CMRC Conference: The Enemy A pre-modern perspective (c. 500-1700)

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The Enemy: A pre-modern perspective (c. 500-1700)

Wednesday & Thursday, 19-20 January 2022

This interdisciplinary study day will focus on the figure of the enemy, and the concept of enmity in the pre-modern world (c. 500-c. 1700). We will explore the notion of enmity and how the concept affected social, political, legal, and diplomatic relationships throughout the pre-modern world. Who was the enemy and what did enmity involve? How did concepts of enmity relate to individuals, nations, and other groups? We will examine how pre-modern societies understood the perception, labelling and declination of enemies and enmity, and how powerful and pervasive a rhetorical figure the enemy was in political and religious discourse. How well defined were the status of enemy and enmity, and how did it relate to the rebel, the traitor or indeed the heretic? We will also consider the legal implications and social structures involved in the concept of enmity, and observe the evolution of these concepts in the pre-modern world. How did understandings and realities of enmity changed through time and throughout territories?

Keynote lectures will be given by Lydwine Scordia (University of Rouen), Sophie Ambler (University of Lancaster) and John France (University of Swansea).

Please feel free to attend the whole conference or parts of it. Registration for this online event is required, by Friday14 January at 12PM. Details on how to join the online event (Zoom) will be sent to registered participants very shortly afterwards.

Programme

DAY 1: WEDNESDAY 19 JANUARY

09:30: Opening remarks

Panel 1: Enemies on the borders

09:45-11:15

  • Whose country is it anyway? Marcher Identity and memories of rebellion and exile in the Outlaw’s Song of Trailbaston c. 1305-40

Jack Newman (Kent)

  • Make peace with your enemy. Agreements, Journées and abstentions of war at the end of the Middle Ages

Valérie Toureille (Cergy-Pontoise)

  • Anti-covenanter enmity and Northern English Royalism, 1638–1645

Tristan Griffin (Cambridge)

Panel 2: Enemies of faith

11:30-12.30

  • The Representation of Arabs in Jewish Apocalyptic Commentary

Helen Spurling (Southampton)

  • We can see their way of life is a virtuous one”: Heretics, public opinion, and the construction of an enemy in southern France, 1165 – 1209

Joshua Rice (London)

12:30-13:30 - lunch break

Panel 3: Enemies and magic

13.30-14.30

  • ‘If one holds this plant with the heart of a mole, he will overcome all enemies’: Late medieval charms and experimenta for enemies

Heather Taylor (Kent)

  • A Detection of Damnable Driftes: Discovering the ‘Witch-Families’ of Early Modern England

Lucie Deakin (Kent)

Panel 4: Enemies and Identity

14.45-16.15

  • Enemy horses and the enemy's horse: the concept of enmity applied to warhorses in real and literary contexts in medieval France (13th-15th centuries)

Camille Mai Lan Vo Van Qui (Exeter)

  • Fencing: A Conversation between Two Liars or Two Enemies?

Robert Runacres (Winchester)

  • Totalitarian lessons on enmity: Hannah Arendt and the trials of modern identity

Ingrid Creppell (Washington)

Keynote lecture (I)

16.45-17.45

  • ‘Le Rosier des guerres’ (1480) : Louis XI warns the future Charles VIII against the enemies of the kingdom

Lydwine Scordia (Rouen)

DAY 2: THURSDAY 20 JANUARY

09:40: Welcome (back)

Keynote lecture (II)

09:45-10:45

  • The Battle of Evesham (1265): Dark Trophies and the Treatment of the Enemy Dead

Sophie Ambler (Lancaster)

Panel 5: Enemies, women and power

11:00-12:30

  • An Enemy Inside the Gate: The Assault of Constance Mauduit and the Problem of Translation

Katherine Weikert (Winchester)

  • Diplomacy, Conflict and Katherine of Aragon: why Chapuys brought a Fool to Kimbolton

Nadia Van Pelt (Delft)

