This is the assignment page for the topic "A Model for European Monarchy" for J. B. Owens's sections of the lower-division undergraduate course, History 101, Foundation of Western Civilization. The sole purpose of this page and all of the pages linked to it is to provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 101.

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A Model of European Monarchy

ID: Henry I of England (r. 1100-1135), Customs of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (early 12th cent.), Philipp II Augustus of France (r. 1180-1223), bailiff, Louis IX of France (r. 1226-1270), Parlement of Paris, Henry II of England (r. 1154-1189), Common Law, Henry III of England (r. 1216-1272), Henry de Bracton (d. 1268), De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae (ca. 1250): "The king ought not to be under any man but under God and the law", Alfonso X of Castile (r. 1252-1284), Siete Partidas, Emperor Frederick II (r. 1197-1250) of Hohenstaufen, Liber Augustalis ("Constitution of Melfi"; 1231), representative institutions: Parliament, Estates General, Cortes (León-Castile, 1188), Diet, John of England (r. 1199-1216), Magna Carta (15 June 1215), Runnymede, Louis X of France (r. 1314-1316)

  1. Why did secular rulers in the 11th and 12th centuries oppose the Church's attempts to name its own officials?
  2. Why did counts and bishops often feel threatened by the growth of the municipalities in which they lived?
  3. Why was the growth of towns an important factor in the political life of the Central Middle Ages (1000-1300)?
  4. Why did the residents of Newcastle-upon-Tyne insist that a "villein" staying in the town "for a year and a day" was free of any obligation to his lord?
  5. Why were monarchs in the Central Middle Ages so interested in the development of representative institutions (Parliament, Estates General, Cortes, Diet, etc.)?
  6. What factors made the Church a useful ally of "medieval" monarchs?
  7. According to his biography by Joinville, what were the traits that made King Louis IX of France a successful ruler?
  8. Why did King Louis IX of France (r. 1226-1270) refuse to permit the marriages of anyone in the household of any of his judges without his consent?
  9. Why was the Magna Carta so important to English political life?
  10. Why did King John of England authorize in the Magna Carta a committee of 25 barons to "distrain and distress" him?
  11. Why did King John of England give such detailed attention to judicial procedures in the Magna Carta?
  12. Why would the existence of written law codes in the Central Middle Ages serve as a check on the monarch's exercise of authority? Discuss particularly the cases of John of England, Louis IX of France, and Louis X of France.
  13. Why did King Louis X of France have to respond in 1315 to complaints about abuses by his officials?


Owens, ch. 7; read the Magna Carta, the beginning section and clauses 1, 2, 8, 12, 14, 15, 21, 27, 28, 30, 31, 38, 39, 45, 48, 51, 54, 56, 57, 61, 62, 63, at the URL: []>Europe>"Magna Carta"; Kishlansky, 189-192.

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Revised: 11 May 2006