2004
Volume 123, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

During the Late Middle Ages, faction formation in Flemish cities was largely determined by both international and local political and socio-economic relationships or oppositions and conflicts concerning honour and interests between rivalling elite networks. The ‘factions’ of the Flemish patricians often had a concentric pattern, with a core – usually closely interconnected by means of family ties – and a sympathising periphery, supporting the core for economic, political, or ideological reasons. The reasons why corporative middle groups supported factions are sometimes hard to fathom. The sources show that patrician factions often feared the middle classes and manual workers. These were able to punish newly elected leaders severely if they did not live up to their – sometimes great – expectations. The stakes of such conflicts were high, which probably explains their intensity as well as the increasingly frequent interventions by the state. Although the growing political influence of the Burgundian dynasty in the urban faction struggle in Flanders must be recognized, it can be disputed whether growing state power ensured less ‘private violence’. On the contrary, it seems that the Dukes often consciously ‘participated’ in faction struggles in order to reinforce sovereign power in the city.

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2010-05-01
2022-11-30
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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