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Urban Space and Political Conflict in Late Medieval Flanders

Marc Boone
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Vol. 32, No. 4, The Productivity of Urban Space in Northern Europe (Spring, 2002), pp. 621-640
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3656148
Page Count: 20
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Urban Space and Political Conflict in Late Medieval Flanders
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Abstract

Urban public space was a forum for political contests between cities of the Low Countries-particularly Ghent-and the late medieval Burgundian state. Contrary to much of the scholarship on the Low Countries' urban history of the late Middle Ages, civic space was independent of market activities, however important these activities were. In the long fierce contests over rights and privileges waged by the late medieval cities of the southern Low Countries against princely hegemony, possession of civic spaces became the ultimate sign of political legitimacy. But their ultimate possessors often destroyed them, thus ending their power to confer legitimacy on future challengers and/or erasing memory of their defilement at the hands of pretenders.

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