Anti-corruption campaigns in thirteenth-century Europe

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The thirteenth century in France saw the initiation of a series of reforms intended to define, identify and root out corruption in government. The principal architect of the campaign was King Louis IX (1226-70), ably supported by a coterie of special officials. Inspired in part by his desire to purify his kingdom in the long preparation for the crusade of 1270, he also drew on longstanding precedents in French administrative history. The campaign on the whole was quite successful. What is also remarkable is that, generated partly from the unique circumstances of individual polities and partly from circumstances, like crusading fervour, which were widely shared, other anti-corruption campaigns were mounted, also with some success. The slogans and practices of anti-corruption campaigns came to be identified intimately with good government, indeed, with the very right to exercise political authority and power. The thirteenth century thus appears to be a foundational moment in the constitution of the ideology and practices of the state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-219
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Medieval History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History


  • Bribery
  • Corruption
  • Edward I
  • Government
  • Henry III of England
  • Louis IX
  • Magnus VI
  • Pedro III of Aragon


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