IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 1024: The 'Rules of the Game' in Socio-Political Interactions

Wednesday 11 July 2012, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Irina Metzler, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University / Projekt 'Homo Debilis', Universität Bremen
Paper 1024-aThe Rules of the Game Have Changed: Charlemagne's Admonitio Generalis (789) and the Hierarchical Ordering of Society
(Language: English)
Mary Alberi, Department of History, Pace University, New York
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Political Thought, Religious Life
Paper 1024-bThe Rules of the Game: Re-Enactors and Fealty
(Language: English)
Kristina Hildebrand, Akademin för lärande, humaniora och samhälle, Högskolan i Halmstad
Index terms: Law, Medievalism and Antiquarianism

Paper -a:
My paper explores the rules contained in Charlemagne’s programmatic capitulary, the Admonitio generalis (789). Drawing on Mary Douglas’s definitions of enclave and hierarchical cultures, my paper suggests the Admonitio generalis balances two models of Christian society. Rules promoting hierarchy ordered clergy, monks, and populus in disciplined ranks supervised by king, bishops, counts and missi dominici. Strict discipline made the populus a sanctified enclave, set apart from the profane world. This combination of hierarchy and enclave biases suited Charlemagne’s political and ideological goals: consolidating his authority, while providing his regime with religious justification.

Paper -b:
In re-enactment groups, fealty is often sworn and received, in imitation of a feudal world. The procedure is invested with various meanings, often with a clear desire to mark it both as significant and as different from life-long fealty. In the oaths, these boundaries are often explicitly set. I will investigate, through interviews, a number of issues surrounding the modern re-enactor’s fealty, such as how the re-enactor understands medieval fealty; how this understanding colours their own experience of fealty, and how significant fealty is to their understanding of the Middle Ages.