Book Series Studies in the Early Middle Ages, vol. 7

Political Assemblies in the Earlier Middle Ages

Paul S Barnwell, Marco Mostert (eds)

  • Pages: 213 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Illustrations:10 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2003

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51341-6
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53873-0
  • E-book
  • Available


"The volume provides a concise and up-to-date overview of its theme. (...) this is a volume which will serve both as useful reference work and as a solid platform for further research." (S. Maclean, in: Early Medieval Europe, 2005, 13 (2), p.220-221)




Assembly is a central feature of the European political process between the demise of the Roman Empire and the rise of the bureaucratic state in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Historians have often neglected the crucial rule of political assemblies in their own right, concentrating instead on exceptional or extraordinary attention-catching events which occurred at assemblies. Earlier generations of scholars tried to discern in such assemblies the forerunners of later medieval parliaments and other forms of representative government. By contrast, the contributors to this volume present medieval assemblies in their own terms. Were political assemblies in the earlier Middle Ages convened to confirm decisions already taken elsewhere or were they genuinely deliberative? How, if at all, did political assemblies create consensus? At what level(s) of the political and administrative hierarchy were assemblies held, who attended such gatherings, how were they conducted, and where were they held? The main focus is on assemblies of emperors, kings, and princes, and on those of townsfolk, those some more local assemblies are also discussed. The over-arching thematic structure relates to the purposes of assemblies and how they worked, their practical and ritual or symbolic aspects, and the degree to which they were stage-managed, and by whom. The contributors bring archaeological, as well as historical, evidence to bear and present a range of geographical, political and historiographical approaches and traditions. The papers offer a coherent thread of analysis running from the immediate successor states of the Roman Empire to the High Middle Ages and range in geographic coverage from Scandinavia to Catalonia, and from Ireland to Russia.


Political Assemblies: Introduction - P. S. Barnwell

Kings, Nobles, and Assemblies in the Barbarian Kingdoms - P. S. Barnwell

Talking Heads: Assemblies in Early Medieval Germany - Stuart Airlie

Assemblies and Charters in Late Anglo-Saxon England - Charles Insley

Legal Assemblies and Judicial Structure in Early Scandinavia - Stefan Brink

Royal Inauguration Assembly and the Church in Medieval Ireland - Elizabeth Fitzpatrick

Consensus and Assemblies in Early Medieval Central and Eastern Europe - János M. Bak and Pavel Lukin

Aristocratic Assemblies in Brittany, 1066–1203 - Judith Everard

Reasons for Assembly in Catalonia and Aragón, 900–1200 - Adam J. Kosto

Galbert of Bruges on Political Meeting Culture: Palavers and Fights in Flanders During the Years 1127 and 1128 - A. Demyttenaere

Representative Assemblies in Communal Italy - Edward Coleman