Late Medieval Papal Legation is a result of long term study of papal legates in the late medieval period. Even though this crucial institution of the reform papacy of the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries kept its standards as designed in the classical canon law, it was transformed according to the current needs of the papacy in later periods. A substantial change came after the conciliar crisis and before the radical transformation of the first half of the sixteenth century. In the second half of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, papal legates de latere, as cardinals, travelled all around Europe in support of the recovered papal authority after the conciliar period and before the outbreak of the German Reformation.
This volume attempts to systematise the changes of this specific period in the development of the papacy. It is based on extensive research in the Vatican Archives and Library, other Italian and especially Central European archives and libraries, and published sources of the period. The volume focuses on the terminology and theory of papal legation, on the sources and expression of legatine authority and on the system in relation to practical matters (ceremonial, travelling, finance), and political, diplomatic and ecclesiastical tasks and topics. The study of the legatine office is exceptionally complex and ranges from high diplomacy and spiritual benefits brought for distinct provinces, to the personal interests and involvement of individual cardinals. This book tries to open discussion on research that has only just started and needs to be developed as an integral part of our understanding of medieval papal and European history.