The medieval church was a fundamental force in European state formation.
Existing accounts focus on early modern warfare or contracts between the rulers and the ruled. Yet the Catholic church both competed with medieval monarchs and provided critical templates for governing institutions, the rule of law, and parliaments. The Catholic Church was the most powerful, wealthiest, and best-organized political actor in the Middle Ages. Starting in the 11th century, the papacy fought for the autonomy of the church, challenging European rulers and then claiming authority over people, territory, and monarchs alike. Conflicts with the papacy fragmented territorial authority in Europe for centuries to come, propagating urban autonomy and ideas of sovereignty. Thanks to its organizational advantages and human capital, the church also developed the institutional precedents adopted by rulers across Europe—from chanceries and taxation to courts and councils. Church innovations made possible both the rule of law and parliamentary representation.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Anna Grzymala-Busse is a professor in the Department of Political Science, the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor of International Studies, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the director of The Europe Center. Her research interests include political parties, state development and transformation, informal political institutions, religion and politics, and post-communist politics.
This seminar is co-sponsored by The Europe Center.
Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.