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By William Chester Jordan

A story of 2 Monasteries takes an exceptional examine one of many nice rivalries of the center a long time and gives it as a revealing lens wherein to view the intertwined histories of medieval England and France. this can be the 1st ebook to systematically evaluate Westminster Abbey and the abbey of Saint-Denis--two of crucial ecclesiastical associations of the 13th century--and to take action in the course of the lives and competing careers of the 2 males who governed them, Richard de Ware of Westminster and Mathieu de Vend?me of Saint-Denis.

Esteemed historian William Jordan weaves a panoramic narrative of the social, cultural, and political historical past of the interval. It was once an age of uprising and crusades, of inventive and architectural innovation, of remarkable political reform, and of exasperating foreign diplomacy--and Richard and Mathieu, in a single means or one other, performed very important roles in some of these advancements. Jordan lines their upward thrust from vague backgrounds to the top ranks of political authority, Abbot Richard changing into royal treasurer of britain, and Abbot Mathieu two times serving as a regent of France in the course of the crusades. via permitting us to appreciate the advanced relationships the abbots and their rival associations shared with one another and with the kings and social networks that supported and exploited them, A story of 2 Monasteries paints a bright portrait of medieval society and politics, and of the bold males who motivated them so profoundly.

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Additional resources for A Tale of Two Monasteries: Westminster and Saint-Denis in the Thirteenth Century

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46–63; idem, French Monarchy and the Jews, pp. 133–37, 144– 46; Sive´ry, “Me´contentement dans le royaume de France,” pp. 3–4; Bartlett, “Impact of Royal Government,” pp. 83–96. ENGLAND AND FRANCE 21 those provinces most poorly governed, reimbursed enormous numbers of petitioners, and cracked down hard and systematically on Jewish moneylenders—all to cleanse himself and his government of the pollution that came from failing to provide justice. How could the Crusade but succeed under such circumstances?

And yet, the long truces notwithstanding, it was the pervasive suspicion and hostility between the two realms that remained powerful, occasionally acute, and almost wholly sterile. Henry’s desire to win Sicily and Louis’s to relieve the Holy Land made the animosity between their two countries doubly counterproductive. Neither ruler could realistically hope to achieve his goal in the absence of a resolution of the fundamental issue, the war. It was a fact of life, too, that as long as the war remained unconcluded, all sorts of other problems would continue to evade solution and would thereby have a destabilizing impact on many other weighty aspects of the history of the two realms.

And yet, the long truces notwithstanding, it was the pervasive suspicion and hostility between the two realms that remained powerful, occasionally acute, and almost wholly sterile. Henry’s desire to win Sicily and Louis’s to relieve the Holy Land made the animosity between their two countries doubly counterproductive. Neither ruler could realistically hope to achieve his goal in the absence of a resolution of the fundamental issue, the war. It was a fact of life, too, that as long as the war remained unconcluded, all sorts of other problems would continue to evade solution and would thereby have a destabilizing impact on many other weighty aspects of the history of the two realms.

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