Ruling the Kingdom, 1154–1217
DOI link for Ruling the Kingdom, 1154–1217
Ruling the Kingdom, 1154–1217 book
The continental commitments of the Angevin kings dwarfed those of William I and his sons. Between 1154 and 1214, English politics and government was dominated by the fact that the English kings ruled or laid claim to territories which stretched from the north of England to the south of France. This collection of lands, usually referred to by historians as ‘the Angevin Empire’, came together under the rule of Henry II because, in the thirty years prior to 1154, the counts of Anjou had been successful in war, diplomacy and the marriage market; and also because they had been lucky at the right times. Consequently, the constituent parts of the Angevin dominions were distinct and separate; they had their own systems of government, laws and customs. There is no indication that Henry II, Richard I or John wished to mould them into a coherent unified ‘state’. Nevertheless, their determination to keep this diverse and far-flung collection of lands together led eventually to the downfall and death of each of them.