Three portraits of men who were at the very center of governance in thirteenth-century France—men who strove in the shadow of King Louis IX (Saint Louis) to impose a redemptive regime on the realm. Professor Jordan treats them as individuals, but in a sense they are also types: Robert of Sorbon, a churchman; Etienne Boileau, a bourgeois; and Simon de Nesle, an aristocrat. Robert was the founder of the Sorbonne; Boileau was the prévôt or royal administrator of Paris; and Simon was twice co-regent of the kingdom. Thinking about them and their relations with Louis IX opens up a new and altogether sobering vista for exploring the nature of the king’s rule and the impact of his rule on his subjects.
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