NEW PUBLICATION (Leuven University Press, 2020)
Table of contents and Introduction (version of record)
Order from Leuven University Press or Cornell University Press
This project proposes a reinvestigation of the ‘sacralisation of knighthood’ within the Low Countries during the eleventh and twelfth centuries by answering three major questions. 1) First of all, what were the religious notions regarding knighthood and how did they develop over the course of time? In answering this question, special attention will be given to what extent these religious notions varied spatially and differed between the different ranks of the knightly society. 2) Secondly, what factors influenced this religious identity? 3) Finally, what was the social significance of these kinds of religious ideals in terms of knightly behaviour and in terms of their symbolic power within feudal society? By using the Diplomata Belgica-database, I will first and foremost study charters as a valuable and unused source for the religious mentalities of noblemen and knights alike. I will subject these charters to a combined quantitative and qualitative analysis and compare them with other sources. As a result, I hope to bridge the gap between two distinct historiographical traditions, that of chivalry and that of the crusades, by approaching medieval religiosity not as being opposed to the secular world, but as interwoven with it. In this sense, I hypothesise that the development of an ordo equester for the miles Christi became as much a deeply rooted component of chivalrous identity as a legitimising construct offering power to knights, noblemen and clerics alike.