A QUESTION OF CONTROL: VIOLENCE AND LATE MEDIEVAL SOCIETY DURING THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR

Date
2021-12-03
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Abstract

The military communities operating within the scope of the Hundred Years War have received significant attention in recent years. Nevertheless, the study of violence—both state-sanctioned and otherwise—during the late-medieval period is still largely incomplete. Existing studies of statehood and the development of “proto-fiscal military states” during the fourteenth and fifteenth century are often limited, overwhelmingly in their focus upon exclusively royal-seigniorial powers and the economic limitations of European monarchs. Incorporating a wide range of ecclesiastical and common perspectives, alongside traditional examinations of royal centralization, allows one to expand studies of the monopolization of violence beyond royal-seigniorial power and into a broader context. My analyses of attempts to monopolize violence are centered on two facets of authority during the late-medieval period: ecclesiastical authorities and a combination of urban burghers and rural commons, known as popular authorities. I argue that royal-seigniorial power—despite its incredible influence—was not the only impetus for an effective monopolization of violence during the Hundred Years’ War, but rather one part of a complex and often contradicting myriad of competing political, economic, social, and religious motivations, propagated by all aspects of medieval society. Furthermore, I demonstrate how military communities operating independent of royal power—primarily, though not limited to, the routiers—served as a catalyst for extensive societal change and the evolution of professional military service.

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Medieval, Violence, Hundred Years War
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