An archbishop and his claims: the allegations of Martinho Pires in Rome (1199) on the quarrels between Braga and Compostela

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In 1199 the quarrels between the sees of Braga and Compostela were at their peak. The archbishop of Braga went to Rome to defend his claims and have earlier sentences reversed. He did it by displaying an elaborate and complex set of allegations, contesting all of his opponents’ accusations and challenging the authority of the Pope as universal judge. As early as 1199, the concepts of plenitudo potestatis, certa scientia and the debate on the three persons of the Pope were put forward in an ingenious manner, resorting to legal arguments from Roman law, Canon law and the Scriptures, but weaving them to support Braga’s interests.These allegations help to further demonstrate the full extent of the juridical culture flourishing in the Northwestern Iberian Peninsula. They appear in a unique procedural piece of which only fragments have been published before. This article publishes the full text, with an apparatus of references, whilst commenting on the meaning of the allegations and their implications for what we know about juridical practice in the archdiocese of Braga as well as about the erudite reception of and reaction to the rise of the papal power.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedieval Studies
Subtitle of host publication in Honour of Peter Linehan
EditorsFrancisco Hernández, Rocío Sanchéz Ameijeiras, Emma Falque
Place of PublicationFirenze
Number of pages40
VolumeMilenio Medievale, 44
ISBN (Print)978-88-8450-858-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Juridical Culture- twelfth century
  • Rome
  • Plenitudo Potestatis
  • Litigation at the Papal Curia
  • Compostela
  • Braga


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