Adrian of Utrecht. The formation of the historiographical image of the Dutch Pope

Catrien Santing*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    This paper looks at the image of Pope Adrian VI as it developed in historiography. Starting with the contemporary accounts on the Pope and his pontificate, and ending in the twentieth century, it tries to reconstruct the way in which these diverging opinions influenced each other. Chronologically passing through, among others, Paolo Giovio and other contemporary and later authors such as Erasmus, Cornelius Aurelius and Gerard Morinck, positive and negative judgments have been alternately found. The chapters on Adrian in his history of the popes by the Catholic German historian Ludwig von Pastor (1907) are pivotal as the last comprehensive treatment based on archival sources. Later Catholic writings sometimes verge on hagiography. Since then, however, several detailed studies have been added to fill in gaps in Adrian’s biography. Over five centuries, there seems to be a remarkable continuity in describing Adrian as the embodiment of archetypal ‘Dutchness’, both in a positive and a negative sense: simple, sincere, frugal, and pious, as well as blunt, stingy, and lacking in civility and culture.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)161-172
    Number of pages12
    JournalFragmenta. Journal of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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