England and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages: Papal Privileges in European Perspective, c. 680-1073 (Oxford University Press, 2023) by Dr. Benjamin Savill provides the first dedicated, book-length study of interactions between England and the papacy throughout the early middle ages. It takes as its lens the extant English record of papal privileges: legal diplomas drawn-up on metres-long scrolls of Egyptian papyrus, acquired by pilgrim-petitioners within the city of Rome, and then brought back to Britain to negotiate local claims and conflicts.
How, why, and when did English petitioners choose to invoke the distant authority of Rome in this way, and how did this compare to what was taking place elsewhere in Europe? How successful were these efforts, and how were they remembered in later centuries?
By using these still-understudied papal documents to reassess what we know of the worlds of Bede, the Mercian Supremacy, the West Saxon 'Kingdom of the English', and the Norman Conquest—locating them in the process within a comparative, Europe-wide setting—this book offers important new contributions to Anglo-Saxon studies, legal and documentary history, papal history, and the study of early medieval Europe more widely.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.
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