Book Series Studies in European Urban History (1100-1800), vol. 33

The Voices of the People in Late Medieval Europe

Communication and Popular Politics

Jan Dumolyn, Jelle Haemers, Hipolito Rafael Oliva Herrer, Vincent Challet (eds)

  • Pages: viii + 268 p.
  • Size:178 x 254 mm
  • Illustrations:10 b/w, 1 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54983-5
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54991-0
  • E-book
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"Alles in allem handelt es sich um ein sehr interessantes und äußerst lesenswertes Buch, das eine Reihe von kontrovers diskutierbaren Thesen, anregenden Denkanstößen und vertiefenswerten Ansatzpunkten für den europäischen Vergleich bereitstellt." (Gisela Naegle, in Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, Band 72-1, 2016, p. 370-371)

« En définitive, la lecture de ce livre d’une grande cohérence thématique incite à se poser nombre de questions et contribue a y apporter des éléments de réponse.» (Jean-Marie Cauchies, dans Le Moyen Âge, 123/3-4, 2018, p. 765)


Throughout the medieval period, the popular classes were always reckoned as a potential force in society even though it was usually dangerous for them to articulate divergent social, political and religious opinions. Sources on medieval political and social life seem to show us a world of order, acquiescence and consent. Otherwise, they reveal a picture of bloodshed and violent strife. During times of intense conflict, however, the human tongue was always the most frequently used weapon, much more so than the sword or the dagger. The vox populi, though often difficultly retrievable in the sources, was a ubiquitous one within the realm of later medieval politics. The essays collected in this volume deal with such speech acts of political rebels, with political languages of the ‘popular classes’ in medieval society but also with the subversive twists to speech situations such as preaching, mockery and insults.