© 2016

Rediscovering Sainthood in Italy

Hagiography and the Late Antique Past in Medieval Ravenna

  • Casts new light on the topic of medieval hagiography through its specific examination of Ravenna

  • Fills a much needed gap in the scholarship of Italian history and its rich connection to religion and sainthood

  • Explores a wide swath of history, from the Late Roman Empire to the High Middle Ages.


Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvi
  2. Edward M. Schoolman
    Pages 1-19
  3. Edward M. Schoolman
    Pages 21-48
  4. Edward M. Schoolman
    Pages 49-76
  5. Edward M. Schoolman
    Pages 77-90
  6. Edward M. Schoolman
    Pages 91-124
  7. Edward M. Schoolman
    Pages 125-138
  8. Edward M. Schoolman
    Pages 139-153
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 155-202

About this book


Beginning with Saint Barbatianus, a fifth-century wonderworking monk and confessor to the Empress Galla Placidia, this book focuses on the changes in the religious landscape of Ravenna, a former capital of the Late Roman Empire, through the Middle Ages. During this period, written stories about saints and their relics not only offered guidance and solace but were also used by those living among the ruins of a once great city—particularly its archbishops, monks, and the urban aristocracy—to reflect on its past glory. This practice remained important to the citizens of Ravenna as they came to terms with the city’s revival and renewed relevance in the tenth century under Ottonian rule. In using the vita of Barbatianus as a central text, Edward M. Schoolman explores how saints and sanctity were created and ultimately came to influence complex political and social networks, from the Late Roman Empire to the High Middle Ages.


Sainthood Italy Saint Barbatianus Medieval Late Roman Empire hagiography history history of religion Medieval Literature Middle Ages religion

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA

About the authors

Edward M. Schoolman is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Reno, USA.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Rediscovering Sainthood in Italy
  • Book Subtitle Hagiography and the Late Antique Past in Medieval Ravenna
  • Authors Edward M. Schoolman
  • Series Title The New Middle Ages
  • Series Abbreviated Title The New Middle Ages
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-60271-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-93227-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-349-93225-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXVI, 202
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 5 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Religion
    History of Medieval Europe
    History of Italy
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Schoolman has performed an extremely useful service, offering an object lesson in how to use hagiography as a source for cultural history.” (Mark Humphries, Early Medieval Europe, Vol. 27 (3), 2019)

“Readers interested in the cult of Saint Barbatianus will find here a thorough examination of the medieval hagiography dedicated to him. It undoubtedly represents a valuable contribution both to the assessment of the importance of the city of Ravenna under Ottonian rule and to the understanding of the ambitions of its elites amplified by their proximity to the imperial court.” (Giorgia Vocino, Speculum, Vol. 94 (3), July, 2019)

“Ravenna's glistening Late Antique mosaics continued to impress its medieval citizens as they strove to create their own usable history. Edward M. Schoolman's book uses the enigmatic hagiographical dossier of St. Barbatianus to describe how monks and bishops, nobles and emperors, were attempting to understand and negotiate the past and future of a Late Antique city in a changing medieval world. One of the best attempts to date at linking saints' lives to social history.” (John Howe, Professor of Medieval History, Texas Tech University, USA, and author of “Before the Gregorian Reform: The Latin Church at the Turn of the First Millennium”)