Sunday, May 01, 2011

Susan Reynolds, There were States in Medieval Europe

This essay by one of the best of medieval historians is worth a look.


  1. This seems unusually clear-headed. Medieval political structures always struck me as being reasonably called "states" despite the fluidity of aristocratic rule, and their disconnection from the social (language, ethnicity)factors we associate with modern states. If you think of them more as "estates",like business firms, which families might own, trade, split, or merge, but which had significant organizational unity and boundaries, then the mysterious side of it disappears.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I'll need to give it another reading or two before figuring out exactly what I think of it (and to be fair I should really look at her and Davies' earlier articles) but she always provides pretty sound reasoning.