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Dr. Michiel Decaluwé (01.06.2006-31.05.2008)

Friendship and Patronage in Monarchial Orders of Knighthood of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Times. Loyalty as Political Tool


Born: 29.05.1978

Nationality: Belgian

Contact:  michiel.decaluwe@geschichte.uni-freiburg.de


Current Position

Research fellow at the chair of medieval history II (Prof. Birgit Studt)

Curriculum vitae and publications


Former Research Project

Friendship and Patronage in Monarchial Orders of Knighthood of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Times. Loyalty as Political Tool

Loyalty can be seen as the substance of both friendship and patronage. Loyalty is what in political terms makes friendship and patronage tangible.
This project wants to examine how loyalty has been used politically in the late middle ages and in early modern times. What is the political role of loyalty? How can loyalty in political life be promoted? How can loyalty in political life be deployed and what political benefits does loyalty bring? Those are the main questions of this project, which sees loyalty as a utile and tangible political tool, as a political utility article.
Answers to these questions are sought in a specific case study. In late medieval and early modern times existed several so called monarchical orders of knighthood. These institutions were founded by diverse European princes and where bodies that consisted of members of the highest European nobility and were headed by the founding prince or his heir. The main difference between monarchical orders of knighthood and the numerous other orders of knighthood is indeed this leading role of the prince, who, in most monarchical orders, received the title of “Chef”. The best known monarchical orders of knighthood are the Order of the Golden Fleece (Burgundy – the  Low Countries – Habsburg) and the Order of the Garter (England). But also in other, similar orders were founded: the Order of St-Michael and the Company of the Star in France, the Order of the Ship and the Order of the Ermine in Naples, The Order of the Collar (also called the Order of the Annunciation of Our Lady) in Savoy, the Fraternal Society of Knighthood of St George in Hungary, etc.
For a study on friendship and patronage and the tension between both phenomena, monarchical orders are a very interesting research topic. In these orders patronage relations between the members of the order and the chef and friendly relation between the members, but in certain circumstances also between a member and the chef, are structured and institutionalised. This makes it possible to study loyal political relationships, friendly as well as patronage relationships, from three perspectives: firstly the perspective of the prince or the chef of the order, secondly the perspective of the member of the order and thirdly the perspective of the outsider, the political enemy of the chef or the member of the order.

  • Postadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    c/o Historisches Seminar
    Rempartstr. 15 - KG IV
    79085 Freiburg 
  • Besuchsadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    Erbprinzenstraße 13
    79098 Freiburg
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