Men at the center: Redemptive governance under Louis IX

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My intention in the three short studies that have made up this book was to show that a biographical approach to the men around Louis IX might highlight certain central features of his rule and therefore of the temper of the realm in his reign. Louis IX instituted a genuinely repressive regime based on a narrow sense of what was morally permissible. Even behavior he objected to but did not criminalize, like singing profane songs, he stigmatized, tried to contain and ultimately to suppress. His behavior was not tempered by mercy when the issue was one of personal responsibility. The king could show love toward groups of marginal people, impoverished scholars, béguines, and those suffering ill treatment from his officials and servitors, to name three which I have discussed in this book. And a full treatment of his reign would show that this impulse extended to his treatment of penitent prostitutes and the creation of institutions to receive them and his treatment of the blind, lepers, and heretics' widows and orphans (as long as they were steadfastly orthodox in faith).1 But toward transgressors-men and women who abused their social superiority or the administrative power the king vested in them-he was unforgiving. And he sought out men of similar outlook to punish those who could not restrain their transgressive impulses. He and these men whom he selected did not show compassion and mercy toward such individuals, but unrelentingly indulged the death penalty, public executions, and other humiliating forms of public justice to terrorize French society into moral behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCentral European University Press
Number of pages136
ISBN (Print)9786155225123
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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