Vox regis: Royal Communication in High Medieval Norway

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In Vox regis: Royal Communication in High Medieval Norway, David Brégaint examines how the Norwegian monarchy gradually managed to infiltrate Norwegian society through the development of a communicative system during the High Middle Ages, from c. 1150 to c. 1300. Drawing on sagas, didactic literature, charters, and laws, the book demonstrates how the Norwegian kings increasingly played a key -role in the promotion of royal ideology in society through rituals and the written word. In particular, the book stresses the interaction between secular and clerical culture, the role of the Church and of the Norwegian aristocracy

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David Brégaint. Ph.D. (2014), NTNU (Trondheim), is a post doctoral researcher for the Norwegian Research Council in the department for historical studies. He has published several articles on Norwegian medieval history and translations, including Le Discours contre les évêques. Politique et controverse en Norvège vers 1200 (Publications de la Sorbonne, 2013).
Contents
Acknowledgements viii
Abbreviations ix
Introduction 1
1 Historiography: State-making, Communication and Consent 7
Manufacturing Consent: The Norwegian Historiographic
Tradition 10
2 Perspectives on Communication and Power 14
Power, Communication and State Building 15
Communication, Propaganda and Communication System 18
3 Method and Sources 21
1 The Actors of Communication 22
2 The Vectors of Communication 24
1 A Genesis under Church Control 31
1 Introduction 31
2 Rituals of Succession 33
Tradition: Konungstekja 35
Innovation: The Crowning of Magnus Erlingsson 37
Redealing the Cards 41
Appropriating Public Acclamation 45
Jernbyrd: Trial by Ordeal 59
3 The Written Word and Royal Communication 69
Royal Charters and Chanceries 70
Royal Genealogies 74
‘Crowned Ass’ and Learned Bishops 86
4 Nidaros: A Kings’ “Factory” 88
Promoting Nidaros a Center of Rituals of Royal Succession 91
…and it came to Nothing 99
5 Conclusion 100
2 King Sverre and the Making of Independent Royal Communication 103
1 Introduction 103
2 Tala Sverris konungſ: The King’s Speeches 105
Eloquence and Charisma: Portraits of Kings 106
Royal Speeches and War Propaganda 109
King Sverre, a Vulture Perched on High 115
Great Opportunities: King Sverre’s Own Death and Burial 118
Taking Matters in Hand: The Crowning of King Sverre 123
3 Grýla, Political Propaganda in Religious Clothing 130
The Use of History 132
Grýla 133
A Model Suited to Broad Reception…and Propaganda 146
Conclusion 147
4 Fighting Fire with Fire: Anticlerical Propaganda 148
A Campaign of Propaganda 149
A Speech against the Bishops 153
5 Evidence of a Royal Intellectual Milieu 167
6 Conclusion 171
3 Monarchic Communication 174
1 Introduction 174
2 Communication at Court: Royal Court and Courtly Culture 175
The Stakes 176
3 The Court 181
Sources and Terminology 183
The Court, a Royal Monopoly? 184
4 Monarchic Program and Aristocratic Demand 186
Courtliness, the Church and the Aristocracy 187
Royal Mediation and Connection to Foreign Courts 190
Cultural Monopoly and Economic Power 192
5 Domesticating the Body 194
Securing Presence at Court 195
Ritualizing Court Life 197
Dress Code 200
Table Code 202
Control over Oral Communication at Court 203
Courtiers as Means of Communication 206
6 Domesticating the Mind: Kings, Courtiers and Courtly Literature 213
Kings and Courtiers 214
The Structures of Production of Court Literature 231
Royal Ideology and Court Literature 241
Diffusion and Reception 254
7 The Axes of Political Rituality 262
Using Rituals: Ceremonial Politics 263
Controlling Rituals. Ceremonial Location 307
The Means of Ritual Control 334
8 The Chancery and Administrative Literacy 344
9 Conclusion 360
Conclusions 363
Bibliography 373
Index 401
The book is particularly relevant to anyone concerned with medieval communication and state-formation in medieval Scandinavia.