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The Sleep of BehemothDisputing Peace and Violence in Medieval Europe, 1000-1200$
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Jehangir Yezdi Malegam

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451324

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451324.001.0001

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Inversions of Peace

(p.230) Chapter 7 Communes
The Sleep of Behemoth

Jehangir Yezdi Malegam

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers how churchmen came to terms with communes during the twelfth century. Communal charters and accounts of uprising suggest that communards used the vocabulary of peacemaking to justify their demands; to clerical observers this made them recognizable as a threat to authentic peace, and a subterfuge of divinely sanctioned political order. While at first glance the commune appeared to be the complete inversion of divinely constituted authority on earth, that very inversion would implicate it within an expanding and self-correcting ecclesial body. Via their portrayals of the commune, twelfth-century churchmen constructed the city as a site for negotiation between spirit and flesh, a space in which the internal conflicts of the redeemed self could find external elaboration.

Keywords:   communes, communards, peacemaking, communes as conspiracies, communal charters, communal accounts, cities

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