June 30, 2018

Originally published by Medievalists.net July 2, 2018.

As I argued in my last column, by the thirteenth century Latin Christians shared an understanding of governed political community that was corporate, territorial and organic in nature. But what were the ends of such...

June 24, 2018

In my previous three columns I examined the ways in which material changes – the military, fiscal and judicial revolutions – gave rise to the medieval state.  In this and the following few instalments, I will examine a parallel development: the way in which changes in...

June 17, 2018

So far in this series, we have talked about medieval “revolutions” in military power and judicial authority. A third great change in the late medieval era was in the control of money.


During the tenth to twelfth centuries, the right to mint coins had slipped from the e...

June 10, 2018


There are those who believe there was a “Great Divide” in Europe between the medieval and the modern, which happened in the 17th century. They call this the “rupture thesis” – when feudalism withered and was replaced by the sovereign state. Here I will present element...

June 3, 2018

In the following three columns, I trace the roots of the “modern state” – not in the 16th or 17th centuries as in most conventional accounts, but in the 13th and 14th. I begin by looking at the emergence of the late medieval “war state”.

Feudal Warmaking

From the late 12...

April 8, 2018

When it comes to warfare in the Middle Ages, the common belief is that it was always motivated by feudal concerns, religious convictions, or by what Thucydides called the eternal drivers of “honour, fear and interest.” The reality is that medieval wars were often the p...

June 3, 2015

Was there such a thing as International Relations in the Middle Ages? Scholars of International Relations (IR) have usually not paid much attention to the medieval era, but in his new book Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics: War and World Order in the Age of the Crusades,...

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