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Cavero de Carondelet, Cloe (2016): Possessing Rome ‘in absentia’: The Titular Churches of the Spanish Monarchy in the Early Seventeenth Century. In: Royal Studies Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2: pp. 48-68
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This article examines the extent to which the ceremonial and architectural spaces associated with a titular church became vehicles for the display of the ritual and symbolic aspects of diplomacy in early modern Rome. More specifically, it explores how the European powers tried to overcome the transforming nature of these intrinsically contested spaces by manifesting their temporary possession through specific strategies of representation. In order to do so, this article focuses on the case of the titular churches of the cardinals of the Spanish monarchy. Following an overview of the continuities and circumstances that influenced the allocation of titular churches to Spanish crown cardinals, this article concentrates on the possesso of Sant’Anastasia al Palatino. Because Cardinal Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas did not travel to Rome to receive his cardinal’s hat, the ceremony by which he took possession of his new titular church took place by proxy. This article argues that the rite of possesso by proxy validated the patronage of the Spanish diplomatic network over Sant’Anastasia, while testifying to the mobilization of titular churches within the ritual diplomacy at the papal court.