Constructing kingship

The Capetian monarchs of France and the early Crusades

by S. H. Rigby, James Naus

Description
Crusading kings such as Louis IX of France and Richard I of England exert a unique hold on our historical imagination. For this reason, it can be easy to forget that European rulers were not always eager participants in holy war. The First Crusade was launched in 1095, and yet the first monarch did not join the movement until 1146, when the French king Louis VII took the cross to lead the Second Crusade. One contemporary went so far as to compare the crusades to 'Creation and man's redemption on the cross', so what impact did fifty years of non-participation have on the image and practice of European kingship and the parameters of cultural development? Constructing kingship considers this question by examining the challenge to political authority that confronted the French kings and their family members as a direct result of their failure to join the early crusades, and their less-than-impressive involvement in later ones.
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Endorsements

Constructing kingship breaks new ground by examining and contextualizing the role of the crusades in the growth and development of the French monarchy in the Central Middle Ages. It considers the challenge to political authority that confronted the French kings and their family members as a result of their failure to join the early crusades and their less than impressive involvement in later ones. Crusading kings such as Louis IX of France and Richard I of England exert a unique hold on our historical imagination; it is easy to forget that European rulers were not always eager participants in holy war. The First Crusade was launched in 1095 and yet the first monarch did not join the movement until 1146, when the French king Louis VII took the cross to lead the Second Crusade. What impact did fifty years of non-participation in something that one contemporary compared to 'Creation and man's redemption on the cross' have on the image and practice of European kingship and the parameters of cultural development? Drawing together hitherto independent scholars traditions involving power structures, feudal relations, monarchy and ritual performance, Constructing kingship considers this question and argues that members of the French royal court engaged with the crusading movement in a variety of media, including texts, artwork, architecture and rituals. In a relatively short time, members of the court fused emerging crusade ideas with ancient notions of sacred kingship and nobility to create new, highly selective and flexible images of French history. Such images exploited the unknown future of crusading to create a space into which the self-fashioning of French kingship could insinuate itself. By the middle of the twelfth century, these negotiated images of crusading kingship were being widely disseminated to a popular audience, contributing to the rise of the 'crusader king' as an ideal ruler-type from the early thirteenth century onwards. Making an important interdisciplinary contribution to medieval scholarship, Constructing kingship will appeal to students and academics in crusades history and medieval political history.

Reviews

Constructing kingship breaks new ground by examining and contextualizing the role of the crusades in the growth and development of the French monarchy in the Central Middle Ages. It considers the challenge to political authority that confronted the French kings and their family members as a result of their failure to join the early crusades and their less than impressive involvement in later ones. Crusading kings such as Louis IX of France and Richard I of England exert a unique hold on our historical imagination; it is easy to forget that European rulers were not always eager participants in holy war. The First Crusade was launched in 1095 and yet the first monarch did not join the movement until 1146, when the French king Louis VII took the cross to lead the Second Crusade. What impact did fifty years of non-participation in something that one contemporary compared to 'Creation and man's redemption on the cross' have on the image and practice of European kingship and the parameters of cultural development? Drawing together hitherto independent scholars traditions involving power structures, feudal relations, monarchy and ritual performance, Constructing kingship considers this question and argues that members of the French royal court engaged with the crusading movement in a variety of media, including texts, artwork, architecture and rituals. In a relatively short time, members of the court fused emerging crusade ideas with ancient notions of sacred kingship and nobility to create new, highly selective and flexible images of French history. Such images exploited the unknown future of crusading to create a space into which the self-fashioning of French kingship could insinuate itself. By the middle of the twelfth century, these negotiated images of crusading kingship were being widely disseminated to a popular audience, contributing to the rise of the 'crusader king' as an ideal ruler-type from the early thirteenth century onwards. Making an important interdisciplinary contribution to medieval scholarship, Constructing kingship will appeal to students and academics in crusades history and medieval political history.

Author Biography

S.H. Rigby is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Manchester.;

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Bibliographic Information
  • Pub date: March 2018
  • English
  • 9781526127259 / 1526127253
  • United Kingdom
  • Manchester University Press
  • Readership: General/trade
  • Publish State: Published
  • Dimensions: 216 X 138 mm
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Studies
  • Reference Code: 10825