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Resident Scholars and Artists Lecture Series: Kathryn Salzer

When Mar 29, 2016
from 11:45 AM to 01:00 PM
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Resident Scholars and Artists Lecture Series
Kathryn Salzer

Guarding Castellan Rights in the Dioceses of Arras and Cambrai: the Castellan Families of Arras, Cambrai, Douai, and Valenciennes

During the central Middle Ages, castellans were important figures of power and authority in medieval Europe, commanding castles and other fortifications and exerting significant agricultural and economic control in the region surrounding their fortified holdings. Contrary to their contemporary reputation for aggression, castellan families used a variety of methods to keep and enhance their power, including political and social alliances, monastic patronage, and violence. This project examines the castellan families of Arras, Cambrai, Douai, and Valenciennes and demonstrates that when studying those who held power in medieval Europe we must look beyond the traditional sources that are typically either pro-royal or pro-episcopal. When we examine the contemporary economic and monastic documents, as well as the material evidence of fortifications and castles, we find that each castellan family experienced different trajectories in their success at safeguarding and expanding their own power and authority. Whatever their ultimate success, we also see that the methods used by the castellans were similar to those employed by other political leaders, such as royal families and bishops.

Light lunch at 11:45 a.m. Presentation starts promptly at 12:00 p.m.