  • Lady Elizabeth: Sister, Heretic, Traitor. Elizabeth I’s engagement with plots and rebellions against the Crown to defend her status as heir to the throne (1553-1558)

Megan Isaac (Southampton)

12:30-13:30 - lunch break

Panel 6: Enemies in the city

13:30-14:30

  • Identifying the enemies of good justice in late-medieval Florence

Clare Sandford-Couch (Leeds)

  • Knowing the ‘enemy’ to protect the city: espionage and information gathering in Late Medieval Italy (Bologna, 14th century)

Edward Loss (Florence)

Keynote lecture (III)

15:00-16:00

  • Crusading in the Middle East: A Changing Enemy?

John France (Swansea)

Abstracts

(alphabetical order)

The Battle of Evesham (1265): Dark Trophies and the Treatment of the Enemy Dead

Sophie Ambler

The Battle of Evesham (4 August 1265) was famously termed by one chronicler ‘the murder of Evesham’. It was the culmination of England’s First Revolution, during which the party of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, had imprisoned King Henry III and lord Edward, heir to the throne, and ruled the kingdom through a conciliar-parliamentary regime. Edward, having escaped captivity, confronted the Montfortians on the battlefield and annihilated them. This involved the first large scale killing of knights in centuries, and the massacre of low-status troops who had fled the field to seek sanctuary in Evesham Abbey. In another shocking departure from chivalric norms, Edward’s men also dismembered Simon de Montfort’s corpse. They thus secured ‘dark trophies’ – a term coined by anthropologist Simon Harrison to describe the practice common to various cultures of taking enemy body parts as prizes from the battlefield. This talk will combine anthropological and historical approaches to consider why dark trophies were taken at Evesham, and examine evidence for their gifting and reception.

Totalitarian lessons on enmity: Hannah Arendt and the trials of modern identity

Ingrid Creppell

I examine Hannah Arendt’s analysis of totalitarianism for the insights it provides about enmity. Arendt describes an extreme form of enmity – “total enmity” – that sheds light on a feature of all enmity: that it commands rather than simply permits. Extraordinarily, the participants in the politics of enmity (in Nazi and Stalinist varieties) prepare themselves to be the victims of their own enemy designation. In targeting others on a categorical scale as enemies of a new world order, a person might come to see themselves as occupying a deleterious position and self-sacrifice will be necessary. This non-utilitarian, unique twist on the element of struggling against an enemy for collective purpose indicates that something more than global power is at stake. Arendt emphasized the force of ideology, mainly through its cognitive grip and social-psychological function as compensation for loneliness. I propose a conceivable answer to the question of enmity’s emergence as a political mindset (that is, a will to action undertaken for a public purpose) by focusing on two elements she stressed pertaining to ideology – racism and loneliness. I interpret these through the lens of identity rather than ideology. They are part of a more general syndrome affecting modern identity: the trial of the absence (or void) of identity in conditions of modern life. To overcome the terror of this void, people turn to the political sphere to fill problems of identity’s ontology. Arendt provides a generative analysis which helps us understand enmity based on the challenge of identity and the use of the public political sphere to solve the ontological problem of the self.

A Detection of Damnable Driftes: Discovering the ‘Witch-Families’ of Early Modern England

Lucy Deakin

Between 1574 and 1579 the town of Maldon, Essex, saw two generations of the same family embroiled in several witch-craft accusations. Alice and, later, her daughter Ellen were both accused of causing the deaths of several neighbours. Although the idea of ‘the witch-family’ was a popular one in Early Modern England, featuring in pamphlets and written accounts of the time, it is a concept that has been less researched in recent times although the belief in generational witchcraft has long been explored. Deborah Willis has suggested the belief that witchcraft could be hereditary or taught to family generations led to a growing belief in Elizabethan and Jacobean society in the phenomenon of ‘witch-families’. Willis also suggests that witch-families were feared because of their vindictive nature, taking revenge on neighbours for perceived insults, ‘often, mothers appear as passionate and deadly avengers of wrongs done to their children, and they are a threat to the community in part because of their emotionally charged investments in family ties’ (Deborah Willis).

