Peasant Anger and Violence in the Writings of Orderic Vitalis

Kate McGrath


This paper examines the representation of peasant anger in the writings of Orderic Vitalis. In his texts, Orderic often associates peasant anger with divine vengeance and just violence. Peasants are propelled to act because there are no other agents to help restore order; faced with the unrestrained violence of bad lords, Orderic describes peasants using their anger to ensure justice. Moreover, the low status of peasants ensures an appropriately ignoble death for such lords. Understanding the customary norms around peasant anger reflected in Orderic's work, then, is an important part of understanding medieval models of honourable violence. 


anger; violence; emotions; Orderic Vitalis; peasants; divine vengeance

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