Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Courtney Luckhardt

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Bradley Phillis

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Westley Follett

Committee Member 3 School



Legal codes, literature, history, and violence were necessary aspects of royal power that in conjunction with resources gained from familial inheritance and a fortunate marriage allowed King Henry II to build, govern, and legitimize his rule over the Angevin Empire, as well as attempt to create an Angevin dynasty. Examining these subjects advances ideas about medieval royal culture and its relation to political power and legal power in the twelfth century Angevin Empire.

Historiography has long examined this period as the histories of great men, but recent trends have examined the interplay of power, politics, and gender during the Middle Ages. Defining royal power requires looking at the culture that created it, as well as how the English Crown as an institution utilized royal power within this culture. Henry II and his court utilized a number of methods by which to accumulate and execute royal power. While Henry was an active agent in the creation of the Angevin Empire, he owes a portion of his success to familial bonds of marriage and inheritance, as they were what gave him the ability to claim the crown.