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Depositions of rulers in the later middle ages: on the theory of the “useless ruler” and its practical utilization

Depositions of rulers in the later middle ages: on the theory of the “useless ruler” and its practical utilization

By Helmut Walther

Revista da Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas. Vol.1:7 (1994)

Introduction: The fact that in late medieval times more or less changes of rulers by force increased in nearly all European kingdoms, may indeed be read as a symptom of change in kingship as well as in the basic order of lordship. It would be premature, however, to conclude that, concerning kingship, there existed a fundamental crisis of legitimacy. One argument against this view is the amount of pains that were taken to make depositions look less irregular, and to make them appear instead as procedures that followed fixed and prescribed rules.

Everybody who thoroughly inquires into the history of political theories among the learned jurists of the late Middle Ages, will judge more carefully about the relationship between political action and scholarly conceptions of laws than constitutional historians have often done.

Click here to read this article from Universidade Nova de Lisboa

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