Paris, 1200

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Paris in 1200 was a city in transition. The great cathedral of Notre Dame was halfway through its construction and walls were being built to enclose the new, larger limits of the city. Pope Innocent III ordered all French churches closed to punish King Philip Augustus for his remarriage; the king himself negotiated an unprecedented truce with the English; and the students of Paris threatened a general strike, punctuated with incidents of violence, to protest infringements of their rights.

John W. Baldwin brilliantly resurrects this key moment in Parisian history using documents only from 1190 to 1210—a narrow focus made possible by the availability of collections of the Capetian monarchy and the medieval scholastic thinkers. This unique approach results in a vivid snapshot of the city at the turn of the thirteenth century.

Paris, 1200 introduces the reader to the city itself and its inhabitants. Three "faces" exemplify these inhabitants: that of the celebrated scholar Pierre the Chanter, of King Philip Augustus, and of the more deeply hidden visages of women. The book examines the city's primary institutions: the royal government, the Church, and its celebrated schools that evolved into the university at Paris. Finally, it offers an account of the delights and pleasures, as well as the fears and sorrows, of Parisian life in this period.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Baldwin's deep love of Paris emanates from every drop of ink in his latest book (after Aristocratic Life in Medieval France). Drawing on his profound literary, ecclesiastical, and scholastic knowledge of the period, Baldwin devours the scant archives available and presents a brilliant picture of the nascent state. We find Paris as Notre Dame is still under construction and clerical life is being defined. England is losing its French land under King John, and Paris is under interdict due to Philip Augustus' bigamous marriage. At the same time, the masters and students of the Left Bank are coalescing into a university, establishing Paris as the center of high scholasticism. Amidst all this, Philip built the foundations of bureaucracy that created a nation by centralizing documentation, and establishing Paris as the uncontested capital of France. The emerging bourgeoisie, the advent of the mendicant orders, and the early stages of France's bureaucracy contributed to the true beginnings of the French state and of the domination of French culture throughout Western Europe. Baldwin so expands our knowledge and adoration of the city of lights it's as if he walked through it 900 years ago, absorbing every colorful detail. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"I loved this book. In it, one of the great scholars of medieval French history brings to bear a lifetime of inquiry and knowledge in a 250-page volume that is at once an introduction and a work of consummate scholarship."—M. Cecilia Gaposchkin, Catholic Historical Review

"A deft work by a master scholar, Paris 1200 is a microhistory of the city, exploring the state of the church, royal governance, education, and civic culture at the turn of the 13th century . . . Students and scholars of France, Paris, urban history, and medieval life in general will find much within the book's rich tapestry to inform and delight them . . . Highly recommended."—R. F. Berkhofer III, Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804772075
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/20/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,013,744
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Baldwin is Charles Horner Haskins Professor Emeritus of History at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Aristocratic Life in Medieval France: The Romances of Jean Renart and Gerbert de Montreuil, 1190-1230 (2000), The Language of Sex: Five Voices from Northern France Around 1200 (1994), The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages (1986), The Scholastic Culture of the Middle Ages, 1000-1300 (1971), and Masters, Princes, and Merchants:The Social Views of Peter the Chanter and His Circle (1970).

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Table of Contents

Preface to the American Edition ix

Prologue: Paris in the Year 1200 1

Chapter 1 The City and its Bourgeoisie 17

Chapter 2 The Faces of Pierre the Chanter and Philip Augustus and the Hidden Visages of Women 63

Chapter 3 King Philip and His Government 94

Chapter 4 The Church, Clergy and Religious Life 128

Chapter 5 The Schools 175

Chapter 6 Delight and Pain 214

Epilogue: Raising the Roof 245

Notes 251

Selected Bibliography 259

Index 281

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