Those involved with the Project investigate themes including, but not limited to:

  • counsel as a political structure
  • institutional councils
  • prosopographical discussion of groups of counsellors/advisers
  • theories of counsel and consent (including their historical development)
  • advice literature in its political, religious or legal context

Left: The first page of Pierre Nicole’s De l’education d’un prince (1670), describing the difficulty as well as glory of princely status



  • differing theoretical, historiographical or methodological approaches to conceptualising counsel
  • the rhetoric or language of counsel
  • the opportunities and challenges presented by differing source material
  • the relevance or impact of gender on conciliar relationships
  • comparative approaches

Right: James VI warns his son to rule well so as to fulfil his duties to God (Basilikon Doron, 1603 edn) 


Left and below: Jean François Senault, Le monarque, ou, les devoirs du Sovverain (1664). Here Senault offers the ruler a ‘faithful and useful’ mirror revealing ‘the most secret thoughts of their hearts and the most hidden disorders of their souls’, a work which ‘provides cures’ for ‘sicknesses’.  Senault also remarks on the crucial distinction between ‘sovereigns who, abusing their power, have reigned as tyrants’ and ‘legitimate monarchs who subject themselves to justice’, although elsewhere in his book he states that ‘there is something supernatural about monarchy’.





All images reproduced by kind permission of St Andrews Special Collections.