The Vacant See in Early Modern Rome
In The Vacant See in Early Modern Rome John M. Hunt offers a social history of the papal interregnum from 1559 to 1655. The study concentrates on the Roman people’s relationship with their sacred ruler. Using criminal sources from the Archivio di Stato di Roma and Vatican sources, Hunt emphasizes the violent and tumultuous nature of the lapse in papal authority that followed the pope’s death. The vacant see was a time in which Romans of modest social backgrounds claimed unprecedented power. From personal acts of revenge to collective protests staged at the Capitol Hill and citywide discussions of the papal election the vacant see provided Romans with a unique opportunity for political involvement in an age of omnipresent hierarchy.