Constructing kingship

The Capetian monarchs of France and the early Crusades

By James Naus

Constructing kingship


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2725-9
  • Pages: 184
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £18.00
  • Published Date: April 2018
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Medieval, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Humanities / Medieval history, Medieval History, History, History & Archaeology, European history: medieval period, middle ages, CE period up to c 1500, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Studies


Crusading kings such as Louis IX of France and Richard I of England exert a unique hold on our historical imagination. For this reason, it can be easy to forget that European rulers were not always eager participants in holy war. The First Crusade was launched in 1095, and yet the first monarch did not join the movement until 1146, when the French king Louis VII took the cross to lead the Second Crusade. One contemporary went so far as to compare the crusades to 'Creation and man's redemption on the cross', so what impact did fifty years of non-participation have on the image and practice of European kingship and the parameters of cultural development? This book considers this question by examining the challenge to political authority that confronted the French kings and their family members as a direct result of their failure to join the early crusades, and their less-than-impressive involvement in later ones.


'Constructing Kingship is a valuable book which engages seriously with a theme, the impact of the crusades on royal action and ideology, which has been, as Naus points out (pp. 6-7), overlooked for far too long. Its central thesis is a stimulating argument which will hopefully inspire further research on this topic, and throughout the book Naus highlights many fascinating links between the crusades and the Capetian monarchy which are rarely considered together. The highlight of the book is undoubtedly the third chapter's marvellous textual analysis of Suger's Gesta Ludovici Grossi, which sheds important new light on one of 12th-century France's most important narrative sources.'
Mr Niall Ó Súilleabháin, Trinity College Dublin, Reviews in History

'Naus has put his stamp on this most critical topic, and his book will now serve as a starting point for discussion of it.'
Jay Rubenstein, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, H-France Review Vol. 17 (February 2017), No. 34

'A book that will be of use to students of kingship, holy war, and the cultural tumult of the central Middle Ages.'
Matthew Gabriele, Virginia Tech, Medieval Review

'Naus has produced a work for which there has been a sore need, which is engaging, well written, and thought-provoking.'
Stephen Donnachie, Royal Studies Journal

'Overall, one will find this book an intelligently well written study, which is to serve as basis/groundwork for further research on this subject.'
Boris Gübele, Göttingen, Historischen Zeitschrift Heft 309/1


Part I: Crisis
1 Framing the Capetian Miracle
2 The First Crusade and the new economy of status, 1095-1110
Part II: Response
3 Suger of Saint-Denis and the ideology of crusade
4 Louis VII and the failure of crusade
5 Philip Augustus, political circumstance and crusade


James Naus is Associate Professor of History at Oakland University

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