Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Larry J. Simon

Second Advisor

Dr. E. Rozanne Elder

Third Advisor

Dr. Otto Grundler

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Gerard Segarelli initiated the Order of Apostles at Parma around the year 1260. Segarelli and his followers, spreading throughout northern Italy and beyond, lived as orthodox mendicants for almost half a century. They only turned to heterodox opposition to the Church in the 1290s when the latter attempted, by means of papal inquisitors, to force these religious people to stop practicing their way of life. The thesis first analyzes the Franciscan Salimbene's hostile account of the Order of Apostles written in the 1280s. An examination of Salimbene's partisan arguments opposing his rivals, as well as sources outside the Cronica, reveals that the Order of Apostles was initially a valid, though not universally respected, order of mendicants.

Further evidence, showing support for this movement from the laity at Bologna, is fully examined. Nineteen testaments housed at the Dominican convent of Bologna, which have not been previously analyzed, establish that a branch of the Order of Apostles arrived in that city by 1272. These wills show continued donations to them until 1301, further proving that they were a valid religious order, practicing their way of life openly for forty years. Only later did heterodox opposition to the Church begin to develop, leading to their final annihilation as heretics.

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