Dicks I Have Studied
Sorry for the delay

in answering questions. Anon has sent me some great ones, but I have been busy this week. I’m going to Cedar Point this weekend (whoo-hoo!), but I will try to get answers up next week.

Apologies!

Do you have any thoughts regarding the [A Song of Ice and Fire] books?
Anonymous

I do not. I have not read the books, nor have I seen any episodes of “Game of Thrones.” I’m actually not a fan of fantasy literature, and don’t read it. And most of my television watching consists of “Law & Order.”

Do you have any cases of child-kings gone "right"? ("right" as in they survived to rule even, and realm wasn't plunged into civil war or complete chaos 0_o) The only one I can find is of Blanche of Castile and Louis IX. Am I assuming too much in saying that this one "worked" because Blanche was his mother and she, fortunately for the peasants and young Louis, was quite competent?
Anonymous

Well, Emperor Otto III did all right for himself, as did Frederick II, who was a ward of pope Innocent III for a time.

I’m sure there are some from Castile and Aragon as well, but I’m not familiar enough to name an example off the top of my head.

I don’t really know what made some regencies and boy-to-man kings more successful than others. Henry III’s first regent was William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, who was highly respected and got shit done. During the minority of Henry VI, the nobles of England were surprisingly cooperative with each other (as far as medieval English nobles go).

And Edward II was deposed without even having the excuse of having been a boy king!

Blanche of Castile was certainly capable, though, as was Louis IX.

As a historian, I hate to attempt to create a formula for failed kingship, a la “one child king + meh regent + middle ages = failed kingship.” It smacks a little too much of social-science predictive models, which are not my bag.

I’m not sure you want to say all (or even most) child kings except Louis IX failed, although Blanche of Castile certainly helped her son out big time.

Hope that helps!

I haven't been able to find any articles explaining this (one would think it would exist!), but do you have any ideas or can connect me to papers that do explain why the kingdom of Jerusalem had queen regnants, but other realms, such as France, did not? There is this dissonance between inheritance rights in Palestine and actual Christendom. You'd think the crusaders would have justified putting a stop to female rulers for military reasons alone. Why would men allow women to rule the "holy land"?
Anonymous

Quickly, I would recommend

B. Hamilton, “Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem (1100-1190)” in Medieval Women, ed. D. Baker (Oxford: Blackwell, 1978), 143-173.

S. Lambert, “Queen or Consort: Rulership and Politics in the Latin East, 1118-1228” in Queens and Queenship in Medieval Europe, ed. A. Duggan (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1997), 153-169.

Also check out Theresa Earenfight’s comprehensive bibliography on queenship here.

As for the dissonance between Palestine and Europe, we kind of receive a false picture at times in school. Women were not barred from inheriting the throne throughout Europe. There were queens regnant in Castile, Navarre, and Naples and several queens held the office of lieutenant general in Aragon. And while women were not queens regnant in medieval France, they could serve as regents for their children. Blanche of Castile (mother of Louis IX) is a prime example of this. England, which I focus on, is actually one of the worst places for royal women holding official office in the middle ages. The English were very reluctant to accept a queen regnant (Matilda/Empress Maud could never make her claim stick), and they never permitted queen dowagers to be regents for their children. This was a problem Margaret of Anjou ran into in 1453 when Henry VI was ill. She wanted to be named regent for her infant son, essentially keeping things on track for her ill husband and child, the future king. I think such an arrangement would have had a decent chance of happening in France, from whence Margaret came, but it was a huge no-go in England.

Salic Law, which is what states that the French crown cannot be held by a woman or claimed through female descent, was dredged up in the early 1300s to prevent Edward III of England from making a pretty solid hereditary claim to the French crown. Until the sons of Philip IV started dying without clearly legitimate heirs (there was a complicated adultery scandal with some daughters-in-law), the Capetians had been great at having sons. They didn’t need Salic Law until it was time to keep Edward III away.

Since the Crusader Kingdoms are mainly a 12th-century phenomenon, I think having queens regnant is actually fairly in line with European practice at that time.

How important was Joan of Kent to Richard's life? Did he get along with his Holland half-brothers after her death?
Anonymous

To get started on Joan of Kent, I would recommend this article

Ormrod, W.M.  “In Bed With Joan of Kent: The King’s Mother and the Peasants’ Revolt,” in Wogan-Browne, Jocelyn et al, eds.  Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts in Late Medieval Britain.  Essays for Felicity Riddy.  Turnhout: Brepols, 2000: 277-292.

