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The NorthernersA Study in the Reign of King John$
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J. C. Holt

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203094

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203094.001.0001

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Inimici Nostri or the Army of God?

Inimici Nostri or the Army of God?

(p.8) II Inimici Nostri or the Army of God?
The Northerners

J. C. Holt

Oxford University Press

Contemporaries gave various titles to the men who rebelled against King John in 1215. Many were satisfied with the term barones or barones Angliae. But this was very loose and must have seemed inaccurate to those with detailed knowledge of events, for by no means all the great tenants-in-chief of the King were against him. Hence they sought greater precision, often referring to individual rebels, just as the government records of the period specified the rebels either by name or by such phrases as barones contra nos or inimici nostri. Another label was supplied by the rebels themselves, ‘the Army of God and Holy Church’. This lacked brevity, claimed too much, and failed to stick. But between the extremes of this portentous title and the more general term barones there stood a third title, ‘Northerner’, which quickly became the most popular nickname for the rebels. The term ‘Northerner’ had a history of its own that reflected the history of the rebellion itself. Despite the fact that it almost always appears in narrative sources written after the event, its changing sense can be followed closely.

Keywords:   Magna Carta, King John, rebellion, Northerner, barones, inimici nostri

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