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Defending the faith from France: an underlying motivation of the English Crown's political relationship with the Papacy, 1509-1522

Brown , Anthony Steven (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This study argues that Leo X’s naming Henry VIII ‘fidei defensor’ (1521) represented the culmination of a political strategy aimed at protecting the papacy from France since 1509. Based on full reconstruction of the Anglo-papal narrative, this was found to be motivated by a xenophobia rooted in England’s historic rivalry with France and further fuelled by the prospect that French hegemony in Italy would limit papal ‘independence’. While Henry preferred military means to pursue this, limitations of English power and geography sometimes forced him to employ peaceful methods to divert the French from Italy (1517 on). This thesis was tested on several aspects of the Anglo-papal relationship: papal honours, censures, the influencing of conclaves and composition of the cardinalate. In each, Henry acted as the papacy’s ‘loyal’ defender against France, expecting active support from and to be appropriately rewarded by Rome, particularly by the politicised invocation of papal ‘spiritual’ authority. Furthermore, popes cultivated this English self-perception when they sought support against France. In consequent attempts by both parties to assert political leverage over each other, Henry occasionally succeeded in gaining concessions from Rome (a cardinal’s hat here, an honorary award there), but often found it difficult to capitalise on this.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Swanson, Robert Norman
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of History and Cultures
Subjects:DA Great Britain
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2834
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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