She was certainly important in Richard’s life, but we don’t have adequate sources to say just how important. When Richard was a child, he lived with his parents, but that doesn’t guarantee that he interacted with them all that much. A woman such as Joan of Kent, a Princess of Wales, had a lot of responsibilities, and raising Richard was not at the top of the list. It’s not that she didn’t care about her sons; it’s just that medieval noblewomen had a ton of public responsibilities. They were not Victorian “angels of the home.” They needed to order around servants, balance budgets, run the household, see petitioners, help form and maintain political alliances, etc.

She was certainly influential in Richard’s life after he became king, though. Her position was a bit odd, since she was technically a princess dowager and not a queen dowager, but she was an influential mediator and involved in the arrangement of Richard’s marriage. Although Joan was not the only person consulted, nor did she directly conclude the diplomatic arrangements, she approved of Anne of Bohemia as Richard’s bride.

As with so many royal women in this era, Joan’s most notable and recorded political work was as an intercessor. According to Lacey’s The Royal Pardon, Joan interceded 31 times in eight years, even outpacing Anne of Bohemia in 1383 and 1385 (five to Anne’s four and one to Anne’s zero) (see page 222). Notably, Joan was able to calm down John of Gaunt in the early years of Richard’s reign.

Lacey, Helen.  The Royal Pardon: Access to Mercy in Fourteenth-Century England. York: York Medieval Press, 2009.

In 1385, right before Joan died, there was a situation with the Hollands. John Holland murdered Ralph Stafford, a friend of the king and queen. Holland was sentenced to death, but Joan begged for him to be forgiven. Although Richard appeared unmoved, he eventually pardoned John Holland. This half-brother went on to marry Elizabeth, daughter of John of Gaunt, and remained loyal to Richard. Richard made him earl of Huntingdon in 1388 and duke of Exeter in 1397 after John helped the king do away with Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick. John Holland was part of the Epiphany Rising of 1400, which hoped to restore Richard II to the throne. Obviously, it didn’t work, and John was executed.

Richard was also on good terms with the older brother, Thomas Holland. Thomas, however, died in 1397 and his son (also named Thomas) picked up where his loyal father had left off. Nephew Thomas also helped Richard II take down Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick, going so far as to arrest Arundel, his uncle on his mother’s side. He was later made Duke of Surrey. Thomas also participated in the Epiphany Rising and was executed in 1400.

I would say Richard had a good relationship with the Hollands, but it wasn’t emotionally close, I imagine. Both Hollands were over 20 years older than Richard, so they weren’t drinking buddies. But Richard had a dearth of family, so the Hollands were important to him. He knew he could rely on them because they stood to benefit from his largesse. In turn, the Hollands were loyal to the death.

How do you feel about the debate in regards to Richard III's burial place? I feel like everyone, but especially one group, is taking this way too personally.
Anonymous

Hahaha, yeah I don’t actually care.

When I read Philippa Langley’s book, it sounds like the city of Leicester gave the dig some money with the understanding that Richard would be buried in their cathedral (which already has a memorial stone for him). If so, that should be honored.

Plus, Leicester is kind of … a shithole. Okay, maybe not that bad, but it needs the tourism boost way more than York. York is awesome; they don’t need Richard III to draw people to their city. He’s already drawing Ricardians to York simply because he loved York. The city doesn’t need his body there, too.

Besides, if I were Richard (which I am most certainly not since I am alive and female), I would want to be buried in Westminster Abbey with my wife. I’m a king of England, damn it! But no one’s offering that (you would think I was the only king that ever had someone murdered - news flash: I’m not), so I should stay in Leicester. Richard is a (mostly) honorable man, and he would want contracts made in his name upheld.

Plus, most visitors to the UK go to London. Leicester is closer to London and cheaper to get to than York. York is on a high speed line and tickets are expensive! You can get to Leicester cheaper, so it’s probably more convenient for tourists with limited time and a base in London.

Huzzah! 195 followers! Thanks fiftysevenacademics

And everyone else, of course!

