During the late middle ages, public and private aspects of political life were interrelated; the boundaries between these two spheres were vague, and ill-defined. However, notwithstanding this interrelatedness, contemporaries did make a distinction between the public and the private. For example, inhabitants of the duchy of Guelders considered their duchy as a political community with a public nature: Guelders was an independent unit, relatively autonomous from the rest of society. Aspects that were part of this public sphere were, among others, the office of the prince, the office of local functionaries, the ducal council, the mint, and revenues from tolls, levies, and taxes. The dynamic relations between private interests, functions, and values, and the nascent public domain form the background to the party strife raging in Guelders during the second half of the fourteenth century. Not only were the private interests of aristocrats and their families and supporters at stake in this party strife, but also the political community of Guelders itself. The growth of a public sphere on the one hand, and the interrelatedness of the public and the private on the other, fuelled party strife: private conflicts could become public, and, conversely, public problems could easily become private ones.

Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Noordzij, A. (2010). Between public and private: Party struggle in fourteenth-century Guelders [Tussen publiek en privaat: Partijstrijd in Gelre in de veertiende eeuw]. Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 123(2), 227–239. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/20137