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Contact and Exchange in Later Medieval Europe

Contact and Exchange in Later Medieval Europe: Essays in Honour of Malcolm Vale

Hannah Skoda
Patrick Lantschner
R. L. J. Shaw
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Contact and Exchange in Later Medieval Europe
    Book Description:

    The processes by which ideas, objects, texts and political thought and experience moved across boundaries in the Middle Ages form the focus of this book, which also seeks to reassess the nature of the boundaries themselves; it thus appropriately reflects a major theme of Dr Malcolm Vale's work, which the essays collected here honour. They suggest ways of breaking down established historiographical paradigms of Europe as a set of distinct polities, achieving a more nuanced picture in which people and objects were constantly moving, and challenging previous conceptions of units and borders. The first section examines the construction of boundaries and units in the later Middle Ages, via topics ranging from linguistic units to social stratifications, and geographically from the Netherlands and Scotland to Gascony and the Iberian peninsula; it reveals how much the relationship between exchange and boundaries was reciprocal. The second section considers the mechanisms by which it took place, from West Africa to Italy and Flanders, and discusses the actual exchange of people, texts, and unusual artefacts. Overall, the essays bear witness to the constant interplay and interconnections throughout medieval Europe and beyond. Contributors: Paul Booth, Maria João Violante Branco, Rita Costa-Gomes, Mario Damen, Jan Dumolyn, Jean Dunbabin, Jean-Philippe Genet, Michael Jones, Maurice Keen, Frédérique Lachaud, Patrick Lantschner, Guilhem Pépin, R.L.J. Shaw, Hannah Skoda, Erik Spindler, John Watts.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-017-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. The Work of Malcolm Vale
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
    Michael Jones
  7. Principal Bibliography of Malcolm Vale
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)
    Patrick Lantschner and Hannah Skoda

    Human beings, in the words of Adam Smith, have ‘the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another’.¹

    This innate human tendency – which is not restricted by national boundaries, nor expressed only in trade and economic exchange – is the subject of this collection of articles. By the time Smith was writing his Wealth of Nations (1776), apparently ever denser levels of connections on the European continent, as well as between Europe and the rest of the world, seemed a particularly stark manifestation of this fundamental principle of human interaction. Yet, relationships of contact and exchange had been built...

  9. Part I Boundaries and Units

    • Introduction
      (pp. 27-32)

      It is obvious that processes of exchange must be shaped and often constrained by the boundaries across which they operate, and it is therefore fitting to open this volume with various explorations of the nature of boundaries and units in the later Middle Ages. The relationship between developing boundaries and units, and processes of exchange, is a reciprocal one: the nature of boundaries was itself moulded by the contacts and exchanges which took place across them. This is true of a variety of different types of contact. In the commercial sphere, Spindler’s article demonstrates that perceived boundaries between what it...

    • Economic Development, Social Space and Political Power in Bruges, c. 1127–1302
      (pp. 33-58)
      Jan Dumolyn

      In the county of Flanders, the emergence of medieval urban life is generally situated in the tenth century, the beginning of sustained growth in the late eleventh and the attainment of greatest demographic weight in the thirteenth century.¹ As in other regions of north-western Europe, as a result of a commercial revolution and the extension and intensification of trade, the town developed as a distinct kind of social formation within feudal society. The merchant class played a fundamental role in shaping the social, institutional and topographical development of early medieval urban centres.² In many parts of Europe, whether there had...

    • Flemings in the Peasants’ Revolt, 1381
      (pp. 59-78)
      Erik Spindler

      Thus ends the account of the Peasants’ Revolt in a London chronicle, the British Library’s Cotton MS Julius B. II. The statement is striking: why would Flemings have ‘lost their heads’ in the Peasants’ Revolt at all, given that Flemings took no active part in the rebellion and had no obvious connection with the poll tax (which sparked the revolt) or with the issue of villeinage which so pre-occupied the rebels? The content of the statement is puzzling, and so is its form: records of direct speech from the fourteenth century are rare, and few individuals would have been less...

    • Does a Common Language Mean a Shared Allegiance? Language, Identity, Geography and their Links with Polities: The Cases of Gascony and Brittany
      (pp. 79-102)
      Guilhem Pépin

      Since the nineteenth century, the use of a single language has tended to be associated with a single political entity.¹ Just as those attempting to create or strengthen so-called ‘nation-states’ in Western Europe have often pressed for linguistic homogeneity in their territories, historians have tended to believe that the use of a single language also has direct links with belonging to a single specific political entity using this language, and that, at the very least, some sort of solidarity exists between speakers of the same language living in different states. Not all modern voices have concurred regarding the necessity of...

    • Revisiting the Political Uses of Vernacular Language in Portugal during the Thirteenth Century: On Models, Motives and Modes
      (pp. 103-126)
      Maria João Violante Branco

      Allá van lenguas, donde quieren reyes, the subtitle of an article by Fernando Gonzaléz Ollé, provides an apposite adaptation of the old Spanish adage alla van leyes donde quieren reyes, and encapsulates language evolution and policies in medieval Iberia during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.¹ It was during this period that most of the Spanish kingdoms adopted Romance as their official language, the language which was to be written in the documents issued by the notaries in the royal chancery. This almost simultaneous conversion to vernacular writing was propelled by a number of factors ranging from internal processes of linguistic...

