François Louis Ganshof

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François Louis Ganshof (born March 14, 1895 in Bruges , † July 26, 1980 in Brussels ) was a Belgian historian .

François-Louis Ganshof studied in Ghent and succeeded Henri Pirenne at the University of Ghent , where he taught as a professor until his retirement in 1961. Among his students were Raoul Van Caenegem , Adriaan Verhulst and Jan Dhondt .

In his work, Ganshof dealt with the history of Flanders and Belgium. His work ranged in time from late antiquity to the early modern period. However, Ganshof paid particular attention to the early Middle Ages and in particular the Carolingian period . In the book La Belgique Carolingienne (1953) he described the situation in Belgium and its neighboring areas and at the same time gave an overall picture of the Carolingian constitution, administration, economy and society through its central location. The works on the ministerials in Flanders and Lorraine (1926), on the courts of the castellanias in Flanders (1932) and on Flanders under the first counts (1943) deal with the history of Flanders . His study Wat were de Capitularia? (1955) dealt with the relationship between royal power and popular law. In numerous works he tried to lighten up the older negative image of Ludwig the Pious . Ganshof's most famous work What is the feudal system? ( Qu'est-ce que la feodalite? ), Which appeared for the first time in French in 1944, summarized the state of research on feudalism up to the early 1990s on 183 pages in a small format . The presentation was translated into German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Japanese. It was not until Susan Reynolds in 1994 that a study of fiefdoms and vassals in Europe reinterpreted the manual knowledge of the feudal system.

Ganshof received numerous honors, honorary doctorates and memberships in many learned societies and academies. In 1946 he was awarded the Francqui Prize . Ganshof became a corresponding member of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica in 1954 and of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in 1962 . In 1959 he was accepted into the order Pour le mérite for sciences and arts . Since 1950 he has been a corresponding member of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin , and since 1969 an external member . In 1953 he was elected a corresponding member of the British Academy .


  • What is the feudal system? 7th, compared to the 6th unchanged German edition, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1989, ISBN 3-534-00927-4 .
  • What were the capitularies? Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1961.
  • La Belgique Carolingienne . La Renaissance du livre, Brussels 1958.
  • Étude sur les ministeriales en Flandre et en Lotharingie. Lambertin, Brussels 1926.


Web links


  1. Susan Reynolds: Fiefs and vassals. The medieval evidence reinterpreted. Oxford 1994.
  2. ^ Entry by François Louis Ganshof at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences
  3. ^ Deceased Fellows . British Academy, accessed May 30, 2020.