Were The Early Capetian Monarchs Of Medieval

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Were The Early Capetian Monarchs Of Medieval Frace Merely Primus Inter Pares Essay, Research Paper The suggestion that the Capetian kings of the tenth and eleventh century were weak and merely Primus inter pares, appears a valid one. There has been a trend ever since the age of Charlemagne for the position of the kings of the Frankish State to be fragile. There are some historians however; who would refute this description of the Capetian kings of this period, most notably the historian Fawtier, who suggested that the king was truly a powerful medieval leader in the mould of the modern notions of kingship. The other view is that of the historians Lemarignier and Duby, suggesting that the Capetian kings of this time only had a localised powerbase, meaning that they were indeed

little more than first amongst equal Primus inter pares. The question however should also centre upon why the Capetian kings of this period were first amongst equal, whilst the kings of Saxon-Salian Germany at this time were so powerful. Let us first then consider the argument of Fawtier that the Capetian kings of the tenth and eleventh century were not first amongst equals, but rather powerful kings similar to those of Saxon-Salian Germany. Fawtier reasoned that the king was a powerful for several reasons, all of which help to provide the king with theoretical power. They could call upon the support of the church, as the church themselves would back the legitimate lord in order to ensure stability. This effectively meant that the Capetian kings had the backing of God, which

would theoretically place them in a great advantage over the other lords such as those of Flanders, Anjou and Normandy. The king also held legal rights, including being the font of justice and keeper of the peace. Theoretically these legal rights meant that the king should be obeyed and that essentially everything revolved around the king. Yet was this necessarily true? After all if the rulers of this time are supposedly first amongst equals, then surely this cannot be the case. Indeed the arguments for the Capetian leaders being Primus inter pares suggest that the view held by Fawtier is wrong. One must understand that during the tenth and eleventh centuries, the forces of feudalism were inherent within the Frankish State. The arguments regarding feudal power put forth by Bloch

and Ganshof would suggest that the nature of the medieval state means that power is wielded through one s military capacity, not through theoretical power. As such the Capetian s power would be derived from the land held by themselves, meaning that their power is highly localised particularly due to the relatively small landholdings of the Capetians. The historian Lemarignier exerts such an argument regarding the state of power within the early Capetian State. Essentially the form of rule at this time is effectively the same as that of during the time of Charlemagne. There was no governmental structure, and equally no concept of abstract leadership within the Frankish State. Leaders had to rule through their own personal dynamism and military capacity. Unfortunately, for the

Capetians of this period, their capacity for drawing vassals to fight for them was severely limited, especially compared to those of the surrounding grand duchies. One can attribute the notion of the Capetians being first amongst equals at this time primarily at the strength of the surrounding duchies. The prime example of which would be the Norman duchy. The weakness of the Capetian leaders of the Frankish State at this time is highlighted by the fact that the Normans saw themselves as an independent kingdom from the rest of Frankia. The fact that the Norman s were able to call themselves such with little or no action from the Capetian leaders, save for re-titling the Norman duke a count, emphasises the strength of Normandy in relation to the Capetian State. Indeed if we were to