Noble society in the twelfth-century German kingdom was vibrant and multi-faceted, with aristocratic families spending their lives in the violent pursuit of land and power. This book illuminates the diversity of the aristocratic experience by providing five texts that show how noblemen and women from across the German kingdom, from Rome to the Baltic coast and from the Rhine River to the Alpine valleys of Austria, lived and died between approximately 1075 and 1200. The five subjects of the texts translated here cut across many of the strata of German elite society. how interconnected political, military, economic, religious and spiritual interests could be for some of the leading members of medieval German society-and for the authors who wrote about them. Whether fighting for the emperor in Italy, bringing Christianity to pagans in what is today northern Poland, or founding, reforming and governing monastic communities in the heartland of the German kingdom, the subjects of these texts call attention to some of the many ways that noble life shaped the world of central medieval Europe.
This introduction provides historical background and a discussion of the translated texts. The book aims to illuminate the diversity of the aristocratic experience by providing five texts, translated into English for the first time, that show how noblemen and women from across the German kingdom lived and died approximately during 1075-1200. Margrave Wiprecht of Groitzsch emerges from these pages as a ruthless and cunning lord, one whose fortunes fluctuated dramatically as he played the games of court politics and local lordship with varying degrees of success. The extraordinary career of Bishop Otto I of Bamberg depicts how medieval Christians sought to convert pagans and convince them of the errors of their ways. An unnamed magistra, born into a ministerial family, wrote poems that have made scholars put forward various theories, in some cases identifying a pope or an archbishop of Salzburg as a potential patron for the text. A vita of the canoness Mechthild of Diessen, who had briefly been abbess of Edelstetten, written by the Cistercian monk Engelhard of Langheim. Finally the deeds of Count Ludwig III and a history of the Premonstratensian community at Arnstein.
the nature of locallordship and commercial opportunities were strong
influences. Manorial structure tended to be highly complex and fluid in
places where colonisation occurred later, population pressure was high
or rising rapidly, commercial pressures were greatest, and lordship was
relatively weak or low-status. 21 In contrast, areas that had been long
settled by c. 1100, and dominated by
pivotal moment, but it has been cast in romantic terms because commentators have misunderstood the symbolism of Nest and the literary models used to convey subtle messages. She is not described as beautiful directly because this is not a romantic episode. It is a moment of change and conquest – and Owain challenges the status quo: it is portrayed as a warning that Henry I and Anglo-Normans will not tolerate challenges. Once again locallordship, the power to effect control, is key, and the genre-shift and episodic nature of the Brut facilitate a textual space which
Bernhard Zeller, Charles West, Francesca Tinti, Marco Stoffella, Nicolas Schroeder, Carine van Rhijn, Steffen Patzold, Thomas Kohl, Wendy Davies and Miriam Czock
, communities that had a clearly defined geographical expression (a nucleated village) associated with a formalised social group that had a legal status and representatives (the village community). 29 According to Génicot and Fossier, these structures only emerged during the later Middle Ages, as a reaction to the development of locallordships and ecclesiastical parishes. They were imposed from above after the year 1000, providing a framework ( cadre , cellule ) within which rural societies were reorganised into cohesive and compact entities – hence the term encellulement
transnational lordship is achieved.
One of the essential aspects, perhaps the essential aspect, of medieval
lordship was the ability of a lord to dominate his immediate surroundings.
This was not limited to the acquisition of a compact group of tenurial
holdings; pre-existing political geography could confound this ambition.
Locallordship could also include, for instance, the effective control of
local justice through the courts, an economy through rents, mills and
markets, and defence through the custody of strategic castles and maintenance of
, ‘ Legal order without sovereignty: locallordships and the legal-political system of the Holy Roman Empire ’, in E. J. M. F. C. Broers and B. C. M. Jacobs (eds), Interactie tussen wetgever en rechter vóór de Trias Politica ( The Hague : Boom , 2003 ), pp. 63 – 84 .
14 G. Haug-Moritz , Württembergischer Ständekonflikt und deutscher Dualismus. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Reichsverbands in der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts ( Stuttgart : Kohlhammer , 1992 ).
15 Osiander, Before the State , pp. 452–4.
16 Those who at this suggestion will immediately
inland merchants utilised, according to the Port books. Coastal trade would go unrecorded, even in English customs documentation, but it has been estimated that it might have contributed up to seventy per cent of a port's income (Kowaleski, 1995 ). Coastal trade could also shelter and protect the local economy from tempestuous international events ( ibid .).
A possible example of two overlapping hinterlands is Dingle and Limerick. This can be attributed to a difference in the geographic extents of their locallordships. Dingle was the main
a particular magnate on the peace commission at least indicates a lordship attractive and effective enough to appeal to the self-interest of an influential section of the Riding’s gentry. It was such effective locallordship that the Crown was most anxious to harness or, in exceptional cases, to neutralize.
The prominence of estate stewards and men of law in the work of the Riding benches meant, of course, that any magnate with substantial estates in the county might include a number of justices of the peace among his servants. Among the Yorkshire justices
lifestyle enjoyed by successful nobles. The monastic authors and
compilers of this text, who wrote at Wiprecht’s own monastic
foundation of Pegau, were not so reticent. Wiprecht emerges from these
pages as a ruthless and cunning lord, one whose fortunes fluctuated
dramatically as he played the games of court politics and locallordship
with varying degrees of success during a career that