Princely Brothers and Sisters
The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100-1250
Publication Year: 2012
In Princely Brothers and Sisters, Jonathan R. Lyon takes a fresh look at sibling networks and the role they played in shaping the practice of politics in the Middle Ages. Focusing on nine of the most prominent aristocratic families in the German kingdom during the Staufen period (1138-1250), Lyon finds that noblemen-and to a lesser extent, noblewomen-relied on the cooperation and support of their siblings as they sought to maintain or expand their power and influence within a competitive political environment. Consequently, sibling relationships proved crucial at key moments in shaping the political and territorial interests of many lords of the kingdom.
Family historians have largely overlooked brothers and sisters in the political life of medieval societies. As Lyon points out, however, siblings are the contemporaries whose lives normally overlap the longest. More so than parents and children, husbands and wives, or lords and vassals, brothers and sisters have the potential to develop relationships that span entire lifetimes. The longevity of some sibling bonds therefore created opportunities for noble brothers and sisters to collaborate in especially potent ways. As Lyon shows, cohesive networks of brothers and sisters proved remarkably effective at counterbalancing the authority of the Staufen kings and emperors. Well written and impeccably researched, Princely Brothers and Sisters is an important book not only for medieval German historians but also for the field of family history.
Published by: Cornell University Press
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...this book, I was consistently amazed by the support I received from friends, colleagues, librarians, and archivists in both the United States and Europe. I am therefore pleased to acknowledge the people who helped make this book To begin at the end, I would especially like to thank John Van Engen and Lisa Wolverton for reading the manuscript in the late stages and for push-...
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...late thirteenth-century Chronicle of the Princes of Saxony , the brothers and co-margraves John I (d. 1266) and Otto III (d. 1267) of Brandenburg “began [to exercise lordship] in the year of the Lord 1220. . . . After they had reached the age of majority, with one deferring to the other, they lived together harmoniously as was proper for brothers; and on account of ...
1The Origins of Twelfth-CenturyPrincely Lineages
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...eleventh and early twelfth centuries have been viewed as a critical period in the history of German noble families. According to a model first proposed by Karl Schmid in the 1950s, these years witnessed a shift from the hori-zontally oriented extended kinship group ( Sippe ) of the early Middle Ages to the vertically focused lineage ( Geschlecht ) of the central Middle Ages. 1 In ...
2Forging the Bonds between Siblings
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...primogeniture during the central Middle Ages have long obscured scholarly visions of noble lineages. For the German upper aristocracy of the Staufen period, lineages were not based on narrow lines of descent from father to el-dest son. Instead, they embraced multiple children with equal claims to rights and properties. During the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, lords ...
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...began to appear in the surviving sources during the 1130s and 1140s included many lords who would dominate the political scene in the German kingdom throughout the later twelfth century. Because their fathers or grandfathers had been the noblemen who had most benefited from the upheaval that ac-companied the Investiture Controversy, one of the defining characteristics ...
4Frederick Barbarossa and Henry the Lion
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...the late 1170s, Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Bavaria was the most powerful magnate in the German kingdom. Then, in the years around 1180, he fell precipitously from his perch atop the princely hierarchy. Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, acting in conjunction with many of the principes imperii , stripped him of his duchies and other imperial fiefs. Soon thereafter, ...
5Cooperation, Conflict, and the Rise of aNew Generation, ca. 1180–1210
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...nal groups who had acquired pieces of Henry the Lion’s once-sprawling collection of lordships had dramatically reshaped the political landscape of the German kingdom. Several of these lineages were at the height of their authority and influence in subsequent months. However, this age of princely brothers did not last long. Most of the nobles and churchmen ...
6From Bamberg to Budapest
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...operating within the German upper aristocracy during the period of the civil war included eight brothers and sisters from the Andechs lineage. Be-cause of the unusually rich source material that survives for this genera-tion, these Andechs siblings offer an excellent opportunity for exploring the interactions and relationships among noble brothers and sisters. This gen-...
7The Uncertain Future of Lineages
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...ended the generation of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa’s children. At the time of Barbarossa’s death in 1190, his five adult sons had been well po-sitioned to play prominent roles in imperial politics; eighteen years later, however, all of them were dead. Only a single male heir survived in the next generation: Emperor Henry VI’s son, Frederick II, the future emperor, who ...
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...human history to have a brother was also the first person to commit fratri -cide: “Cain said to Abel his brother, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ ” (Gen. 4:8–9). When Romulus later killed ...
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Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2012