This is a study of the ideology of monarchy in late medieval Europe. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, European monarchies faced a series of crises and conflicts, which gave rise to intense debate as to the nature and authority of monarchy in its various forms. From such debates and polemics emerged many of the ideas that were to sustain the later confrontation between "absolutism" and "constitutionalism." Burns examines the ideas generated by various "crisis of monarchy" in France, England, the Spanish kingdoms, and what still claimed to be the "universal" monarchies of Empire and Papacy. This is a lucid and stimulating exploration of a major and previously neglected topic in the history of political thought by one of its leading historians.
`erudite but entirely approachable book of lectures' Anthony Gross, Times Higher Education Supplement
'This is a valuable contribution to the history of late medieval political thought by a mature scholar. Full and helpful footnotes.'
A.C. Reeves, Ohio University, Choice, February 1993
'excellent book ... Burns's book provides much valuable information about many significant but lesser-known writers of the fifteenth century. It also stimulates further reflection on the language of medieval political discourse.'
Brian Tierney, Cornell University, American Historical Review, June 1993
'an important contribution to the history of political thought ... It is astonishing to see how much has been carefully packed into a relatively short book.'
Michael Wilks, Birkbeck College, Journal of Ecclesiastical History
'Burns is able to offer some valuable, if scattered, insights into fifteenth century theories'
Cary J. Nederman, The Review of Politics, University of Notre Dame, Winter 1994
1. A Crisis of Monarchy?; 2. Lordship: The Problem of Dominium; 3. Lordship and Kingship: France and England; 4. The Shaping of Absolutism: Spain; 5. Monarchy: Papacy and Empire; 6. The Conciliarist Tradition and Beyond; 7. The Triumph of Monarchy?; Bibliography; Index.