A History of Medieval Political Thought, 300-1450

A History of Medieval Political Thought, 300-1450

A History of Medieval Political Thought, 300-1450

A History of Medieval Political Thought, 300-1450


Incorporating research previously unavailable in English, this clear guide gives a synthesis of the latest scholarship providing the historical and intellectual context for political ideas.This accessible and lucid guide to medieval political thought* gives a synthesis of the latest scholarship* incorporates the results of research until now unavailable in English* focuses on the crucial primary source material* provides the historical and intellectual context for political ideas.The book covers four periods, each with a different focus:* 300-750 - Christian ideas of rulership* 750-1050 - the Carolingian period and its aftermath* 1050-1290 - the relationship between temporal and spiritual power, and the revived legacy of antiquity* 1290-1450 - the confrontation with political reality in ideas of church and of state, and in juristic thought.Canning has produced an ideal introductory text for undergraduate and postgraduate students of the period.


The completion of this book marks the end of a long journey which I began, when, as an undergraduate at Cambridge, I attended the lectures and seminars of Walter Ullmann. I owe a considerable debt to him for inspiring me to study the political thought of the Middle Ages and for supervising me as his research student.

I should like to thank the University of Wales, Bangor, for two periods of study leave to finish this work, and its School of History and Welsh History for research grants. Without Ann Illsley’s efficiency in obtaining inter-library loans, my task would have been much more difficult. I also wish to express my gratitude to the British Academy for financial support for necessary research. The resources of Cambridge University Library and the Warburg Institute have also been of very great assistance. I wish to record my gratitude to my original editor at Routledge, Janice Price, for her encouragement while this book was being written.

I should like to thank Professor Dr Otto Gerhard Oexle for inviting me for two research visits as a Stipendiat at the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte at Göttingen, a paradise for historical research. I should also like to thank my good friend there, Dieter Girgensohn, for arranging my original invitation: he and his wife Bettina helped make my stays extremely happy and fruitful.

I owe my greatest debt of gratitude to my wife, to whom this book is dedicated, for sustaining me throughout the time of preparation and writing, and to my children who put up with having an author as a father.

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