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Watts, John. The making of polities: Europe, 1300-1500

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Watts, John. The making of polities: Europe, 1300-1500.
There is no doubt that the medieval period was marred with a lot of conflicts. However,
cooperation and piece had to be reinstated through the use of different resolutions. In the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, European jurisdictions that were potentially poised for
clashes resolved their differences through two means; treaties and hegemony of power.
The first method of brokering peace between warring territories was the “negotiation
treaties, charters or other agreements between powers that essentially wished to exclude each
other, or at least determine their common boundaries” (282). The island of Sicily is an example
of a fourteenth century territory which used this approach in the 1302 Treaty of Caltabelotta.
One characteristic of formal treaties were the short spans in events that the signatories of such
treaties have more independence. Watts notes that the failure of this type of settlements was due
to the reluctance of the parties to commit. The parties are said to be “merely suspending the
pursuit of their rights which they intended to resume when the circumstances changed” (Watts
283).
Other than treaties, resolutions were made in the form of recognition of the “hegemony of
one power over another” in return for compromise (Watts 283). One flaw of this type of
settlement revolved around the fact that the parties tend to reshape the agreement as their status

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changes. It is usually threatened if the subordinates in the settlement are autonomous. This
approach to solution of potential conflict between jurisdictions only saw more ‘regnal polites’
acquire substantial hegemony by the turn on the sixteenth century.
Other than the Treaty of Caltabelotta, medieval territories and jurisdictions used treaties
such as the 1360 Treaty of Bretigny-Calais, the 1937 Union of Kalmar, and the 1374 statute of
Koszyce. These treaties form great examples of this resolution mode as they exhibited all the
differing characteristics of a treaty.
Treaty of Bretigny-Calais is perhaps the best example of how treaties can be used to solve
conflict between states. At the height of their majestic powers, England and France were greatly
dominant in the European religion, governance and finance. Their powers and influence created a
strong rivalry that was common for all great empires. King John II of France and King Edward
III of England were the parties responsible for the signing of the treaty on 25May 1360. With its
signing, the first phase of the Hundred’s Years War was ended. The genesis of the treaty,
however, can be traced to 1356 when France started to loosen its grip and influence over its
territories.
In the 1356 Battle of Pointers, the King John II of France was captured by the English.
The imprisonment of its King and the conflicts in Paris considerably weakened the hand of the
French influence in Europe. This situation forced their hand to enter resolution to end its war
with England. With the English harboring reservation about the ability of the French to honor the
treaty after their 1359 Treaty of London, the negotiations dragged on for longer than anticipated.

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