Reconsidering Donizone’s Vita Mathildis (again): Boniface of Canossa and Emperor Conrad II

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article builds on arguments presented in Journal of Medieval History in November 2015 to investigate the relationship between Boniface of Canossa and the Emperor Conrad II. It counters the standard narrative which presents the two figures as close allies throughout Conrad’s reign arguing that this account is based too heavily on the account of Donizone of Canossa and on a handful of ambiguous references in other narrative sources, all of which held ulterior motives for portraying Boniface as a loyal and exceptional imperial subject. By looking instead at the charter evidence for the interactions between Boniface and Conrad the article will demonstrate that the interests of these two individuals only coincided in the final years of Conrad’s lifetime and that it was only in these years that Boniface moved into a place of influence within the imperial court. This article is relevant to the political history of Italy and the Empire as a whole during the eleventh century. It highlights the importance of the charter evidence in supporting or undermining modern narratives of this period and demonstrates that the complexity of medieval political networks cannot be reduced to a simple binary of allies and enemies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
JournalStoricamente
Volume13
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Boniface of Canossa
  • Emperor Conrad II

Cite this

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abstract = "This article builds on arguments presented in Journal of Medieval History in November 2015 to investigate the relationship between Boniface of Canossa and the Emperor Conrad II. It counters the standard narrative which presents the two figures as close allies throughout Conrad’s reign arguing that this account is based too heavily on the account of Donizone of Canossa and on a handful of ambiguous references in other narrative sources, all of which held ulterior motives for portraying Boniface as a loyal and exceptional imperial subject. By looking instead at the charter evidence for the interactions between Boniface and Conrad the article will demonstrate that the interests of these two individuals only coincided in the final years of Conrad’s lifetime and that it was only in these years that Boniface moved into a place of influence within the imperial court. This article is relevant to the political history of Italy and the Empire as a whole during the eleventh century. It highlights the importance of the charter evidence in supporting or undermining modern narratives of this period and demonstrates that the complexity of medieval political networks cannot be reduced to a simple binary of allies and enemies.",
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Reconsidering Donizone’s Vita Mathildis (again): Boniface of Canossa and Emperor Conrad II. / Houghton, Robert.

Vol. 13, 24.07.2017, p. 1-35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - This article builds on arguments presented in Journal of Medieval History in November 2015 to investigate the relationship between Boniface of Canossa and the Emperor Conrad II. It counters the standard narrative which presents the two figures as close allies throughout Conrad’s reign arguing that this account is based too heavily on the account of Donizone of Canossa and on a handful of ambiguous references in other narrative sources, all of which held ulterior motives for portraying Boniface as a loyal and exceptional imperial subject. By looking instead at the charter evidence for the interactions between Boniface and Conrad the article will demonstrate that the interests of these two individuals only coincided in the final years of Conrad’s lifetime and that it was only in these years that Boniface moved into a place of influence within the imperial court. This article is relevant to the political history of Italy and the Empire as a whole during the eleventh century. It highlights the importance of the charter evidence in supporting or undermining modern narratives of this period and demonstrates that the complexity of medieval political networks cannot be reduced to a simple binary of allies and enemies.

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