Tilly goes to Church: the Medieval and Religious Roots of European State Formation
Lecture by Anna Grzymala-Busse
Given as part of the Political Institutions and Political Economy (PIPE) Collaborative workshop on October 26, 2021
Abstract: Medieval religious rivalry fundamentally shaped European state formation. The single most powerful challenger to kings and emperors in the Middle Ages was the Catholic Church. To protect its interests and ensure its autonomy, the papacy deliberately fragmented medieval Europe, influenced the adoption of new state institutions, and developed novel concepts of secular sovereignty long before Westphalia. These patterns defy the canonical “bellicist” accounts, which focus on secular conflict in the early modern period, view fragmentation as exogenous, institutional development as incidental, and state sovereignty as a modern result of these struggles. The roots of European state formation are thus far older, religious, and more deliberate than the literature has often assumed.
Anna Grzymala-Busse is the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor of International Studies in the Department of Political Science, the Director of the Europe Center, and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. Read more about this topic in her post on Broastreet. You can follow Anna on Twitter @AnnaGBusse
Top Image: The Pope crowning Charlemagne – Chroniques de France ou de Saint-Denis