    • Scotland in the Later Middle Ages: A Province or a Foreign Kingdom for the English?
      (pp. 127-144)
      Jean-Philippe Genet

      The title of this chapter may sound provocative. It must be clear from the start that I have no intention of excluding Scotland from the small number of West European monarchies which deserve to be considered as modern states in the making: that is to say, states deeply immersed in intensive warfare, involving the building of an efficient fiscal system and the development of representative institutions able to provide the necessary political legitimation and consensus without which the rise of these socio-political structures would be impossible.¹ However, although all these elements were present in late medieval England and the Scottish...

    • The Angevin Legacy, Dynastic Rivalry and the Aftermath of the Hundred Years War, 1453–1491
      (pp. 145-158)
      Maurice Keen

      Malcolm Vale, in the concluding paragraphs of The Angevin Legacy‚ his masterly analysis of the origins of the Hundred Years War, has written that ‘if Anglo-French rivalry over the sovereignty of Aquitaine was a major cause of sustained conflict [as he has argued it was] then there is a clear line of continuity from Edward I’s war through Edward III’s successes to Henry VI’s defeat’.¹ Edward I’s lawyer diplomats in the 1290s were vigorously asserting the allodial status of the duchy and its independence from the French crown. Edward III, in the terms that he accepted at Brétigny in 1360,...

  10. Part II Practices of Exchange

    • Introduction
      (pp. 161-166)

      Contact and exchange is not a process that just happens: even when unconsciously undertaken, it has agents, and depends upon particular networks and structures, as well as the mechanisms themselves, technological or otherwise, of communication. Recent methodological developments in transnational studies and histoire croisée oblige us, in focusing upon the processes of exchange, to look to the actors and mechanisms which made this possible. In this section of the volume we explore the different modes through which exchanges could be conducted and the transformative nature of exchange relationships.

      Although social, political and cultural boundaries became more stridently articulated in this...

    • In and Out of Africa: Iberian Courts and the Afro-Portuguese Olifant of the Late 1400s
      (pp. 167-188)
      Rita Costa-Gomes

      Among the masterpieces on display at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, is a majestic elephant tusk dating from the late fifteenth century. Standing just over twenty-five inches high, the tusk is elaborately decorated and opened at its narrow end to make it into an ‘olifant’, a medieval name for ivory horns used for hunting calls or as an emblem of office. The complex and masterfully executed reliefs that run the olifant’s entire length depict scenes of stag hunting.¹ Heraldic emblems carved at its lower section attest to the high social rank both of the person who...

    • The Knowledge and Use of the ‘Teachings of Saint Louis’ in Fourteenth-Century England
      (pp. 189-210)
      Frédérique Lachaud

      The reign of Louis IX (1226–70) was marked by an ambitious policy of reform within the French kingdom as well as by a number of significant initiatives in the context of relations with the other European states – illustrated by Louis as a king of peace – and the Muslim world, in particular the renewal of the crusade.¹ Louis also deliberately cultivated an image close to contemporary models of sanctity. After the death of the king at Tunis, this image was taken up and developed by several authors in the context of the procedure that eventually led to his canonisation in...

    • Philip of Chieti in Flanders, 1303—1305
      (pp. 211-220)
      Jean Dunbabin

      The life of Philip of Chieti, begun in Flanders but spent chiefly in southern Italy, provides a good example of continuing loyalties across distance. It shows, first, that family ties in the thirteenth century could survive geographical separations to a surprising degree, at least where aristocratic males were concerned. Second, political constraints imposed in one society could and did have an impact on another society; and, incidentally, heroism and self-sacrifice could often go unrewarded and do little good to anyone. The background to his life was the conquest in 1266 by Charles of Anjou, brother of Louis IX, of the...

    • The Last Week of the Life of Edward the Black Prince
      (pp. 221-246)
      Paul Booth

      Edward the Black Prince died in the palace of Westminster, after years of debilitating illness, on Trinity Sunday, 8 June 1376. There has been little or no discussion by historians of why the prince should have chosen Canterbury for burial, when Westminster abbey was already well-established as the royal mausoleum, or any discussion at all of another matter to which the prince gave attention in his very last days, namely the grant of a charter of disafforestation to the community of Wirral in his earldom and county of Chester. In order to recover the prince’s own assessment of his life...

    • Tournament Culture in the Low Countries and England
      (pp. 247-266)
      Mario Damen

      In 1279 John I, duke of Brabant, travelled to England to arrange a marriage for his son with Margaret, daughter of King Edward I.¹ According to the chronicler Jan van Heelu the duke deliberately sought out tournaments and chivalric games (tornoy ende feeste) and he was not disappointed. A tournament was arranged, probably at Windsor, with the royal couple as the most important spectators. But when the time came to divide the teams, it emerged that the duke’s conroi was short of a few tourneyers. Then Queen Eleanor of Castile decided that six bannerets, ‘the best of the entire country’,...

  11. Conclusions
    (pp. 267-276)
    John Watts

    Hearing the name of the new MP for Maidstone in 1932, Alfred Bossom, Winston Churchill was delighted: ‘How extraordinary!’ cried the great statesman, ‘It is neither one thing, nor the other!’¹ This oft-recycled bon mot could serve as a (rather irreverent) text for the papers in this collection, which have been very much concerned with the ways that real people and their interactions confound or complicate the identities, roles and solidarities that populate the pages of history books. Focusing on processes of contact and exchange, and the forms that accompany and derive from them, these essays confront the reader with...

  12. Index
    (pp. 277-290)
  13. Tabula Gratulatoria
    (pp. 291-292)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 293-293)