I’m sure that number is much lower than what many of you have, but it’s the highest this blog has ever gotten!

harkerling:

runecestershire:

harkerling:

dicksihavestudied:

shredsandpatches and anyone else?
Is Jesus in the Wilton Diptych really supposed to Edward of Angouleme?
Citation is Galway, Margaret (1950). "The Wilton Diptych: A Postscript". The Archaeological Journal (Royal Archaeological Institute) 107: 9–14.
I mean, I guess it could be true, but I’m not convinced. You all?

I’ve heard this theory, but I don’t really buy it — I’ve never seen anything to back it up besides the assumption that Richard would want to memorialize his brother somehow — which is not unlikely but it doesn’t mean the Wilton bebby Jesus is a stand-in for him (or that Mary is depicted as a homage to their mom!) @shredsandpatches will know better than me but it’s always a theory that puzzles me.

If there’s anything off about the Wilton Diptych which could interpreted in some way or another it’d be the distinctly feminine angels. Mary and Jesus there are just so standard, so unless someone can point me to a distinct and unmistakable physical resemblance or something definite from the painter or commission for the painting, I’m just going to have to say we have a literal Mary and Jesus and nothing else.
(and I’ll be over here waiting for Shredsandpatches to weigh in on this, because she is a font of Richardflailing wisdom)

I wonder how much of this theory is built on them all being so blonde — iirc Joan was also fair-haired but I think blonde Mary is fairly standard for this period? The artist rendering fuzzy baby hair on Jesus is very sweet though.

Quoting from Galway:
"Edward of Angouleme had died in 1370 at the age of six, having already won a reputation for Christ-like character.* The infant Christ is looking at Richard while pointing with his right hand to the banner of St. George, which symbolizes, among other things, the realm of England. His left hand is open as though he had just relinquished his hold on the staff from which the banner floats. On the earthly level these gestures are expressive of little Edward’s handing-on of his inheritance to his younger brother. Richard’s hands are extended in readiness to receive it, and to accept the Christian example which is being presented for his imitation."
*Froissart, ed. Kervin, viii, 428.
Maybe? I’m not entirely convinced, but I’m not 100% against it. People have talked a ton about the saints on the other side also being stand ins for Edward III and whatnot, so I could be persuaded.
You bring up an interesting point with Mary. Maybe she is Joan of Kent. I’m not an art historian, but the BVM was more varied looking in the middle ages than she was in later times. You have many black Madonnas from the 1100s-1500s, so Mary didn’t have to be white and blonde.

harkerling:

runecestershire:

harkerling:

dicksihavestudied:

shredsandpatches and anyone else?

Is Jesus in the Wilton Diptych really supposed to Edward of Angouleme?

Citation is Galway, Margaret (1950). "The Wilton Diptych: A Postscript". The Archaeological Journal (Royal Archaeological Institute) 107: 9–14.

I mean, I guess it could be true, but I’m not convinced. You all?

I’ve heard this theory, but I don’t really buy it — I’ve never seen anything to back it up besides the assumption that Richard would want to memorialize his brother somehow — which is not unlikely but it doesn’t mean the Wilton bebby Jesus is a stand-in for him (or that Mary is depicted as a homage to their mom!) @shredsandpatches will know better than me but it’s always a theory that puzzles me.

If there’s anything off about the Wilton Diptych which could interpreted in some way or another it’d be the distinctly feminine angels. Mary and Jesus there are just so standard, so unless someone can point me to a distinct and unmistakable physical resemblance or something definite from the painter or commission for the painting, I’m just going to have to say we have a literal Mary and Jesus and nothing else.

(and I’ll be over here waiting for Shredsandpatches to weigh in on this, because she is a font of Richardflailing wisdom)

I wonder how much of this theory is built on them all being so blonde — iirc Joan was also fair-haired but I think blonde Mary is fairly standard for this period? The artist rendering fuzzy baby hair on Jesus is very sweet though.

Quoting from Galway:

"Edward of Angouleme had died in 1370 at the age of six, having already won a reputation for Christ-like character.* The infant Christ is looking at Richard while pointing with his right hand to the banner of St. George, which symbolizes, among other things, the realm of England. His left hand is open as though he had just relinquished his hold on the staff from which the banner floats. On the earthly level these gestures are expressive of little Edward’s handing-on of his inheritance to his younger brother. Richard’s hands are extended in readiness to receive it, and to accept the Christian example which is being presented for his imitation."

