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Princely Power in Late Medieval France
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Book description

Jeanne de Penthièvre (c.1326–1384), duchess of Brittany, was an active and determined ruler who maintained her claim to the duchy throughout a war of succession and even after her eventual defeat. This in-depth study examines Jeanne's administrative and legal records to explore her co-rule with her husband, the social implications of ducal authority, and her strategies of legitimization in the face of conflict. While studies of medieval political authority often privilege royal, male, and exclusive models of power, Erika Graham-Goering reveals how there were multiple coexisting standards of princely action, and it was the navigation of these expectations that was more important to the successful exercise of power than adhering to any single approach. Cutting across categories of hierarchy, gender, and collaborative rule, this perspective sheds light on women's rulership as a crucial component in the power structures of the early Hundred Years' War, and demonstrates that lordship retained salience as a political category even in a period of growing monarchical authority.


‘Overall, this book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of noble power in the later Middle Ages. This book thus has plenty to offer historians interested in the nature of noble power in the medieval period, and how this played out during periods of sustained conflict.’

Matthew Hefferan Source: Royal Studies Journal

'This book investigates the rulership of Jeanne de Penthiève (c.1326-1384), duchess of Brittany, and her struggle to maintain power in Brittany. Jeanne and her husband’s rule are researched through the study of an outstanding range of printed and archival administrative and legal records. These sources are examined within a novel theoretical framework, challenging scholarly assumptions on the legitimacy of princely power, collaborative rule, and gendered power in fourteenth-century Europe. Significantly, Graham-Goering successfully demonstrates the crucial role of female rulership and lordship in the first phases of the Hundred Years’ War in face of growing monarchical authority.'

Source: Royal Historical Society Gladstone Awards Committee

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