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Exile and Return: The Development of Political Prophecy on the Borders of England, c.1136-1450s

Flood, Victoria E. (2013) Exile and Return: The Development of Political Prophecy on the Borders of England, c.1136-1450s. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis traces the development of political prophecy in England from the publication of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Prophetiae Merlini (c.1136-40), to political prophecies in circulation on the eve of the Wars of the Roses. A genre endorsing and naturalising territorial claims, political prophecy was a powerful mode of communal and national address. In the construction of these rights, the authors of English political prophecy leant heavily on contemporary Welsh and Scottish counterclaims, material which was re-inscribed and employed as an endorsement of English hegemony. An assessment of cross-border influences is fundamental for a balanced study of the genre. From Geoffrey of Monmouth’s re-inscription of Welsh prophetic material, to the northern English prophecies ascribed to Thomas of Erceldoune and antecedent texts on the Anglo-Scottish border drawing on Scottish materials, and the later circulation of Erceldoune prophecies on the Anglo-Welsh border, the movement of prophetic material across national lines proved formative. In the study of these sites of re-inscription in this thesis, each text is orientated in its broader geo-political and historical context. This is a scholarly practice which presents a radical departure from a critical framework which in recent years has understood these very different works, composed and circulating in relation to different geo-political and historical factors, as monolithically ‘Celtic’. In the historical development of these prophetic traditions, as they were reapplied by consecutive groups and factions within England and on its borders, the affinities of the border aristocracy played an important role. Political prophecy functioned as a powerful hegemonic strategy, staking political-territorial claims, both regional and more recognisably national. On occasion political prophecy was drawn on directly by members of the aristocracy themselves: most prolifically, the Percy earls of Northumberland; and the Mortimer earls of March, and later Yorkist claimants to the throne.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Medieval Studies (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.577432
Depositing User: Ms Victoria E. Flood
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2013 10:35
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:29
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/4229

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