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This is a study of noblewomen in twelfth-century England and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. It draws on a mix of evidence to offer a reconceptualization of women's role in aristocratic society, and in doing so suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high Middle Ages. The book considers a wide range of literary sources—such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records—to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. It asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of these aristocratic women, thereby demonstrating that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.

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hinterland.11 Crucially, popular opinion in favour of more severe action against witches was never so widespread nor so vehemently articulated – even during years of hardship – that the council felt obliged to accede to it.12 The Rothenburg evidence thus suggests that those areas most likely to be characterised by a restrained pattern of witch-trials in early modern Germany were those in which a significant majority of the ruling elites came to realise that the social, economic and political stability of their territories was likely to be damaged rather than strengthened

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
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Witchcraft and the symbolics of hierarchy in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Finland

of the ruling group. But equally, it might serve as a vehicle for criticism and complaint, thus providing a valuable opportunity for malcontents to vent their dissatisfaction with, and opposition to, the ruling élite.33 16 Beyond the witch trials As Stuart Clark puts it, ‘witchcraft was constituted by an act of revolt’, and represented the opposite of perfect government.34 In some European laws, including the Swedish Rural Law of 1442, witchcraft appeared among the statutes against treason (högmålabalken).35 Vidskepelse was considered as inversionary as

in Beyond the witch trials
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will make a significant addition to this small but important corpus, thereby adding weight to Briggs’ idea that areas which did not experience large-scale witch-hunts may well have been the early modern norm rather than the exception. In the chapters that follow I will demonstrate that complex and mutually reinforcing sets of beliefs and social, political and religious priorities held not only by the ruling elites but also by the lower orders of Rothenburg and its rural hinterland interacted to keep enthusiasm for prosecuting witches at a low ebb at all social levels

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
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British monarchy – were invented by European ruling elites to legitimise and perpetuate their political, social, and political power. 7 Their work reflected a broader movement in the historiography of modern European nationalism that understood the nation and its ideological superstructure as historical constructions of the recent past rather than as proof of timeless and organic national communities

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911

as metalwork, woodwork and monumental sculpture – on an hereditary and professional basis. From the thirteenth until the earlier eighteenth century, their patrons and paymasters were the Gaelic ruling elite in both Scotland and Ireland, and one of the benefits which this symbiotic relationship conferred upon the learned orders was the status of nobility. Of greatest social rank and influence were the poets, and we should note that poetry and history – here almost synonymous with genealogy – were very closely allied, to the extent that some learned lineages, and

in The spoken word

Gentry, the Professions … and the trading part of the Kingdom.’55 But that same year the Wilkite movement seemingly broke the rules of the political game. Prime Minister George Grenville perceived that ‘the clamour of the people’ then was not for a change of ministry, another reshuffle of Parliamentary politicians, but against the political establishment as a whole.56 The Wilkite mobs of 1768 shouted ‘Damn the King! Damn the Government!’ The ruling élite at Westminster closed ranks, with opposition politicians criticising the ministry not for deploying soldiers against

in George III

nation of fortyfive million there would be a proportion to whom the very concept of ‘nation’ meant little or nothing, who had no respect for law or for the constituted authorities, who could not understand – let alone become part of – the notion of communal effort in a ‘people’s war’. The wonder is that so many of them chose to become part of that effort or at the very least did nothing to impede it. Before the war and during its first eighteen months the ruling elites, and many others besides, had had serious doubts about the capacity of British society to hold

in Half the battle
Slander and speech about witchcraft

Germany that they managed to overturn this stipulation and make released witch-suspects pay their own costs, see Rummel, Bauern, Herren und Hexen, pp. 32–35. 100 RStA Interrogation Book A906 (unpaginated), 25 August 1668. 101 RStA Interrogation Book A875 fols 192r–98v. 102 RStA Steinach Village Acts A739 fols 449r–450r, 463r–463v, 464r–465v. 103 See p. 128. 104 Ruling elites elsewhere also sent out this deterrent message to their subjects. In Munich in 1608, for example, the authorities issued an ordinance threatening those who denounced others as witches with

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
Britishness, respectability, and imperial citizenship

professional capitalist middle class displaced the feudal aristocracy as the ruling elite of society. Over the last several decades, historians have skilfully deconstructed this paradigm, displacing it with a new orthodoxy that reflects both social continuity and change. 14 While the rise of the middle class thesis in Europe has been challenged and largely displaced (or revised), the ethos of respectability associated

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911