Tolerance in the Middle Ages: Respect in Treaties

I really enjoyed writing this blog piece for Cardiff University’s SHARE ejournal!

Cardiff University SHARE eJournal

“For four hundred years there had been order and law, respect for property, and a widening culture. All had vanished”.[1]

This is how Churchill saw the start of the Middle Ages. This quote summarises how many see the period, characterising it as a time of violence, prejudice, and superstition. Indeed, the very word ‘medieval’ is now often used as a synonym for ‘cruel’.[2] While the popularity of fictional shows with a medieval setting, such as Game of Thrones, indicates that modern audiences are interested in medievalism, these shows often focus on violence and domination. These are the traits that modernity sees as an intrinsic characteristic of the Middle Ages. For myself, studying the peacemaking of this period has shown that, while the medieval period contained its fair share of violence, diplomacy wasn’t necessarily characterised by one ruler or people dominating another. Unfortunately the people of Westeros, the main…

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