Men at the Center

Men at the Center: Redemptive Governance under Louis IX

William Chester Jordan
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 148
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  • Book Info
    Men at the Center
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-615-5225-49-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Chapter One Robert of Sorbon, Churchman
    (pp. 1-36)

    Sorbon, today a tiny village of about two hundred souls, was very small in the thirteenth century. It is located in a region, the Ardennes, which has a rugged grandeur. The now defunct local journal, Les Ardennes françaises, devoted to the region’s history, used as its motto, “Faisons connaître et admirer le Beau Pays d’Ardenne” (“Let us proclaim and gaze with pleasure on the beautiful Ardennes countryside”). Nevertheless, it was an economically unproductive land by the robust standards of most other regions in France in the thirteenth century. In part this was because the terrain of the Ardennes was rough...

  5. Chapter Two Étienne Boileau, Bourgeois
    (pp. 37-70)

    Like most of the men whom we met in Chapter One, the central figure of this chapter has obscure origins. “On ignore toutesfois la naissance et l’origine de cet Estienne Boileau,” as Dom Michel Félibien declared in the early eighteenth century in his monumental Histoire de la ville de Paris.¹ Because, however, Étienne Boileau became such an iconic figure in the history of the royal administration as prévôt of Paris, several families of aristocratic stock that possessed similar surnames invented genealogies in the centuries to come that made him a great and noble progenitor.² Such was the case of the...

  6. Chapter Three Simon de Nesle, Aristocrat
    (pp. 71-100)

    In his maturity the man known to historians as Simon de Nesle was a truly lofty aristocrat, connected by marriage to one of France’s greatest families, and a lord of enormous wealth and prestige. Yet, at the time of his birth about the year 1209, there was no expectation that Simon himself would succeed to the principal cluster of family properties, the lordship of Ailly-sur-Noye, which his father Raoul held. Indeed, when his father died, it was Simon’s elder brother, Jean, who inherited. The childless Jean, however, predeceased Simon, and the seigneurie of Ailly passed to the latter. And then...

  7. Epilogue
    (pp. 101-110)

    My intention in the three short studies that have made up this book was to show that a biographical approach to the men around Louis IX might highlight certain central features of his rule and therefore of the temper of the realm in his reign. Louis IX instituted a genuinely repressive regime based on a narrow sense of what was morally permissible. Even behavior he objected to but did not criminalize, like singing profane songs, he stigmatized, tried to contain and ultimately to suppress. His behavior was not tempered by mercy when the issue was one of personal responsibility. The...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 111-124)
  9. List of References
    (pp. 125-132)
  10. Index
    (pp. 133-136)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 137-137)