This paper will research the belief in witch-families and why they were feared in their community for their generational witchcraft which appeared to pose a greater threat to their neighbours than the trope of the solitary witch. The solitary witch could perhaps be easier to isolate whereas a witch-family could infiltrate deeper into the community through their family ties and manifest sinister beliefs within their society, filtering down through generations.

Crusading in the Middle East: A Changing Enemy?

John France

Middle Eastern political society was a dynamic and changing force, and the crusades were certainly one agency altering the landscape. However, simple views of the spread of jihad leading to the triumph of 1291 are truly misleading. The reality was that ideology was a factor and not one ever absent (as is sometimes suggested) but which ebbed and flowed according to circumstance. This paper explores this phenomenon.

Anti-covenanter enmity and Northern English Royalism, 1638–1645

Tristan Griffin

What is still often called ‘The English Civil War’ in the popular imagination did not begin in 1642, with Charles I’s attempted arrest of the five members—at least, not in the North of England. The Scottish Covenanter invasion and occupation of the Northernmost counties of England during the Bishops’ Wars (1638–1640) had the effect of alienating much of the population from their cause, turning a region into a Royalist stronghold for much of the 1640s.

This first half of this paper will use contemporary sources—in particular a ‘Petition’ from the city of Newcastle to the Covenanter army—to demonstrate that the Covenanter occupation exacerbated traditional Anglo-Scottish border enmities; the Covenanters were demonised as hypocrites, rebels and thieves—with specific transgressions against the local population being listed in combination with traditional pejorative Scottish stereotypes.

Secondly, this paper will explore how this enmity helped to perpetuate Royalist resistance in the North long after it ceased to be militarily practical. For example, at Carlisle, where the Royalists held out to the point of literal starvation; this hostility-driven stubbornness being exacerbated by the presence of Scottish Royalists, who had lost their homes to the Covenanters, within the city’s garrison.

Lady Elizabeth: Sister, Heretic, Traitor. Elizabeth I’s engagement with plots and rebellions against the Crown to defend her status as heir to the throne (1553-1558)

Megan Isaac

Lady Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I automatically assumed the title of heir to the throne upon her sister’s accession in 1553. But her sister, Mary, the current Queen was determined to prevent her inheritance of her crown. Their conflicted relationship was one that was based upon both old and new slights. Mary had long held a grudge thanks to the poor treatment that she had received at the hands of Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn. But more importantly, she was also deeply fearful of the capacity that Elizabeth held for inciting unrest amongst the Protestant population of the nation against her Catholic regime. During the previous reign, Elizabeth had established herself as a leader within the Protestant community. Mary, therefore, to limit the danger that her sister represented, embarked upon a serious campaign to disinherit Elizabeth. If not the heir to the throne, she would have a far more restricted access to power and wealth, both of which would prove integral to a successful coup against the monarch.

Elizabeth though was determined that she would be Queen after her sister, and therefore decided that despite hitherto having been innocent of accusations of plotting, that her sister would need to be removed from the throne, by force if necessary, before she could be disinherited. She was left with little choice but to actively begin plotting against Queen Mary, so as to protect her right to inherit. This paper will discuss the thin line that Elizabeth trod during her sister’s reign, between her official position as heir, and the loyalty that she should therefore held to the crown, treason, and her religious identity as a figurehead for the Protestant faith. It will also explore the long-established tradition of English rebel heirs to the throne, and how Elizabeth I conformed with this precedent. But above all it will chart the difficult trajectory of the relationship between two sisters, who, thanks to the political and religious environment of the day would become staunch enemies.

