Around the year 1000, the Latin Church was grappling with changing socio-political, economic and cultural realities. The Latin Church was itself to be transformed and defined in its attempts to consolidate its hold over the different peoples of western Europe. One of the problems which the Church faced in the year 1000 was that it was often organized around competing local institutions or power structures, be they rural churches, local monasteries or private chapels. In many ways the papacy around the year 1000 was just another centre of local power in a western Europe where power emanated from many localized centres. The higher orders in the Roman Church were somewhat different than those found elsewhere in western Europe. Despite centuries of political decline, the organization of the Church in Rome had nonetheless developed an immensely elaborate liturgical life with its own peculiar grades of churches and officials.
The highest level of Jewish religious expression is the performance of the mitzvoth, the divine Commandments. This chapter relates to those Commandments that the sages define as inherently 'male'. It describes how the sages attempted to dictate to women the manner of their observance of mitzvot set aside for women alone. The chapter shows that during the Middle Ages, women found a way of their own to relate to the world of mitzvot and keep the Commandments. It also describes the performance of the mitzvot by women and the manner in which they defined and differentiated their femininity by means of the Commandments. Women's exclusion from learning implies that they would not be well versed in the language of prayer in the synagogue. The understanding developed in the consciousness of women that they were the ones who initiated the rituals of the Sabbath and sanctified the holy day.
The task in writing about Charles Martel is to set the record straight. It is thus necessary to unpick both sides of his reputation and to confront the massive implications of the Heinrich Brunner thesis, which means examining very carefully the grounds on which this period is seen as a watershed. On all three counts, the work of Susan Reynolds can never be far from mind. Where Charles Martel is concerned, her work is the spur to revisit even the most familiar sources to check the terminology of landholding, lordship and clientage to see whether early medieval authors used the words and terms associated with 'feudalism', which modern historians read into them. This chapter aims to point to areas in which our understanding of the career of Charles Martel has changed significantly, that is, to draw attention to the recent refutation of old views and misunderstandings.
Between 1389 and 1413, the powers and composition of the commissions of the peace underwent a series of changes. This chapter examines the strength of these reservations against the evidence available for the membership and activity of the commissions of the peace in the three Ridings of Yorkshire during the majority rule of Richard II and the reign of Henry IV. It discusses the personnel of each of these categories and defines the part each played in the work of the Yorkshire justices of the peace. Among the general observations, the first concerns the respective attitudes of the rulers towards the self-regarding local sentiment embodied in the parliamentary Commons' aspirations to control the county bench. A second general observation concerns the opposition between central government and local autonomy, royal authority and gentry independence.
This chapter describes some events that are well attested in the reign of Henry IV. The king's suppression of the Yorkshire risings and his successful reassertion of royal authority on the northern march are proved to be vital turning points that allowed a crisis-ridden regime to assume some appearance of permanence. A movement of protest at the disorder prevalent in the region, led by the archbishop, which sought to articulate the grievances of the citizens and clergy of York in politically acceptable terms. The chapter looks at the narrative sources for the risings and shows that an informed reading, which pays due attention to their rhetorical structure and polemical purpose, can support such an interpretation of events. It also examines how political defiance, one that united significant elements of the shire's nobility, gentry, clergy and townsmen into a single movement, became both possible and justified.
Chapter 5 examines court cases in Xinjiang (1912–25). Consular officials worked a compromise between administering consular law, carrying out imperial objectives and allowing the jurisdiction of local custom over British subjects. Consuls were aided by aqsaqals, senior merchants who resolved minor disputes of the British communities in various towns. Consuls not only incorporated this indigenous administrative practice into British administration, but also arranged the aqsaqal system that had clear influences from Indian community organisation. The chapter therefore shows how Indian communities and Indian influences shaped British administration in Xinjiang.
The Amherst embassy to China has long been viewed as a major diplomatic
failure in Britain’s early relations with China. This chapter concentrates
on the greatly overlooked aspect of the Amherst mission – the delegation’s
discoveries in China after the official proceedings were concluded. Since
the embassy was given unprecedented freedom of movement during its
four-month return journey from Beijing to Canton, British observers were
able to explore the interior of China and to communicate more fully with the
Chinese government and people than ever before. As a consequence, the
Amherst embassy not only provided valuable first-hand observations which
increased and improved Britain’s knowledge of China, but developed the view
that the Qing government was the chief obstacle to the progress of Chinese
civilisation and to the general welfare of the Chinese people. These
important perceptions laid the foundation for future changes in Sino-British
relations and led, indirectly, to the outbreak of the Opium War.
The sixth chapter traces the decline of British jurisdiction in the province (1917–39). The Chinese authorities in Xinjiang challenged British consular rights and consuls responded by managing this erosion of their powers. Consuls based their approach to managing this decline on the needs of the British community living in Xinjiang, as well as on practical and political considerations. The chapter ends by showing how the trading community that moved between India and Xinjiang declined rapidly and thereafter ended consular rights in the province.
The book makes three arguments. First, it argues that frontier consuls played a key role in creating forms of transfrontier legal authority. Second, it demonstrates that the impetus behind these legal adaptations was the perceived challenges brought by the movement of British subjects and goods across frontiers. Local and transfrontier mobility therefore defined and shaped British jurisdiction across the frontier. Finally, British authority in the frontiers embraced and worked alongside other local norms and legal structures. This book is therefore the story of British consuls at the edge of the British and Chinese Empires and the nature of their legal powers.
The third chapter explores how Tengyue consuls worked in a court to resolve Sino-British cases involving local populations (1909–35). The court was a reflection of the coming together of local laws and British and Chinese jurisdiction. The consular role was to work alongside Chinese officials and act as linguistic and cultural mediators between these officials and their Burmese counterparts. They therefore balanced British imperial objectives – such as furthering colonial claims to land – with efforts to ensure Chinese cooperation in the resolution of transfrontier cases.