Book Series International Medieval Research, vol. 14

Aspects of Power and Authority in the Middle Ages

Brenda M. Bolton, Christine E. Meek (eds)

  • Pages: 352 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Illustrations:29 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2008

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52735-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53789-4
  • E-book
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"This volume is a welcome contribution to a well-established historiographical trend which is questioning this portrayal."

(Pauline Stafford, in Journal of English and Germanic Philology 110/2, April 2011, p. 231)


Concepts of power and authority and the relationship between them were fundamental to many aspects of medieval society. The essays in this collection present a series of case studies that range widely, both chronologically and geographically, from Lombard Italy to early-modern Iberia and from Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and later-medieval England to twelfth-century France and the lands beyond the Elbe in the conversion period. While some papers deal with traditional royal, princely and ecclesiastical authority, they do so in new ways. Others examine groups and aspects less obviously connected to power and authority, such as the networks of influence centring on royal women or powerful ecclesiastics, the power relationships revealed in Anglo-Saxon and Old-Norse literature or the influence that might be exercised by needy crusaders, by Jews with the ability to advance loans or by parish priests on the basis of their local connections. An important section discusses the power of the written word, whether papal bulls, collections of miracle stories, or the documents produced in lawsuits. The papers in this volume demonstrate the variety and multiplicity of both power and authority and the many ways by which individuals exercised influence and exerted a claim to be heard and respected.



Creating an Image for a New Kingship: Charles I of Anjou, King of the Regno - Jean Dunbabin

Image-making for the Conquerors of England: Cnut and William I - Chris Dennis

Dress and Authority in the Bayeux Tapestry - Gale R. Owen-Crocker

Ostentation, Power, and Family Competition in Late-Medieval Rome: The Earliest Chapels at S. Maria in Aracoeli - Claudia Bolgia

‘Treasures of the Temple’ and Claims to Authority in Twelfth-Century Rome - Marie Thérèse Champagne

Authority and Maternity in Late-Medieval Castile: Four Queens Regnant - Bethany Aram

The Queen Consort in Late-Medieval Portugal - Ana Maria S.A. Rodrigues

‘A Woman of Subtlety and a Man’s Resolution’: Matilda of Boulogne in the Power Struggles of the Anarchy - Patricia Dark

The Power of Personal Networks: Clerics as Political Actors in the Conflict between Capetian France and the County of Flanders during the Last Decade of the Twelfth Century - Walter Ysebaert

‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’: Knowledge as Power among Parochial Clergy in Later Medieval England - Jeremy Goldberg

The Power of the Purse: Usury, Jews, and Crusaders, 1198–1245 - Rebecca Rist

Concepts of Power in Anglo-Scandinavian Verse - Jayne Carroll

Power, Poetry, and Violence: The Battle of Maldon - Alice Jorgensen

The Power of Documents: The Curious Case of Laudabiliter - Anne J. Duggan

The Authority of Documents in Early-Medieval Italian Pleas - Swen Holger Brunsch

Authorizing the Supernatural: An Examination of Some English Miracles around 1318 - R. C. Finucane

The Authority of Miracles: Caesarius of Heisterbach and the Livonian Crusade - Barbara Bombi

Saintly Power as a Model of Royal Authority: The ‘Royal Touch’ and Other Miracles in the Early Vitae of Edward the Confessor - Joanna Huntington