Knowing the ‘enemy’ to protect the city: espionage and information gathering in Late Medieval Italy (Bologna, 14th century)

Edward Loss

The category of ‘enemy’ was central in the political discourse and in governance in Late Medieval Italy. This concept was abstractively used to justify the creation of entire institutions dedicated to information gathering and espionage in the period. The nova inimicorum comunis were a constant object of preoccupation in normative sources (statuta) and council minutes (riformagioni) produced by communal authorities, and obtaining them consummated a large part of city financial resources, as documented in payment lists and expense records. This paper focuses on Bologna and its Officium Spiarum (Office of Spies), an institution created in the last decades of the 13th century, but mainly active in the first half of the 14th century, that was responsible for sending spias and exploratores ad inveniendum nova inimicorum outside the city borders. By exploring archival sources preserved in the State Archive of Bologna, pertaining to the genres mentioned above, I intend to explore the relationship between the Officium and other public institutions, such as city councils. The idea is to highlight how the category of ‘enemy’ was omnipresent in their discourses, even though sometimes it is clear in these sources that not all of those involved understood the same thing by these ‘enemies’.

Whose country is it anyway? Marcher Identity and memories of rebellion and exile in the Outlaw’s Song of Trailbaston c. 1305-40

Jack Newman

This new interdisciplinary reading suggests that ‘The Outlaw’s Song of Trailbaston’ asserts a distinctive Marcher identity against royal interference. The poem, copied in 1340, appeals to the speaker’s ‘country’, invites them to judge the speaker, and questions where loyalties ought to lie. It, and the other political texts alongside in Harley 2253, grant a window on popular Marcher sentiments in the years prior to the Crisis of 1341. Prior studies of this work have missed several critical nuances which cast the poem in a new light. It presents an outlaw exiled in the ‘greenwood of Belregard’ who rejects any notion of guilt and hurls vitriolic threats against the justices of trailbaston under Edward I (c. 1305-07) and an unnamed minister. The rebellion, reprisals, and vendettas in the Welsh Marches throughout the first half of the fourteenth century gave the poem an ongoing, and increasing, relevance up the 1341. The poem presents a man put beyond the law by a corrupt and vindictive court, gossip and jealousy, a nefarious minister, and an ungrateful king.

‘We can see their way of life is a virtuous one’: Heretics, public opinion, and the construction of an enemy in southern France 1165 – 1209

Joshua Rice

In the fifty years prior to the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229), the Church lead a campaign against heresy which relied on debates to guide heretics, and their supporters, towards the path of orthodoxy. During this period of relative toleration, it became apparent to the clergy that heresy was entrenched in local communities across Languedoc. The “heretics” were important members of urban and rural life; they emulated the lives of the apostles and offered pastoral care. The terminology used by the clergy and the laity differs greatly when describing these “heretics”; those called the “the enemy of the faith” by one contemporary monastic chronicler were called “virtuous” or “good Christians” by their lay supporters.

This paper aims to understand how the Church strove to influence public opinion against the “heretics” of the region through persuasion rather than coercion. In a sense, how they attempted to create an “enemy” out of people’s friends and neighbours. This paper will use a broad range of sources including chronicles, letters, and inquisitorial records, to assess how successful these methods were.

Fencing: A Conversation between Two Liars or Two Enemies?

Rob Runacres

Throughout the Early Modern Period in Western Europe, fencing was promoted as a useful exercise, and method of defence. The education of a nobleman, and those with aspirations to be one, demanded that they understood the handling of arms. Fencing, for the Early Modern aristocrat, could be construed as the training required to dispatch the enemy and to do it well. To be performed, therefore, fencing required an enemy and, it would appear, inevitably promoted activities such as duelling and other forms of violence.

The use of the term ‘enemy’ is found, unsurprisingly, in many of the fencing manuals of the period. However, many did not use the term and yet more avoided mention of killing at all. Was this simply an attempt by fencing authors to mask the bloody realities of their art, or did fencing have other purposes than to inflict harm? This paper will examine the definition and role of the enemy in fencing manuals and consider whether the opponent is always considered as an antagonist or in fact as a partner. In turn, it will reflect on the purpose of fencing as a taught art and ask if the teaching sought to promote collaboration as opposed to combat.

