Skip to main content

IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 246: The Ideal Monarch in the Middle Ages

Monday 3 July 2023, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Emma Cayley, Department of Modern Languages, University of Exeter
Paper 246-aThe Death and Bloody End of Tyrants: 'Dying well' as Defined by the De Principis Instructione
(Language: English)
Emily Abercrombie, School of History, University of Liverpool
Index terms: Mentalities, Political Thought, Social History
Paper 246-bIllustrations of Royalty in La Queste Del Saint Graal: Galahad and King Arthur
(Language: English)
Monica Oanca, Facultatea de Teologie Ortodoxă, Universitatea din Bucureşti
Index terms: Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Lay Piety
Paper 246-cChristina de Pizan and Her Non-Fighting King
(Language: English)
Kamil Ernazarov
Index terms: Military History, Political Thought

Paper -a:
Accounts of the deaths of medieval kings were punctuated with opinions on morality and often came with forewarnings of their demise, whether that be through cosmological events or the dreams of clerics or even dreams of the kings themselves. To die well was to die a natural, peaceful death, perhaps even in a religious house, but certainly after receiving absolution from sins. Unfortunately for the Angevin kings of England, this was not to be their fate. This paper shall discuss how this network of ideas allowed Gerald of Wales to present the death of kings within his De Principis Instructione and the moral implications that followed.

Paper -b:
King Arthur has sometimes been described as inactive and superficial, and Galahad seems to live in mystical shadows. However, when analysing their actions from the perspective of Christian political theories emphasised by John of Salisbury and Thomas Aquinas, the kings' actions acquire a different significance, as they respect the Christian pattern, which states that the king's crucial responsibility is to provide for his people's needs and to preserve the peace of the kingdom. In this article, the author aims to identify the features of the ideal Christian ruler and to see to what extent the kings in La Queste Del Saint Graal comply with this image.

Paper -c:
The paper focuses on the image of the king as a military leader in the treatise Le livre de faits d'armes et de chevalerie by Christine de Pizan (1364-1430). Christine presented the king as a rational military leader who should not appear on the battlefield because of the danger of being captured or killed, but rather should remain in the palace, as Charles V (1338-1380) did. Christine de Pizan was one of the first to take the idea of the non-fighting king out of the works of intellectuals and transform it into a text aimed directly to knights and commanders. The image of the ruler, created by Christina de Pizan, was not medieval, it ruined the ideal of the knight king, and was one of the forerunners of the modern image of the prince, whose place was rather in the palace than in the battlefield.