Peace and Protection in the Middle Ages


Peace and Protection in the Middle Ages



Edited by Thomas Benedict Lambert and David W. Rollason.

Includes chapter by College at Brockport faculty member Stefan Jurasinski, Madness and responsibility in Anglo-Saxon England.

That kings, prelates and even lowly freemen were, under certain specified conditions, capable of offering protection or “peace” to others, usually their inferiors, is relatively well known. That a breach of this protection might entitle, or indeed oblige, the protector to take action against the violator is similarly well understood. However, this protective dynamic has rarely received direct scholarly attention, despite its being evident in an extraordinary range of contexts. The emotional aspects of protection - the honour and love associated with the bond it creates, and the shame and anger that accompany its breach - resonate in both heroic and chivalric ideals, whilst in legal fiction at least, the king’s protection or peace would come to underpin the common law of trespass. Such a broad sweep, taking in social, legal, religious and cultural elements, suggests that protection as a concept may have a wider significance than its marginal role in current historiography would indicate. Indeed, the influence of protection both in forming social bonds and in providing a framework for the legitimate use of force suggests that the concept could serve as a valuable counterpoint to more traditional “institutional” understandings of power. This book explores peace and protection as a fundamental motor of medieval society, across a broad geographical and chronological span; brings together literary, legal and historical studies making use of a wide range of approaches; and focuses scholarly attention as never before on the concept of peace and protection viewed in relation to kings and lords, charity and mercy, and the action of feud and vendetta.



Publication Date


Publication Information

Toronto : Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, c2009.

xi, 202 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.

Series: Durham medieval and renaissance monographs and essays ; 1






Located in Drake Library at: D131 .P42 2009

Co-published by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Durham University.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Includes some text in Latin, Middle English, Middle French, and Old Norse.

CONTENTS: Introduction: Some approaches to peace and protection in the middle ages / T.B. Lambert -- Protection and the mead-hall / David Rollason -- Royal protection in Aquitaine and Gascony by c.1000: the public, the private, and the princely / Claire Taylor -- Protecting the body in early medieval law / Lisi Oliver -- Protection and immunity in later medieval England / Helen Lacey -- Madness and responsibility in Anglo-Saxon England / Stefan Juransinski -- Spiritual protection and secular power: the evolution of sanctuary and legal privilege in Ripon and Beverly, 900 - 1300 / T.B. Lambert -- Charitable constraint: the sacred obligation of charity as a protective force in late medieval England / Daniel E. Thiery -- Protection, warranty, and vengeance in La Chanson de Roland / Stephen D. White -- Vengeance and mercy in chivalric mentalité / Richard Kaeuper -- Ideology of vengeance in old Norse mythology / John McKinnell.

Peace and Protection in the Middle Ages