Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-8bbf57454-z2jr4 Total loading time: 0.216 Render date: 2022-01-24T21:25:50.866Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2019

Get access

Summary

In a 1982 essay on twelfth-century kings and kingship, Karl Leyser commented that ‘the most common characteristic of twelfth-century rulers … seems to have been chicanery’. Thirty-five years later few scholars would disagree with his assessment that deceit and subterfuge were indeed hallmarks of high medieval kingship. Leyser provides as an example of such deviousness the advice that the Empress Matilda apparently gave to her son Henry II. To paraphrase Walter Map, who disapproved of Henry's man-management techniques, Matilda advised Henry to treat his followers mean to keep them keen. Prone to fits of unspeakable rage, Henry II hardly cuts a figure sympathetic to modern sensibilities. However, like many duplicitous men, Henry could be charming too. This charm was often in evidence in Henry's interactions with his monarchical counterparts. At his obsequious best, the Plantagenet could be a model of humility, stressing his subservience to his Capetian and Hohenstaufen contemporaries in such honeyed terms that it is not just modern historians who doubt his sincerity.

The fawning letter that Henry II sent to Frederick Barbarossa in 1157 has been the subject of much scholarship. Until the 1960s, scholars accepted Henry's flattery at face value and the letter was held up as the ultimate example of the power and influence a medieval German emperor could exercise over kings in neighbouring lands. It is easy to understand why it became, as Leyser described it, ‘the crown-witness for the view that the imperium had, if not a direct lordship, at least some kind of indefinable ascendancy over all the regna’. Henry, in most deferential terms, claimed that he would do whatever Frederick desired. Except, of course, as Leyser pointed out, Henry refused to do the one thing that Frederick did actually want: for the king to hand over the Hand of Saint James. Brought from Germany to England by Henry's mother the Empress Matilda, the relic was to stay at his grandfather's foundation at Reading. That a relic of the Apostle James was the subject of twelfth-century monarchical diplomacy serves to remind us of the extent to which liturgical and political concerns intermingled. Relics provided a material focus for liturgical ceremonial and, as we have seen in chapters 3 and 4, commemoration of the Apostle James was intertwined with royal ritual within the Empire on more than one occasion.

Type
Chapter
Information
Inauguration and Liturgical Kingship in the Long Twelfth Century
Male and Female Accession Rituals in England, France and the Empire
, pp. 215 - 224
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Conclusion
  • Johanna Dale
  • Book: Inauguration and Liturgical Kingship in the Long Twelfth Century
  • Online publication: 25 October 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787443891.010
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Conclusion
  • Johanna Dale
  • Book: Inauguration and Liturgical Kingship in the Long Twelfth Century
  • Online publication: 25 October 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787443891.010
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Johanna Dale
  • Book: Inauguration and Liturgical Kingship in the Long Twelfth Century
  • Online publication: 25 October 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787443891.010
Available formats
×