We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The Sleep of Behemoth

Disputing Peace and Violence in Medieval Europe, 1000–1200

by Jehangir Yezdi Malegam

Publication Year: 2013

In The Sleep of Behemoth, Jehangir Yezdi Malegam explores the emergence of conflicting concepts of peace in western Europe during the High Middle Ages. Ever since the Early Church, Christian thinkers had conceived of their peace separate from the peace of the world, guarded by the sacraments and shared only grudgingly with powers and principalities. To kingdoms and communities they had allowed attenuated versions of this peace, modes of accommodation and domination that had tranquility as the goal. After 1000, reformers in the papal curia and monks and canons in the intellectual circles of northern France began to reimagine the Church as an engine of true peace, whose task it was eventually to absorb all peoples through progressive acts of revolutionary peacemaking. Peace as they envisioned it became a mandate for reform through conflict, coercion, and insurrection. And the pursuit of mere tranquility appeared dangerous, and even diabolical.

As Malegam shows, within western Christendom's major centers of intellectual activity and political thought, the clergy competed over the meaning and monopolization of the term "peace." contrasting it with what one canon lawyer called the "sleep of Behemoth," a diabolical "false" peace of lassitude and complacency, one that produced unsuitable forms of community and friendship that must be overturned at all costs. Out of this contest over the meaning and ownership of true peace, Malegam concludes, medieval thinkers developed theologies that shaped secular political theory in the later Middle Ages. The Sleep of Behemoth traces this radical experiment in redefining the meaning of peace from the papal courts of Rome and the schools of Laon, Liege, and Paris to its gradual spread across the continent and its impact on such developments as the rise of papal monarchism; the growth of urban, communal self-government; and the emergence of secular and mystical scholasticism.

Published by: Cornell University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (76.8 KB)
p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (41.3 KB)
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF (32.1 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (44.6 KB)
pp. ix-xii

We thrive in an academic community when we take up, with fondness and gratitude, the society of its members. During the ten years of this book’s evolution, I have accumulated several debts, not all of which can be mentioned here: Brad Gregory, Hester Gelber, Kathryn Miller, Paula Findlen, ...

List of Abbreviations

pdf iconDownload PDF (41.5 KB)
pp. xiii-xiv

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (99.6 KB)
pp. 1-20

In 1324, a physician and scholar named Marsilius of Padua refuted papal sovereignty in the name of peace. In his soon-to-be notorious Defensor pacis (Defender of the Peace), Marsilius asserted the legitimacy of a secular monarch over the clergy, insisting that the only true peace was earthly tranquility, and that tranquility was the exclusive province of the prince. ...

read more

1. Revising Peace: Reform and the Millennium

pdf iconDownload PDF (172.2 KB)
pp. 21-54

In August 1023, on the banks of the Meuse in Alsace-Lorraine, the two preeminent Christian monarchs of the West made a great gesture toward achieving God’s peace on earth. Emperor Henry II and King Robert the Pious of France “concluded a statement of peace and justice and a reconciliation of mutual friendship.”1 ...

read more

2. The Papal Reform: Peace Espoused and Repudiated

pdf iconDownload PDF (120.2 KB)
pp. 55-75

An anonymous vita begun during the final years of Pope Leo IX’s life speaks of the young bishop Bruno of Toul’s arrival in Rome in 1049. A kinsman of Emperor Henry III, the new pope had recently been ruling a diocese in Upper Lotharingia and had gained the highest clerical seat in Latin Christendom after a series of disputed and scandalous papal elections.1 ...

read more

3. False Sacraments: Violence, Captivity, and Insurrection

pdf iconDownload PDF (192.4 KB)
pp. 76-114

During Lent in 1074, the assistants of the bishop of Milan prepared a chrism, as they did every year in preparation for the public baptism of infants and catachumens at Easter. This year, however, on the appointed day, a vavasor named Erlembald pushed himself through the waiting crowds, snatched the chrism, and before everyone’s eyes spilled it and then stamped on it. ...

read more

4. Dueling Sacraments: The Communion of Judas Iscariot

pdf iconDownload PDF (183.5 KB)
pp. 115-152

Since the days of the Peace of God movement, a number of standard images served to describe those who rescinded peace. One, dogs returning to their vomit, alluded to Gregory the Great’s criticism of apostates, indicating that taking up peace could be considered an act of conversion. ...

read more

5. Inner Peace: Discord, Discretion, and Discipline

pdf iconDownload PDF (201.6 KB)
pp. 153-189

The disgust of Jesus’s listeners at being asked to eat his flesh showed the difficulties that a carnal understanding of the sacraments placed in the way of spiritual benefit. No matter how carefully the sacraments were guarded and explained, it was no easy matter to absorb these mysteries of divine redemption. ...

read more

6. Exporting Peace: Ecclesiology and Evangelism

pdf iconDownload PDF (212.3 KB)
pp. 190-229

In 1143, Evervin, the abbot of Steinfeld, wrote a troubled letter to Bernard of Clairvaux, relating the final testament of a group of men accused of heresy and then slaughtered by a mob in Cologne: ...

read more

7. Communes: Inversions of Peace

pdf iconDownload PDF (179.4 KB)
pp. 230-263

In 1112 the inhabitants of Laon rose up against their rulers, massacred their bishop, Gaudry, and indulged in carnivalesque acts of vandalism and homicide before an opportunistic warlord, Thomas de Marle, subjugated the city. When Guibert, abbot of Nogent-sous-Coucy, searched for lessons from the urban insurrection and its bloody consequences, ...

read more

8. Disciplining Behemoth: Provisions for Secular Peace

pdf iconDownload PDF (173.0 KB)
pp. 264-296

Late in the twelfth century, a canon lawyer and bishop named Rufinus of Sorrento wrote a two-volume treatise, possibly the first of its kind entirely devoted to peace.1 In De bono pacis (On the Goodness of Peace), Rufinus argued that human beings experienced peace as species of a universal PAX: the peace of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.2 ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (59.1 KB)
pp. 297-304

So wrote Dante Alighieri in his controversial De monarchia of 1318, deemed heretical by Pope John XXII and preserved only through camouflage.1 Refuted by proxy, mistitled, bound within unrelated manuscripts, the authorized edition only emerged in Protestant Basel in the middle of the sixteenth century.2 ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (101.9 KB)
pp. 305-324


pdf iconDownload PDF (73.1 KB)
pp. 325-336

E-ISBN-13: 9780801467899
E-ISBN-10: 0801467896
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801451324
Print-ISBN-10: 0801451329

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1