Rome 1450. Capgrave’s Jubilee Guide : The Solace of Pilgrimes, éd. Peter J. Lucas, Turnhout, Brepols, coll. “Textes vernaculaires du Moyen Âge”, 2021.
A new edition, with modern English translation, of John Capgrave’s Solace of Pilgrimes, the ‘most ambitious description of Rome in the Middle Ages’.
The scene is Rome in the fifteenth century, Golden Rome, a magnet drawing pilgrims by its architectural attractions and the magnitude of its religious importance as the mother of faith. The Austin friar John Capgrave attended Rome for the Jubilee in 1450, including the Lenten stations, and his Solaceof Pilgrimes, intended as a guide for subsequent pilgrims, was written up following the author’s own pilgrimage. In three parts it covers the ancient monuments, the seven principal churches and the Lenten stations, and other churches of note, especially those dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The work has been described as the most ambitious description of Rome in Middle English. The present edition offers a new Text based on a transcription of the author’s holograph manuscript. Parallel with the Text there is a modern English Translation. The illustrations, mostly from a period slightly later than the 1450 Jubilee, aim to give some visual clue as to what Capgrave saw. There is a full account of the multiple sources that he used, most of which is the product of new research. Following the Text there is a Commentary that aims to provide some background information about the buildings and monuments that Capgrave focuses on, and to explain and illuminate any difficulties or points of interest in the Text. Capgrave is an omni-present guide leading us towards what he considered an appropriate interpretation of the classical past as a foundation for the Christian present, which built on it and surpassed it.