In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

84BOOK REVIEWS There are minor lapses.The bibUographical essay for chapter nine contains a two-page description of the writings of Innocent III without a single reference to modern analyses of those works, and Walter Pakter appears in the bibUography asW. Parker.The author's concluding argument seems to work at cross purposes when he says that the papal conception of Christendom was being restricted to Europe at the same time that the popes were dreaming of converting theTartars. But these are minor flaws.The author has brought clarity of expression, detaUed factual information, and sure synthetic judgment to make for an altogether admirable book. No one interested in the medieval papacy should miss it. John C. Moore Hofstra University Peter des Roches: An Alien in English Politics, 1205-1238. By Nicholas Vincent . [Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, Fourth Series,Volume 31] (NewYork: Cambridge University Press. 1996.Pp.xx, 543. $79.95.) This biography of Peter des Roches, the French bishop of Winchester (1205-1238), is very much a poUtical biography. In it, Nicholas Vincent shows that des Roches, servant of King John and chief advisor to his son, exemplified devotion to the Angevin Empire, both in its concatenation ofcontinental and insular lands and in its style of governance, centered on royal vis et voluntas.Yet, asVincent argues, even des Roches' dedication to the recovery ofJohn's French lands faded as his EngUsh connections and interests grew, while the xenophobic rhetoric of the attacks on des Roches was largely a cover for factional interests .Time, more than an English nationalist resurgence, reconcUed England to the loss of lands in northern France after 1204. The admirable control shown in this long book means that nearly every detaU Vincent selects is ultimately used to serve these themes. Hence, there is Uttle stress here on des Roches' governance of his diocese, for which one should consultVincent's edition of des Roches'ecí«.1 Readers of this ReviewwiU, however , find that this biography does cast light on various aspects of church history . Despite his reUgious patronage, des Roches was, arguably, the most secular EngUsh bishop of his time.A quintessential royal curialist, he alone of the episcopate remained at John's court throughout the Interdict. Moreover, he was implicated in John's milking of church propertyA throwback to earlier times, des Roches led troops in person, commanding even crossbowmen, the most disreputable of medieval soldiers, whose weapon had been condemned by the Church. He was Langton's natural enemy. 'English Episcopal Acta LX Winchester 1205-1238, ed. Nicholas Vincent (Oxford, 1994), esp. pp. xxvii-lxxvi. BOOK REVIEWS85 Yet des Roches' secularity, and his strained relations with his feUow bishops, themselves reveal the latent strength of episcopal soUdarity. Unlike his feUow aliens, des Roches was not exiled under Magna Carta, despite his deep involvement in John's poUcies. Bishops do not banish bishops. SimUarly although the bishops—many ofthem Langton's protégés—helped bring down des Roches in 1234, his episcopal coUeagues also stood by him after his faU. Vincent's discussion has impUcations as well for understanding the emergence of a self-consciously EngUsh church.When des Roches became bishop of Winchester in 1205, at least three-fourths of English bishops were aUens. By 1234, only des Roches was clearly not of EngUsh origin. Indeed, as aUen bishops died, their aUen clerks found themselves clustering around des Roches for patronage . ForVincent, this change reveals England's growing insularity foUowing the loss of 1204. It also shows, starkly, the importance of that loss in the longterm development of a national EngUsh church. This book is clearly written, resourcefuUy argued, and displays a nice sense of irony.The volume is also weU produced—I found only three typographical errors (stray commas and a period on pp. 96, 260, and 307). It is essential reading for those concerned either with the evolution of English national identity after the Conquest or with thirteenth-century English politics. Ecclesiastical historians can also profit from it, more than can be noted in a short review. Michael Burger Mississippi Universityfor Women Proceso sobre la ordenación de la iglesia valentina entre los arzobispos de Toledo, Rodrigo Jiménez...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 84-85
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.