Clerical and Ecclesiastical Ideas of Territory in the Late Medieval Low Countries

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Stuart Elden’s The Birth of Territory relies heavily on political theorists and lexical analysis; this chapter argues that the Church and clerics had an important impact Elden overlooked. Late medieval parishes and bishoprics had contiguous borders, fiscal and administrative procedures and powers, their own jurisdiction, and their own hierarchy. A bishop had, in a sense, his own territory. The chapter first discusses general ideas of geography and the specific Christian geography of two important mid-fifteenth-century clerics: (the later) Pope Pius II and Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa. It then highlights the importance of parishes and bishoprics as typical structural elements of ecclesiastical ‘territories’. Finally, it provides detailed analysis of the territorial features of the creation of new bishoprics in the Low Countries in 1559.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConstructing and Representing Territory in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
EditorsMario Damen, Kim Overlaet
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press - Amsterdam Academic Archive
Number of pages36
ISBN (Print)978 94 6372 6139
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • ecclesiastical territory
  • parish
  • bishopric
  • christianitas
  • new bishoprics of 1559


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