Political communication & political community in 13th century England

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Date(s) - 20/09/2013
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Faculty Seminar Room

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Political Communication & Political Community

in 13th Century England

Kathleen Neal (Monash)

Friday 20 September, 12 -1 pm, Faculty Seminar Room (E 561, Building 11, Clayton campus)

This week’s History Department Research Seminar features Dr Kathleen Neal discussing Edward I’s  correspondence with officials and the aristocracy. Edward I of England (1272-1307), best known to modern audiences as ‘the Hammer of the Scots’ and founder of the English Parliament, corresponded with hundreds of aristocrats and officials; several thousand of these letters survive.Letters were a crucial part of his political strategy. They facilitated governance by directing royal representatives scattered over a large realm, and thus enabled the king to consolidate power in the wake of the baronial rebellion and associated unrest that occupied the last decades of his father’s rule. Adopting a case study approach, this paper argues that the rhetoric of such administrative correspondence was politically meaningful despite its often formulaic appearance. Reading hitherto unexamined letters in light of both contextual detail and the standard epistolary structures advocated by medieval theorists I interpret these sources as social artefacts that both reflected and sought to influence the relationship of the political community to the crown. In so doing, I suggest a new understanding of how kingly authority was made and maintained in the 13th century.

Enquiries to the convenor: megan.cassidy-welch@monash.edu