Identifying the enemies of good justice in late-medieval Florence

Clare Sandford-Couch

This paper examines an artwork commissioned by a guild in fourteenth-century Florence for the court or tribunal hall and audience chamber in its headquarters in the city. Drawing on aspects of art history, legal history and social history, it argues that the fresco offered moral instruction in visual form, by identifying the enemies of good justice, both within the guild courtroom itself and outside, in wider Florentine society.

The central figure in the fresco – a judge - is flanked by eight paired figures, their interactions framed as a series of confrontations, some violent. Offering new interpretations for several of these figures, this paper demonstrates how closely these behaviours can be related to concerns about the potential of forces to destabilise contemporary Florentine society. It suggests that, by personifying certain behaviours, and depicting them in direct and active opposition to each other, the image articulated the importance of the role of the judge and the concept of justice. In identifying behaviours perceived as threatening to the judge and to the integrity of legal authority, the painting had a message both for those appearing before the judge, and for the judge himself.

Le Rosier des guerres (1480) : Louis XI warns the future Charles VIII against the enemies of the kingdom

Lydwine Scordia

In 1480, Louis XI commissioned Pierre Choinet, his physician and astrologer, to write a treatise for the dauphin, the future Charles VIII, who was born in 1470. The Rosier des guerres contains political, military and spiritual advice (20% of the treatise) and an abridged historical chronicle in French accompanied by astrological marginalia in Latin (80% of the treatise). In this way, Louis XI intended to warn the young Charles of the dangers that would threaten him when he became king, and to give him solutions to prevail over the enemies of the kingdom. The Rosier des guerres was never published. There are twelve manuscript witnesses, one incunabulum and eight editions in the 16th century. I am completing the scientific edition for the Société de l'Histoire de France (SHF).

The Representation of Arabs in Jewish Apocalyptic Commentary

Helen Spurling

The Islamic conquests of the seventh and eighth centuries marked a major turning point in the history of the Eastern Mediterranean, and were formative for relations between Jews, Christians and the newly developing religion of Islam. Jewish apocalyptic literature experienced a revival in Late Antiquity due to the political turmoil associated with conquest, which was regarded as a sign of the messianic era and the coming age. Compositions such as Nistarot Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, Pirqe Mashiah and Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer provide an important insight into Jewish responses to the conquests of the seventh and eighth centuries, and their attitudes to Christian Byzantines and Muslim Arabs at this time. Importantly, these attitudes and responses are often highlighted and explored through the development of exegetical strategies. This paper will examine the representation of Muslim Arabs through biblical exegesis in apocalyptic works from this formative period of contact and conflict between Jews, Christians and early Muslims.

'If one holds this plant with the heart of a mole, he will overcome all enemies': Late medieval charms and experimenta for enemies

Heather Taylor

Charms and experimenta – or ‘magical’ texts – offering protection from enemies proliferate in late medieval manuscripts. Their methods of execution vary widely, from a verbal request for divine assistance akin to supplicatory prayer, to carrying certain objects with perceived inherent properties which engender – not just protection for the bearer – but actual defeat of the bearer’s enemies. This large and diverse corpus of ritual practices reflects just how pervasive the threat of enemies was perceived to be in the Middle Ages, and some of the creative methods employed to mitigate this threat.

This paper will explore how a certain category of texts revolved around the figure of the enemy and what ritual practices these texts entailed. It will revert to other, supplementary, literary and documentary evidence to identify the instances where the perceived threat of enmity might have been at its greatest, and use these to understand at which moments these charms and experiments might actually have been deployed for the benefit of their user. Ultimately, this paper will provide another facet of understanding of the dominant figure of the enemy in medieval society through an investigation of one avenue of response to this particular threat.

Make peace with your enemy. Agreements, Journées and abstentions of war at the end of the Middle Ages

Valérie Toureille

Since the 13th century, the King of France worked in his kingdom on imposing a formal framework for the opening of armed conflicts, as well as providing them with legal terms. However, on the margins and until the end of the Middle Ages, part of the nobility contested this control of armed force by the public authority, and rejected its diplomatic interference. Private wars in the marches of the kingdom prospers in particular on the border with the Empire where the feud remains as a prerogative of the military aristocracy. This nobility of the marches conducts its own diplomacy with its own uses, such as the ‘Journées’ or ‘Landfrieden’, which form arbitration structures and horizontal agreements. These practices result in pragmatic writings (letters of abstinence from war, letters of non-prejudice, arbitration with witnesses).

