1st Edition

The Cultural Power of Medieval Monarchy Politics, Learning and Patronage in the Royal Courts of Europe, 1000–1300

    This book focuses on why the diffusion of the political theology of royal wisdom created “Solomonic” princes with intellectual interests all around the medieval West and how these learned rulers changed the face of Western Europe through their policies and the cultural power of medieval monarchy.

    Princely wisdom narratives have been seen simply as a tool of royal propaganda in the Middle Ages but these narratives were much more than propaganda, being rather a coherent ideology which transformed princely courts, shaped mentalities, and influenced key political decisions.

    This cultural power of medieval monarchy was channelled mainly through princely patronage of learning and the arts, but the rise of administrative monarchy and its bureaucracy are equally related to these policies. This can only be understood through a cultural approach to the history of medieval politics, that is, a history of the relationship between knowledge and power in the Middle Ages, a topic much analyzed regarding the medieval church but sometimes neglected in the princely sphere. This volume is a study that supplies an important comparative study of the reception in princely courts of a key aspect of European medieval civilization: The ideal of Christian sapiential rulership and its corollary, rationality in government.

    This volume is essential reading for students and scholars interested in understanding the medieval roots of the cultural process which gave rise to the modern state.

    Introduction 1. Sapiential Rulership in the Carolingian Renaissance and Its Anglo-Saxon and Ottonian Continuators 2. The Salian Reich and Frontier Europe: The Reception of Sapiential Sacral Rulership around the Year Thousand 3. The King as Miles Litteratus: Literacy, Knighthood, and Feudal Rulership 4. The Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Culture and Statecraft 5. The Clerk King: Administrative Kingship and Royal Knowledge in the Norman Kingdoms and Capetian France (c. 1050–1250) 6. The Hohenstaufen Emperors: Empire and Wisdom in the Twelfth-Century 7. Two Philosopher-Kings in the Thirteenth-Century: Frederick II of Sicily and Alfonso X of Castile


    Manuel Alejandro Rodríguez de la Peña is a Professor of Medieval History at the Universidad CEU San Pablo, Madrid. His research focuses on the intersection of cultural history and medieval rulership. He is the author of numerous books, including Sage Kings. Wisdom and Royal Power in Antiquity and Early Christianity (2021). He has also edited five books on topics such as Carolingian civilization, the Iberian medieval frontier, and medieval “fake news”.