Skip to main content

IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 1633: Materiality of Identities in Capetian France, II

Thursday 4 July 2019, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Medieval Prosopography / Manchester Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Studies, University of Manchester
Organiser:Alex Hurlow, Department of History, University of Manchester
Moderator/Chair:Sophie Ambler, Independent Scholar, London
Paper 1633-aErmengarde of Brittany's Life in Four Objects
(Language: English)
Amy Livingstone, Department of History, Wittenberg University, Ohio
Index terms: Charters and Diplomatics, Gender Studies, Social History, Women's Studies
Paper 1633-bChivalric Self-Fashioning and the Jeu-parti: Reports from Capetian France
(Language: English)
Jenna Phillips, History, Huntington Library, California
Index terms: Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Literacy and Orality, Performance Arts - General, Social History
Paper 1633-cA Knightly Identity in the Capetian Kingdom: Jean, Lord of Joinville
(Language: English)
Xavier Hélary, Département d'histoire, Université Paris IV - Sorbonne
Index terms: Charters and Diplomatics, Genealogy and Prosopography, Politics and Diplomacy

As Robert Fawtier remarked 'the French nation grew up within the bounds of space, authority and government created by the Capetian kings'. From a weak position in the 11th century to their apogee in the mid-13th century, the Capetian kings engineered the development of a centralised kingdom with a distinct Frankish identity that formed the heartland of courtly society and was the driving force behind the crusades. The developments allowed the Capetian kings to realise more easily their theoretical power over unruly barons through military, administrative and cultural means. While the Capetian achievement can hardly be disputed, such triumphant narratives feed into a teleological understanding of French national history which sees the French 'nation' and its identity emerging seamlessly from Capetian centralisation.

Yet French national identity remains a contested concept which still competes with regional identities to this day. This session seeks to explore how people, places and institutions expressed their own distinct identities within the context of growing Capetian centralisation from the 11th into the 13th century and the extent to which these identities intersected and interacted with a growing sense of French 'national' identity and Capetian royal ideology.