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La structure familiale des Craon du XIè siècle à 1415 : le concept lignager en question

Abstract : On October 25th 1415, the last direct descendents of the Craon lineage, founded in the 11th Century by Robert of Burgundy, died on the battlefield. A great part of their renown and fortune had been acquired through their feats of arms. Hence the chronologically-based approach of our work: from the genesis of this lineage, we probe into the way they lived and evolved, until they vanished in Agincourt. The study of the Craon family leads us to consider the concept of lineage. The term itself seems impossible to handle without bringing out various shades of its meaning. Lineage is a complex, multifaceted parental structure, and our work intends to mirror these intricacies and evolving features. Indeed, the lineage in the 12th Century is very different from that of the previous centuries. Although it seems essential to use a term common to all History researchers, we believe the word “lineage” needs to be qualified: a great part of its meaning has been sucked out from the lexeme itself by an abusive usage, so much so that we are now faced with a semantic issue: can we consistently oppose these two parental structures – caroligian pattern and lineage? The corpus of documents relevant to the Craons seems to be pointing to lineage, which places us in a puzzling situation. The aim of our work is thus to raise questions about lineage, relying on incomplete documentation. But we should bear in mind that the term lineage allows only an oversimplified approach to kinship, which does not take into account other forms of patterns coexisting at the same moment: indeed, a system of undifferenciated filiation is superimposing itself over a patrilinear structure of the transmission of wealth. The Craons’ funerary monument, in the chapel of the Cordeliers in Angers, and built by Maurice V of Craon at the end of the 13th Century, is an essential document: it reveals a conception of the family which takes into consideration filiation as much as alliances, therefore blurring the outlines of the notion of lineage. However, this representation can stand side by side with others, fulfilling other needs and conveying other messages: lineage does not annihilate other forms of kinship. Henceforth, our work leads us to put into question the traditional patterns and to view kinship as an intricacy of systems with various levels of functioning, and following the constraining and yet unabiding canonic norms of the time.
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Fabrice Lachaud. La structure familiale des Craon du XIè siècle à 1415 : le concept lignager en question. Histoire. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012BOR30003⟩. ⟨tel-00724925⟩

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