Power and Pleasure: Court Life under King John, 1199-1216

ISBN : 9780198802518

Hugh M. Thomas
304 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Nov 2020
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Although King John is remembered for his political and military failures, he also resided over a magnificent court. Power and Pleasure reconstructs life at the court of King John and explores how his court produced both pleasure and soft power. Much work exists on courts of the late medieval and early modern periods, but the jump in record keeping under John allows a detailed reconstruction of court life for an earlier period. Power and Pleasure: Court Life under King John, 1199-1216 examines the many facets of John's court, exploring hunting, feasting, castles, landscapes, material luxury, chivalry, sexual coercion, and religious activities. It explains how John mishandled his use of soft power, just as he failed to exploit his financial and military advantages, and why he received so little political benefit from his magnificent court. John's court is viewed in comparison to other courts of the time, and in previous and subsequent centuries.


1 Introduction
2 Hunting and Falconry
3 Luxury and Material Culture at Court
4 Aspects of Court Culture
5 Religious Practices at Court
6 Food and Feasting
7 Places and Spaces
8 King John and the Wielding of Soft Power
9 John's Court in a Comparative Context: A Preliminary Sketch

About the author: 

Hugh M. Thomas specializes in the social and cultural history of England during the central Middle Ages. He has published four previous books and a number of articles. The recipient of several prestigious fellowships in the US and the UK, he has taught at the University of Miami since 1988.

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