Political ideas in late tenth–century England
Charters as evidence
in Law, laity and solidarities
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The charters of the 990s not only give readers a rare insight into the terms of early medieval English political debate, and into the tensions and contradictions within and between them, but also into their successful deployment within a specific historical context. This chapter begins with the 'youthful ignorance' charters. Returning to them now suggests how far the ideals of the 990s, albeit recorded in clerically drafted documents, should be seen as shared values, or ones which at least had strong resonance for the laity. In the context of debates which utilised the values of kinship and family, and in which the king was made to place himself and his actions within a dynastic past, a metaphor of the king's reign drawn from his human life-cycle was a very apposite way of presenting what was claimed as a shift in direction and a king's change of mind.

Law, laity and solidarities

Essays in honour of Susan Reynolds


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