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Papal overlordship and protectio of the king, c.1000-1300

Wiedemann, Benedict; (2017) Papal overlordship and protectio of the king, c.1000-1300. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on papal overlordship of monarchs in the middle ages. It examines the nature of alliances between popes and kings which have traditionally been called ‘feudal’ or – more recently – ‘protective’. Previous scholarship has assumed that there was a distinction between kingdoms under papal protection and kingdoms under papal overlordship. I argue that protection and feudal overlordship were distinct categories only from the later twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Before then, papal-royal alliances tended to be ad hoc and did not take on more general forms. At the beginning of the thirteenth century kingdoms started to be called ‘fiefs’ of the papacy. This new type of relationship came from England, when King John surrendered his kingdoms to the papacy in 1213. From then on this ‘feudal’ relationship was applied to the pope’s relationship with the king of Sicily. This new – more codified – feudal relationship seems to have been introduced to the papacy by the English royal court rather than by another source such as learned Italian jurists, as might have been expected. A common assumption about how papal overlordship worked is that it came about because of the active attempts of an over-mighty papacy to advance its power for its own sake. But the people who gained from papal overlordship were those outside the papal curia who could instrumentalize papal power for their own ends. It was up to kings, regents and their councillors to decide when and whether to use papal overlordship and protection. Papal overlordship was a tool of royal more than of papal power.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Papal overlordship and protectio of the king, c.1000-1300
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10038385
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