*Froissart, ed. Kervin, viii, 428.

Maybe? I’m not entirely convinced, but I’m not 100% against it. People have talked a ton about the saints on the other side also being stand ins for Edward III and whatnot, so I could be persuaded.

You bring up an interesting point with Mary. Maybe she is Joan of Kent. I’m not an art historian, but the BVM was more varied looking in the middle ages than she was in later times. You have many black Madonnas from the 1100s-1500s, so Mary didn’t have to be white and blonde.

How important were the circumstances (epiphany and three kings) of Richard II's birth to his life? He was a second son for a couple years, so how might that have affected him?
Anonymous

I think the circumstances of his birth were symbolically important and could have (probably did) contributed to Richard’s lofty conception of kingship in general and his own in particular. Aside from Richard being born on January 6, the epiphany, there were three kings in the Black Prince’s household at the time of Richard’s birth and baptism: Jaime IV, titular king of Majorca; Richard, king of Armenia; and Pedro, deposed king of Castile. This was noted at least as early as January 1377 (a few months before Richard was king), when the chancellor mentioned it at the opening of parliament (an opening at which Richard, as heir to the throne, technically presided).

It certainly made for good imagery and probably gave Richard even more reason to believe he was chosen by god to be king. Of course, Richard was not the only king to emphasize his divine sanction and special, anointed status: that was par for the course among medieval kings. (It’s important to note that medieval kingship was not divine right absolutism, which developed later. Kings had that godly glam, which permitted them to do things such as touch for scrofula -the king’s evil - but it didn’t mean they weren’t answerable to the nobles. This is, in fact, pretty obvious in Richard’s case.)

Anyway, the epiphany thing made for a good story and might very well have given Richard artistic ideas (I think I’ve read the most about the epiphany connection and Richard in scholarship on the Wilton Diptych), but it in no way helped his claim to kingship. It’s not like the Jesus-y circumstances of his birth marked Richard as the one true king a la King Arthur and the sword and the stone. Richard obtained his kingship the normal way, courtesy of birth and primogeniture. The epiphany connection was gravy. I think it’s a reasonable conclusion that Richard enjoyed the connection and it might have influenced his focus on the regality, ceremony, pageantry, and sacred nature of kingship (and his own specifically), but I haven’t seen any evidence that Richard’s auspicious birth was regularly referenced and made much of.

I would recommend you check out scholarship on the Wilton Diptych to get you started on researching this issue. Start with:

Gordon, Dillian et al, eds.  The Regal Image of Richard II and the Wilton Diptych.  London: Harvey Miller, 1997.

Gordon, Dillian, ed. Making and Meaning: The Wilton Diptych. London: National Gallery, 1993.

Ferris, Sumner. “The Wilton Diptych and the Absolutism of Richard II,” Journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association, Vol. 8 (1987), 33-66.

Harvey, J.H.  “The Wilton Diptych – a re-examination.” Archaeologia, 98 (1961), 1-28.

As for Richard initially being a younger son, I think his older brother died before it would have had too much of an effect (in the sense of “he’s going to be king and I’m not”). Edward of Angouleme’s age at death varies from place to place, but Richard was probably around 4 or 5 when he became an only child and his father’s heir. That’s pretty young, and Richard seems to have been reasonably fond of the memory of his elder brother, even building him a new and improved tomb when Richard was an adult. That Richard was not the eldest son was probably most obvious in his name; Edward III and the Black Prince were clearly trying to continue the unbroken line of kings named Edward. The vagaries of fortune and illness thwarted their plans.

shredsandpatches and anyone else?
Is Jesus in the Wilton Diptych really supposed to Edward of Angouleme?
Citation is Galway, Margaret (1950). "The Wilton Diptych: A Postscript". The Archaeological Journal (Royal Archaeological Institute) 107: 9–14.
I mean, I guess it could be true, but I’m not convinced. You all?

shredsandpatches and anyone else?

Is Jesus in the Wilton Diptych really supposed to Edward of Angouleme?

Citation is Galway, Margaret (1950). "The Wilton Diptych: A Postscript". The Archaeological Journal (Royal Archaeological Institute) 107: 9–14.

I mean, I guess it could be true, but I’m not convinced. You all?