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Princely Power in Late Medieval France : Jeanne de Penthièvre and the War for Brittany

Erika Graham-Goering

GRAHAM-GOERING Erika , Princely Power in Late Medieval France. Jeanne de Penthièvre and the War for Brittany, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2020.
ISBN : 9781108489096.

Jeanne de Penthièvre (c.1326–1384), duchess of Brittany, was an active and determined ruler who maintained her claim to the duchy throughout a war of succession and even after her eventual defeat. This in-depth study examines Jeanne’s administrative and legal records to explore her co-rule with her husband, the social implications of ducal authority, and her strategies of legitimization in the face of conflict. While studies of medieval political authority often privilege royal, male, and exclusive models of power, Erika Graham-Goering reveals how there were multiple coexisting standards of princely action, and it was the navigation of these expectations that was more important to the successful exercise of power than adhering to any single approach. Cutting across categories of hierarchy, gender, and collaborative rule, this perspective sheds light on women’s rulership as a crucial component in the power structures of the early Hundred Years’ War, and demonstrates that lordship retained salience as a political category even in a period of growing monarchical authority.

Table des matières :

Lists of illustrations
A note on names

Introduction. Approaches to princely power
1. The career of Jeanne de Penthièvre
2. Concepts of power in Jeanne de Penthièvre’s acta
3. Managing property : Inheritance and seigneurial partnerships
4. Managing people : Followers and service
5. Managing order : Conflict, negotiation, and women as lords
6. Debating the social context of princely power in 1341
7. Legitimate rule and the balance of power

Erika Graham-Goering is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of History at Ghent University where her research focuses on issues of lordship, reputation, and political and social ideologies in late medieval France. With extensive experience working in the national and departmental archives of France, she is the author of Aux origines de la guerre de succession de Bretagne (2019), a critical edition of documents from the 1341 Breton succession crisis.