The Peace of God

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Scholars have argued that the politically fractured landscape of medieval Western Europe was foundational to the evolution of constitutionalism and rule of law. In making this argument, Salter and Young (2019) have recently emphasized that the constellation of political property rights in the High Middle Ages was polycentric and hierarchical; holders of those rights were residual claimants to the returns on their governance and sovereign. The latter characteristics—residual claimancy and sovereignty—imply a clear delineation of jurisdictional boundaries and their integrity. However, historians’ description of the “feudal anarchy” that followed the tenth-century disintegration of the Carolingian Empire does not suggest clearly delineated and stable boundaries. In this paper, I highlight the role of the Peace of God movement in the 11th and 12th centuries in delineating and stabilizing the structure of political property rights. In terms of historical political economy, the Peace of God movement provides an important link between the early medieval era and the constitutional arrangements of the High Middle Ages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-55
Number of pages28
JournalRationality and Society
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Medieval economic history
  • Peace of God
  • comparative economic development
  • medieval constitution
  • political property rights
  • polycentric governance
  • sovereignty

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