
At the end of the collection there is a "Schede" composed of thirteen drawers of index cards. This is a chronological presentation of RL 534A-796 (1455-1479). Each card provides information on the date of registration, the diocese, recipient, business, and date of request , in addition to the register and page number on which the entire letter can be located. These are dense and a researcher may prefer to call up the actual volumes for a given year.
ASV Indici 1039 and 1040, by M.H. Laurent, O.P., cover the entire series vols. 1-2467 (1389-1903). This index proceeds numerically according to the current volume number, listing the papacy, the inclusive dates in the volume, the pontifical year of the volume, the old volume number, the type of business found in the register, and the number of pages. Indici 1039 and 1040 also provide Garampi's reference number "Gar=." The Garampi number, however, frequently presents a pontifical year that is different from the actual year. With a reference from Garampi, it is easier to proceed directly to the concordance in Gualdo to locate the correct, current volume number. The advantage of these indici over Gualdo is that they list the type of business being conducted, albeit briefly.
ASV Indice 705, "Inventarium Regestorum Lateranensium seu de Dataria in Tabularium Vaticanum jussu Leonis XIII," was done ca. 1900 by Pietro Wenzel. This indice has been superseded by Gualdo and/or ASV Indici 1039 and 1040, but may be useful in reconciling some old citations, such as those from earlier volumes of Hierarchia Catholica. This index, organized by pontificate, lists the former and current volume numbers, the type of business conducted (using the identical terminology employed in Indici 1039, 1040, and 1041), and the pontifical year. Schedario Garampi references are usually noted (in red ink).
ASV Indice 319A, "Concordata numeri Rubricellarum [= Schedario Garampi] Regestorum Lateranensium seu verterio cum novo numero," covers the pontificates of Boniface IX - Pius VII (1389-1823) and was completed in 1903. The Num (anno) and Rub (Liber) refer to the Schedario Garampi references that come after the AB + Name of Pope (or A.U.E. instead of AB in the case of Clement VII) in the Schedario Garampi. This has also been superseded by Gualdo.
In the Vatican Library (BAV) Vat. Lat. 6952, pp. 97r-362r, is a "Summarium of the Registra Lateranensia from Boniface IX to Martin V (1389-1431)," done by A. Raynaldi in 1618. This calendar provides summaries of selected bulls within these registers. Raynaldi's criteria for selection are not explicit, but since his work predates the loss of many Lateran Registers he can offer information derived from registers no longer extant. ASV Indice 320 is a fair copy of Raynaldi's "Summarium" for the papacy of Boniface IX. A table of the parallel entries between the autograph (BAV Vat. Lat. 6952) and the fair copy (ASV Indice 320) can be found in Boyle, pp. 137-142. After locating a desired volume, researchers must proceed to Gualdo's concordance or ASV Indice 705 to locate the current volume number.
ASV Indici 320-324 also provide selected summaries of bulls in the RL. These indices have a history of their own for which Boyle and Gualdo provide a good beginning, even if they are not always in accord. Indice 320, "Summarium quarundam Bullarum Pontificatus Bonifatii noni," is a fair copy of the entries for Boniface IX, probably commissioned by Raynaldi (ca. 1618), of Raynaldi's "Summarium" (see above BAV Vat. Lat. 6952). Indice 320 includes Raynaldi's index to cardinals and Roman churches. Indici 321, by Contelori, reproduces pages 97-362 of Raynaldi's "Summarium," in other words, the main body of the text, without the indexes. G.B. Confalonieri compiled 322, 323, and 324A (ca. 1618) directly from the RL. These indices cover Gregory XII (1407-1408), Alexander V (of Pisa, 1409-1410), and John XXIII (of Pisa, 1410-1415). 324A provides summaries of the RL of John XXIII and is an index to 322 and 323. Index 324 appears to be yet another fair copy of Raynaldi's "Summarium" for Innocent VII (1404-1406) and John XXIII (of Pisa, 1410-1415). These indici do not usually note the current ASV volume number or the fact that the register is now missing. If the current volume number is missing, Gualdo's concordance or ASV Indice 705 will give it.
ASV Indici 325-430 proceed more or less chronologically and cover the pontificates of Calixtus III (1455) through Pius VI (1799). They provide various types of indices and occasionally summaries of the RL between those years. Most of these indices were constructed prior to the great losses in this series and therefore some insight into lost registers can be gleaned from these volumes. Generally, these indices follow the actual registers page by page, listing diocese, person, and occasionally the type of business transacted. These indexes would be chiefly useful for researchers seeking information on a specific locale, person, or function.
ASV Indice 690, "Indice di Brevi (sic. Bolle) Pontifici relativi a ordini religiose dei Regestra Lateranensia da Martino V a Paolo IV" (1417-1621), by Gaetano Marini, was also completed prior to the significant losses in the series. This roughly drafted index, organized by congregation or order, lists pontifical year, volume, and page number.
ASV Indice 1, pp. 692-720, provides a list of volumes from Boniface IX (1389) to John XXIII (of Pisa, 1415). Since it was done before the significant losses in the series it does not reflect the current state of the series or the current volume numbers. The listings are brief: original volume number, a brief summary title, and what appears to be a former volume number. This index is a curiosity and not particularly useful.
ASV Indice 685 is a compilation of the lost bulls of Calixtus III (1455-1458) derived from ASV Indici 325 and 326. It was done by E. Ranuzzi in 1918.
ASV Indice 112 by Contelori provides a summary of the Lateran Registers of Martin V (1417-1431) on pp. 276-345.
Forms part of Catholic Church. Cancellaria Apostolica.

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