Much of this chapter also appears in SD , fols. 43r–45r. 2 Classical political thought imagined close ties between different levels of sovereignty, paralleling the responsibilities of a ruler with those of a male head of household: Aristotle, Politics 1.1–2; Cicero, De officiis 1
GL , pp. 64–5. A foundational document for politics and political thought in the European Middle Ages, it was only in the fifteenth century recognised as a forgery (probably from the eighth century). 194 470 years, if counting from 330 to 800 (the year of Charlemagne's imperial coronation in Rome
to each his due’. 3 [ 1.2 ] Aquinas was especially influential on medieval political thought, reconciling the teachings of Christ with Aristotelian logic to achieve a distinctive philosophy of law and the state. Mankind, he argued, could not apprehend the eternal law of God directly, but by applying reason (the divine spark which set man apart from and above the animals) he might deduce a body of
the development of English law during the early eleventh century. Background: politics and society in early medieval England Understanding the origins of Wulfstan’s political thought requires some knowledge of the troubled history of later Anglo-Saxon England. His vision of a holy society cannot be separated from the social and intellectual upheavals that radically reshaped
evasion. 6 M. Kowaleski, Local Markets and Regional Trade in Exeter , Cambridge, 1995, p. 96. 7 S. Reynolds, ‘Medieval urban history and the history of political thought’, Urban History Yearbook , 1982, pp. 14–23; S. H. Rigby, ‘Urban
Archbishop Wulfstan of York is among the most important legal and political thinkers of the early Middle Ages. A leading ecclesiastic, innovative legislator, and influential royal councilor, Wulfstan witnessed firsthand the violence and social unrest that culminated in the fall of the English monarchy before the invading armies of Cnut in 1016. This book introduces the range of Wulfstan's political writings and sheds light on the development of English law during the early eleventh century. In his homilies and legal tracts, Wulfstan offered a searing indictment of the moral failures that led to England’s collapse and formulated a vision of an ideal Christian community that would influence English political thought long after the Anglo-Saxon period had ended. More than just dry political theory, however, Wulfstan’s works are composed in the distinctive voice of someone who was both a confidante of kings and a preacher of apocalyptic fervour. No other source so vividly portrays the political life of eleventh-century England: what it was, and what one man believed it could be.
hitherto unexplored by ‘traditional’ legal historians. 1 The subject is now increasingly being recognised as vitally important to the wider understanding of politics and society. This is not the extent of its reach, however, for as this volume demonstrates, legal history has a role in other ‘histories’, among them political thought, ‘popular’ culture, and gender relations
the king, while it is his advisers (especially at this time William de la Pole) who have been the cause of the king’s misfortunes. Indeed, they highlight how the king’s fortunes (both financially and metaphorically) are at a low ebb and how his susceptibility to influence stems partly from his lack of resources. Absorbing contemporary political thought, properly functioning justice at home is seen as
The documents in this section consist of Wulfstan’s political tracts, those texts the archbishop composed either for public circulation or as private memoranda with the purpose of articulating or advocating for some aspect of his social vision.
stating his own view of the qualifications necessary for a Christian king. 109 If the formulation was indeed Herman’s own, it was a significant contribution to political thought. For the idea that a king may be rejected by his subjects if he proves to be unjust anticipates the contractual theory of monarchy that would appear in the anti-imperial polemics of the Investiture Contest. 110