Peacemaking in the Middle Ages

Principles and practice

By J. E. M. Benham

Peacemaking in the Middle Ages


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8444-7
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2010
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Medieval, Humanities / Medieval history, Medieval History, History, History & Archaeology, History, CE period up to c 1500, Humanities / Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Studies


Peacemaking in the Middle Ages explores the making of peace in the late-twelfth and early thirteenth centuries based on the experiences of the kings of England and the kings of Denmark. From dealing with owing allegiance to powerful neighbours to conquering the 'barbarians', this book offers a vision of how relationships between rulers were regulated and maintained, and how rulers negotiated, resolved, avoided and enforced matters in dispute in a period before nation states and international law.

This is the first full-length study in English of the principles and practice of peacemaking in the medieval period. Its findings have wider significance and applications, and numerous comparisons are drawn with the peacemaking activities of other western European rulers, in the medieval period and beyond.

This book will appeal to scholars and students of medieval Europe, but also those with a more general interest in kingship, warfare, diplomacy and international relations.


'an important, stimulating, and welcome contribution to the field.'
Rory Cox, English Historical Review, CXXVIII. 532 (June. 2013)


Part I: Meeting places
1 Meetings between equals
2 Meetings between superior and inferior
Part II: The 'rituals' of peacemaking
3 Gift exchanges and banquets: the symbolism of largesse
4 Homage, fealty and gestures of submission
Part III: The envoys
5 The envoys and negotiators of peace
Part IV: Guaranteeing the peace
6 Oaths
7 Hostages and sureties
Part V: Peacemaking and the written word
8 Treaties, terminology and the written word


J. E. M. Benham is Lecturer in Medieval History at Cardiff University

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