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Making Intercession: Companions, Kin, and Consorts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks more closely at the relationships that bound individuals and others to the rulers of their time relationships characterized by what German medievalists have dubbed Nähe, a physical, spiritual, and metaphorical "nearness" to and affinity with the ruler commonly referred to by medieval writers as familiaritas. The 'supply side' of intercessory politics was not predominantly hierarchical, despite the hierarchical structure of intercessory petitioning. Instead, intercessors and rulers defined their relationships as horizontal ones of affection and trust, epitomized by Einhard's famous image of Charlemagne bathing in the company of his children, his friends, and even his bodyguards. Indeed, it was those closest to the ruler in particular, his courtiers, his kin, and his wife who dominated intercessory politics, and it was the intimate bonds of amity, kinship, and marriage that informed and enabled intercession itself.

Keywords: Charlemagne; Einhard; German medievalists; intercessory politics; Nähe

10.1163/9789004264595_004
/content/books/b9789004264595s004
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