Hastening Toward Prague: Power and Society in the Medieval Czech Lands

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University of Pennsylvania Press, Jul 25, 2001 - History - 406 pages

This is the first comprehensive study in English of Czech society and politics in the High Middle Ages. It paints a vivid portrait of a flourishing Christian community in the decades between 1050 and 1200. Bohemia's social and political landscape remained remarkably cohesive, centered on a throne in Prague, the Premyslid duke who occupied it, a society of property-owning freemen, and the ascendant Catholic church. In decades fraught with political violence, these provided a focal point for Czech identity and political order. In this, the Czechs' heavenly patron, Saint Vaclav, and the German emperor beyond their borders too had a role to play.

An impressive, systematic dissection of a medieval polity, Hastening Toward Prague is based on a close rereading of written and material artifacts from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Arguing against a view that puts state or nation formation at heart, Wolverton examines interactions among dukes, emperors, freemen, and the church on their own terms, asking what powers the dukes of Bohemia possessed and how they were exercised within a broader political community. Evaluating not only the foundations and practice of ducal lordship but also the form and progress of resistance to it, she argues in particular that violence was not a sign of political instability but should be interpreted as reflecting a dynamic economy of checks and balances in a fluid, mature political system. This also reveals the values and strategies that sustained the Czech Lands as a community. The study honors the complexity and dynamism of the medieval exercise of power.

 

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Contents

DUCAL LORDSHIP
17
THE FREEMEN
42
INTERDEPENDENCE
79
THE CHURCH
111
DYNAMICS AND STRATEGIES
145
POLITICS AND THE DIVINE THE MEANING AND MOBILIZATION OF SAINT VACLAV
147
DYNASTIC RELATIONS MORAVIA AND THE PROGRESS OF REVOLT
186
MANIPULATIONS OF IMPERIAL AUTHORITY
228
CONCLUSION
265
SELECTED MAGNATE GENEALOGIES
277
NAMES AND LANGUAGE
281
ABBREVIATIONS
285
NOTES
287
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED
385
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
405

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Page 388 - Discretionem tuam, bone imperator, scire convenit, quod electio ducis Boemiae, sicut ab antecessoribus nostris accepimus, nunquam in imperatoris semper autem in Boemiae principum constitit arbitrio, in tua vero potestate electionis sola confirmatio.

About the author (2001)

Lisa Wolverton teaches history at University of Oregon.

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