The Capetian apanages and the nature of the French kingdom


The Capetian apanages have traditionally been studied from the perspective of the developing national monarchy. This approach is anachronistic; its premises are drawn from a later century, and even within the Capetian period it groups together with little differentiation the attitudes and intentions of five generations of kings.The context for the early Capetian apanages is the successional customs of the nobility, which the kings knew well from having seen them practised by their baronial neighbors. The determining concepts behind these measures were not those of the crown and the royal domain, but rather the societal ones by which, through the succession, the individual members of the family were ordered in relation to the family's lands.Only in the last quarter of the thirteenth and the first quarter of the fourteenth centuries did the kings and the Parlement impose the series of rulings which molded Capetian practice into a distinctively royal pattern. For most of the period under consideration, the territorial kingdom was treated as an aggregate of separable holdings, most of which were the private inheritance of the ruling family.



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Journal of Medieval History