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John of Salisbury (c. 1120–80) is a key figure of the twelfth-century renaissance. A student at the cosmopolitan schools of medieval Paris, an associate of Thomas Becket and an acute commentator on society and rulership, his works and letters give unique insights into the political culture of this period. This volume reassesses the influence of classical sources on John’s political writings, investigating how he accessed and used the ideas of his ancient predecessors.

By looking at his quotations from and allusions to classical works, O’Daly shows that John not only borrowed the vocabulary of his classical forbears, but explicitly aligned himself with their philosophical positions. She illustrates John’s profound debt to Roman Stoicism, derived from the writings of Seneca and Cicero, and shows how he made Stoic theories on duties, virtuous rulership and moderation relevant to the medieval context. She also examines how John’s classical learning was filtered through patristic sources, arguing that this led to a unique synthesis between his political and theological views.

The book places famous elements of John’s political theory - such as his model of the body-politic, his views on tyranny - in the context of the intellectual foment of the classical revival and the dramatic social changes afoot in Europe in the twelfth century. In so doing, it offers students and researchers of this period a novel investigation of how Stoicism comprises a ‘third way’ for medieval political philosophy, interacting with – and at times dominating – neo-Platonism and proto-Aristotelianism.

James Naus

of Burgundy was no close friend of King Philip’s; we have already seen the punishments meted out by Philip to the Duke as a consequence of his treatment of local churches. Duke Hugh, it seems, was less concerned about the man, Philip of France, and more troubled about the potential damage to the reputation of the French royal dynasty. If this is true, it offers a glimpse into the way the nobility understood the connection between the crusade and rulership. The recapture of Jerusalem could have bolstered Richard’s reputation, thus making him a more potent enemy of

in Constructing kingship
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A reassessment

This collection of essays by scholars in Renaissance and Gothic studies traces the lines of connection between Gothic sensibilities and the discursive network of the English Renaissance. The essays explore three interrelated issues: 1. Early modern texts trouble hegemonic order by pitting the irrational against the rational, femininity against patriarchal authority, bestiality against the human, insurgency against authoritative rulership, and ghostly visitation against the world of the living. As such they anticipate the destabilization of categories to flourish in the Gothic period. 2. The Gothic modes anticipated by early modern texts serve to affect the audience (and readers) not only intellectually, but above all viscerally. 3. The Renaissance period can be seen as the site of emergence for the Gothic sensibility of the 18th century as it cultivated an ambivalence regarding the incursion of the supernatural into the ordinary.

James Naus

Chapter four examines the impact of Louis VII’s decision to join the Second Crusade in 1146 on the practise of kingship. Louis was the first French king to take the cross, and despite the disastrous failure of that campaign, it nevertheless had a profound impact on his vision of rulership. The image that Suger had created for Louis VI carried on during the reign of Louis VII so that he was already beginning to understand the institution of crusading to be fundamentally linked with French kingship, despite his own negative experience in the east.

in Constructing kingship
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James Naus

in the East, though several such episodes will be considered. It is rather an examination of the various ways in which crusading intersected with Capetian self-fashioning and understandings of rulership among those closest to the royal court. Crusading had a greater significance for French royal history than the frequently disappointing deeds of the kings would suggest. In fact, the unimpressive crusading careers of the French kings may help explain why such a topic has not been treated in detail before. Historians of the institutional components of the crusades

in Constructing kingship
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Irene O'Daly

question, we must examine John’s political ideas within the historical context from which they emanated. The ecclesiastical and secular political events of which John was a first-hand observer are of particular relevance, and the chapter will close with an examination of three case studies: King Stephen, Frederick Barbarossa and Thomas Becket. Placing John’s theoretical approach to bad rulership alongside his comments on contemporary bad rulers permits a deeper understanding of the implications of his views – particularly those regarding tyrannicide – while providing an

in John of Salisbury and the medieval Roman renaissance
Susan M. Johns

, stresses the legitimacy of his rule, and was possibly written to defend his position against allegations of usurpation. Gruffudd had fought his way to become ruler of Gwynedd against aggressive Norman incursions into north Wales. It was written at a pivotal moment in Welsh history when the fortunes of Powys were in the ascendant and Gwynedd faced a resurgent force on its southern borders. The Life is a Welsh view of rulership and it is therefore an important source for the study of twelfth-century Welsh political, social and cultural values. Scholars have explored the

in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages
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– dominated by the raid – explain the strategies employed, as does the balance with the demands of redress, and with the duties and function of rulership. The international rules mattered, as did obedience, but even with the best will in the world, such circumstances and contexts cannot demand successful obedience to every rule all the time. Likely, however, the rules were obeyed often and successfully enough

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
Elisabeth van Houts

two regions, he consolidated his rule over them by being made king of both. His kingship was controversial not only in Italy but across Western Europe, where many saw him as a tyrant or upstart. 27 The act of legislating was a God-given prerogative reserved for kings; being seen to issue laws therefore underlined his newly-acquired position. 28 The ruler as king-priest Being a new king enabled Roger to legislate over his newly unified kingdom. He did so innovatively by imbuing his rulership with far greater symbolism of authority than any earlier ruler. By

in Rethinking Norman Italy
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Alisa Manninen

for which she becomes the scapegoat; in the trial scene, those who confront her in the spirit of righteousness ultimately appear as her mirrors in their hypocrisy. In tragedies of state, the heart of darkness is ever-present in Renaissance Europe, frustrating efforts to locate and contain it. Tragedies of state ask questions about the nature of legitimate rulership. Without it the nation cannot endure, yet how are the corrosive elements to be isolated from the rest? How to come to terms with the fundamental insecurity of a political and moral

in The genres of Renaissance tragedy