Monday, November 24, 2008

A sage comment

Jonathan Jarrett at A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe wants to remind his readers that medieval charters are more safely seen as demands for royal action, or at least royal authorization for non-royal action, than as evidence for royal policy:

People: we give kings much too much work to have done. I don’t mean to suggest that their days were idle, Alfonso[I of Aragon]’s in particular clearly not, but it’s not as if no-one did anything in these areas without the royal say-so. Most of your life as a medieval settler you’d never have anything to do with the king. By ascribing all this initiative to the king we lift it off the shoulders of the people whose lives depended on these decisions, and to whom we should allow the credit of having taken them.
If you don't know Jarrett's blog but have a real interest in how medieval historians think, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Currently on top: free wine and beer at Kalamazoo, how to eat cheap at other scholarly locales.



OpenID tenthmedieval said...

Many thanks as ever for the plug; you've also supplied a much more scholarly way of phrasing my point than I came up with...

5:17 PM  

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