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This volume offers an interdisciplinary collection of original essays by both new and established scholars that surveys the complex relationships between law and sovereign power in medieval and early modern Europe. Sovereignty, law and the relationship between them are now among the most compelling topics in history, philosophy, literature and art. Some argue that the state's power over the individual has never been more complete, while for others, such factors as globalization and the internet are subverting traditional political forms. This book exposes the roots of these arguments in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The thirteen contributions investigate theories, fictions, contestations and applications of sovereignty and law from the Anglo-Saxon period to the seventeenth century, and from England across western Europe to Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Particular topics include: Habsburg sovereignty, Romance traditions in Arthurian literature, the duomo in Milan, the political theories of Juan de Mariana and of Richard Hooker, Geoffrey Chaucer's legal problems, the accession of James I, medieval Jewish women, Elizabethan diplomacy, Anglo-Saxon political subjectivity, and medieval French farce. Together these contributions constitute a valuable overview of the history of medieval and Renaissance law and sovereignty in several disciplines. They will appeal to not only to political historians, but also to all those interested in the histories of art, literature, religion and culture.