Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Kungens biktfader: Andlig vägledning och politisk rådgivning vid senmedeltidens hov
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies.
2012 (Swedish)In: Kyrkohistorisk årsskrift, ISSN 0085-2619, 49-59 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]


Authors of medieval political thought were more concerned with the personal qualities of the prince than with political institutions. They wrote more about his virtues than about his role in parlia- ment. This article examines the sacrament of penance as one of the didactic means by which such norms were communicated to the prince. The royal confessor was the crucial link in this transfer, and this article traces his appearance at the late medieval Swedish court and also discusses the confessional manuals that were produced to help him interrogate his royal confessant. The Swedish court is relatively unexplored as a locus of devotion and little is known about its clerical personnel. This article presents the appearance of the papally-sanctioned royal confessor, in the reign of Magnus Eriksson in 1347, and offers a brief discussion of the careers of a number of later incumbents of this office, suggesting that the post of royal confessor was a likely path to a bishopric. The main part of the article is a scrutiny of manuals for confessors and penitents, which elucidates the political norms communicated through the pastoral care of the confessors. At the centre of this discussion is a Swedish instruction for royal devotion – Fjorton råd om et gudelikt leverne (c.1457), compiled by the Vadstena abbess, Ingeborg Gerhardsotter, for King Christian I – and a popular Latin manual for confessors that included a specific interrogatory for temporal lords, the Defecerunt of St Antoninus of Florence (print 1499). What, according to these texts, were the particular spiritual dangers of holding power? And did the confessor examine the policies of the king? The Defecerunt provides didactic examples that demonstrate how princes sin in their exercise of central governmental concerns, such as jurisdic- tion, warfare, relations to the church, taxation and usurpation. Ideally, if administered in accordance with the advice in the Defecerunt and similar manuals, the sacrament of penance would not only benefit the spiritual wellbeing of the king, but also instill a set of constitutional standards. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund, 2012. 49-59 p.
National Category
Research subject
History; kyrkohistoria
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-84701OAI: diva2:581253
Available from: 2012-12-29 Created: 2012-12-29 Last updated: 2013-07-08Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Tjällén, Biörn
By organisation
Department of HistoryCentre for Medieval Studies
In the same journal
Kyrkohistorisk årsskrift

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 45 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link