North Africa and the Papacy
This chapter talks about how Rome was, and is, more important as a symbol than as a place. There was always tension between what Rome was as a city for itself and what it was supposed to be for the outside world. There was the Rome of economic decline, malaria, earthquake, and flood; the Rome of constant internecine struggle between families, the papacy, and outside kings; and the Rome invested with faith and history, the capud mundi — the head of the world and seat of St. Peter. In this way, Rome, seen as a bastion against the Muslim other, focused on the Christian attention to and passion of newly converted believers from Northern Europe. However, as a great mixture of civilizations, Rome throughout the medieval period had a Mediterranean culture, even as it was a magnet to pilgrims from the north.
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