The King Cannot Be Everywhere: Royal Governance and Local Society in the Reign of Louis IX


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Between 1254 and 1270, King Louis IX of France promulgated a sweeping series of reforms intended to ensure the ethical integrity of his government and moral purity of the realm. Focusing on the administrative district of the Vermandois, this project examines the extent to which these initiatives affected the exercise and experience of royal power and authority within provincial society. Drawing upon administrative and judicial records, it analyzes the application and enforcement of royal policy within a world of local government, custom, political interests, and corruption. While not always successful and often contested, Louis’s reform program and its associated ideals of sacral governance exerted considerable influence on day-to-day bureaucratic practice, the conduct of royal agents, and wider perceptions of royal government.