Images of kingship in bishops' biographies and deeds in twelfth-century England and Germany

Authors Organisations

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
Award date2018
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This thesis offers the first comparative study of kingship as depicted by episcopal vitae and gesta, a neglected source for the study of political thought in the High Middle Ages. By examining how these sources portrayed kings in twelfth-century England and Germany, this study also provides the first systematic and in-depth investigation of the portrayal of English and German kingship in what was the largest extant narrative genre from the two realms. This examination of over sixty sources, as well as their classical, biblical, and early medieval models, both identifies important contrasts between the political culture of the two realms and reassesses the extent to which, in the eyes of contemporaries, kingship underwent a fundamental transformation during the era of the Investiture Contest and the twelfth-century renaissance.


  • medieval history, kingship, bishops, England, Germany