The identity of papal soldiers in the early modern age
Artes Vol. XIX/2018/1-2, pp. 181-199
Abstract: The disproportion between the continuous attention to the military orders by the popes
of the early modern age and the meager results obtained is evident. However, these
were not imposed by the religious foundations of the State of the Church. The pope’s
army never worked effectively because it failed to build a peculiar identity for those
who militated within it. By resorting to sociology, this paper traces the mechanisms
of identity building and shows the cultural proposal of a “Soldier of the Holy Church”,
with repercussions in military legislation and even in the history of art. This proposal
was only partly accepted, as documents indicate. In fact, it had to coexist with other
forms of identity, already internalized by officers and soldiers, based on other values.
Ultimately, this conflict of identity was the real cause of the weakness of the pope’s army.