Adel in meervoud. Methodologische beschouwingen over comparatief adelsonderzoek in de Bourgondische Nederlanden
Plural Nobility. Some Methodological Remarks on Comparative Research of the Nobility in the Burgundian Low Countries
When applying the prosopographical method to the late medieval nobility of the Low Countries, several methodological problems come to the fore. Late medieval sources usually do not label individuals as noble, thus complicating efforts to define a clear-cut population. Therefore, researchers usually combine different criteria to reconstruct the nobility. When comparing nobilities in different principalities of the Low Countries, as is our aim, this approach will inevitably result in serious distortions.
Therefore, in this article we propose to create four different populations, each based on a single, uniform and sourcebased criterium: knightly title, possession of a seigniory, possession of a castle and participation in the Estates. This will enable us to make well-founded comparisons of the nobility in different principalities and in different times, thereby providing a solid base for more general conclusions to be drawn about the dynamics of the nobility in the late medieval Low Countries.
This article is part of the special issue 'The history of the nobility in the Netherlands and Belgium'.
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