Enemy horses and the enemy's horse: the concept of enmity applied to warhorses in real and literary contexts in medieval France (13th-15th centuries)

Camille Vo Van Qui

In medieval France, knights were inseparable from their warhorses. While a knight's destrier was his ally, horses from the enemy side often became hostile antagonists, because of their association with their rider and of their own behaviour, real or imagined. This was prevalent in medieval romances and emphasised by the anthropomorphism of horses. In Les Quatre fils Aymon, Bayard, Renaut de Montauban's magical destrier, is considered by Charlemagne, Renaut's opponent, as an enemy, in conjunction with his master and in his own right. This is emphasised by Bayard's participation in battle both as Renaut's mount and as an active antagonist. In medieval encyclopaedias, destriers were portrayed as aware of the concept of enmity, and capable of fighting their master's adversaries. This fantasy influenced horse-training methods which sought to realise the ideal of a faithful horse fighting alongside his master. The enemy's horse was a source of hostility, but could become a source of desire, as shown by the capture, importation, and breeding of horses belonging to enemies. This paper will explore how the concept of enmity was applied to warhorses, highlighting the fine line between the ideas of the horse as the enemy's possession and as an enemy in his own right."

Enmity, diplomacy and Katherine of Aragon: why Chapuys brought a Fool to Kimbolton

Nadia van Pelt

Ambassador Chapuys’ failed attempt to visit Katherine of Aragon in Kimbolton Castle in July 1534 was recorded by the Spanish Chronicle of King Henry VIII. According to the chronicle writer, Chapuys had taken with him a large entourage which included Spanish merchants, almost a hundred horses, and heraldic musicians so that ‘when they rode into the places on the road it was like the entrance of a prince’. Henry VIII, no doubt fearful of the visual and auditory impact this procession would make had a messenger intercept the visitors while they were on their way, prohibiting the ambassador from speaking with Katherine. Henry, however, could not have foreseen that a party would continue to Kimbolton taking with them ‘a very funny young fellow who had been brought by the ambassador, and who was dressed as a fool, and had a padlock dangling from his hood’. One of the fool’s antics was to comically draw attention to what Chapuys saw as Katherine’s imprisonment by the king’s order, and her being treated as an enemy rather than a wife. This performance, along with other actions at Kimbolton, contribute to a unique view on a type of diplomacy in which an entertainer could stand in for an ambassador during a moment of political sensitivity, and could provide solace to a queen in conflict with her husband.

An Enemy Inside the Gate: The Assault of Constance Mauduit and the Problem of Translation

Katherine Weikert

According to the anonymous Gesta Stephani, in 1143 during the Anglo-Norman Civil War, Matildan forces under the command of Roger Fitz Hildebrand lodged in Portchester Castle at the invitation of its castellan, William de Pont de l’Arche. The episode is highlighted in the Gesta Stephani as an example of the untrustworthiness of Empress Matilda’s captains. Fitz Hildebrand worked his way into de l’Arche’s good graces: he soon moved about the important coastal castle as a trusted member of the household. Then, he seduced de l’Arche’s wife and together they put him into chains and held him prisoner in his own castle. Or so it is commonly written.

This paper explores this scene, and the people within it. Far from being a ‘seduction,’ the Gesta describes a sexual assault on Constance Mauduit Pont de l’Arche. Providing an alternative translation which centres this assault as an act of war, the paper will (follow Maude 2014) analyse how editions such as Potter’s 1955 and 1976 Gesta Stephani erase women’s experience of war due to a lens of polite caution. With this, Constance Mauduit’s assault becomes a harsh lesson on how quickly a medieval rape becomes footnoted victim-blaming in historiography.

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