Final Public Oral Exam: Hollis Emory Shaul

Final Public Oral Examination
Event date: 
December 13, 2018 - 1:30pm

The Prince and the Priors: Carthusian Monasticism and the Experience of State-Building in Angevin Provence, 1245-1385


William Chester Jordan, adviser
Helmut Reimitz
Jack Tannous
Anne Lester, Johns Hopkins University


This dissertation examines the relationships between monastic institutions, princes, and bureaucrats in the period from 1200 to 1400. Charles of Anjou’s forty-year reign as count of Provence (1245-1285) and king of Sicily was a time of intense administrative and fiscal centralization, territorial expansion, and economic growth. This dissertation tells the story of the Angevin administration through the lens of the Carthusian monasteries of Provence using monastic charter evidence, chancery documents, and inquisition records. It argues that monasteries functioned as political communities, cultivated networks of royal patrons, and cooperated with the kings of Naples in the Angevin project of extending sovereignty and consolidating jurisdiction in the medieval Mediterranean. This dissertation examines how these new royal claims disturbed the fragile rural political economy in the countryside surrounding medieval monasteries. When peasants attacked monks and slandered royal officials, they were not only fighting for their right to sustenance and use of agrarian resources but were protesting a worldview that considered monastic property as a space apart. Monasteries and princes worked together by employing a language of power and protection that combined the secular “peace of the prince” with the church’ s “monastic peace” to justify royal intervention in religious spaces and exert control over co-lords and the local peasantry.

A copy of the dissertation will be available for review two weeks before the exam in the History Graduate Student Lounge: 105 Dickinson Hall.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend.