University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History > Religious Rhetoric in the Chronicle Accounts of the Anglo-Scottish Wars: The Chronicle of Lanercost and the 'National Crusade'

Religious Rhetoric in the Chronicle Accounts of the Anglo-Scottish Wars: The Chronicle of Lanercost and the 'National Crusade'

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How plausible was it for contemporaries to claim that violence against fellow Christians could constitute religious warfare during the later middle ages? The evolution of the concept of crusading and its deployment by the Papacy against its political foes throughout the thirteenth century have been well documented by historians. Yet, despite considerable advances over the last two decades of the twentieth century, the extent to which secular powers were increasingly able to appropriate the crusade for their own ‘national’ purposes during the fourteenth century is still poorly understood. Focusing on the Anglo-Scottish wars, this paper seeks to explain the infamous religious rhetoric present in the chronicle of Lanercost through developments in contemporary crusade thought. Placing the chronicle in the context of a war that was increasingly perceived along religious lines by both sides, it suggests that Lanercost should be understood as one of the earliest attempts to present a conflict between two Christian kingdoms as a ‘national crusade’, and to appropriate the divine sanctioning of violence normally reserved for holy war for the benefit of the ‘national’ cause. As such the chronicle forms a fascinating comparison with other contemporary accounts of the conflict and an illuminating backdrop to the later sanctification of violence attempted by both sides during the Hundred Years War.

This talk is part of the Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History series.

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