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The Later Middle Ages$
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Isabella Lazzarini

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198731641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198731641.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

Power, government, and political life

Power, government, and political life

(p.19) 1 Power, government, and political life
The Later Middle Ages

John Watts

Oxford University Press

The chapter offers a survey of the central features of later medieval political life. It was often bloody, but the resort to bloodshed was politically purposeful, and the focus on individuals reflected the parts they played in larger frameworks of power. Those frameworks were both ‘private’ and ‘public’—they were followings of men and women, linked together in relationships of marriage, service, or friendship for mutual advantage; but they also involved the performance of official roles, the negotiation of public business, the management of institutions. The frameworks of power were national, international, and ‘transnational’. Europe was divided into self-conscious political spaces, each with a measure of sovereignty and identity, but these spaces also overlapped and, within virtually any political setting, authority was contestable: it involved a complicated mixture of relationships among elites and much wider movements, voiced and promoted by representative assemblies and popular revolts.

Keywords:   Europe, later Middle Ages, political history, political agency, power, government

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