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Making HistoryEdward Augustus Freeman and Victorian Cultural Politics$
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G.A. Bremner and Jonathan Conlin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265871

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265871.001.0001

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‘Edward Semper Augustus’: E. A. Freeman on Rome, the Papacy, and the Unity of History1

‘Edward Semper Augustus’: E. A. Freeman on Rome, the Papacy, and the Unity of History1

(p.47) 3 ‘Edward Semper Augustus’: E. A. Freeman on Rome, the Papacy, and the Unity of History1
Making History

Colm Ó Siochrú

British Academy

This essay explores E. A. Freeman’s conception of the ‘unity of history’. Often presented in ‘Whiggish’ and secular terms, as the development of Roman imperialism into Teutonic liberty and nationality, this idea had deep religious roots and significances. Modernity, for Freeman, evolved in creative ‘continuity’ with Rome; but he considered that legacy contested by rival forms of Catholic Christianity – the papal-Roman, and the Orthodox-Anglican. From the emergence of this tension in Freeman’s youthful notions of the Church, history, and liberty, the essay charts a deepening aversion to ‘ultramontanism’, conceived as an integral programme of papal oppression – ecclesiastical, political, and scientific. The fall of papal Rome to the liberal-national campaign for Italian unification (1870) should have meant the vindication of Freeman’s liberal Catholic vision. The ambivalence marking his response, however, suggested his deepening anxieties concerning the future of modernity’s Christian order.

Keywords:   Edward Augustus Freeman, Anglicanism, Catholicism, Rome, papacy, liberalism, eucharist, Thomas Arnold, apocalypse, conversion

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