Maurice Keen

Last updated
Maurice Keen
BornMaurice Hugh Keen
(1933-10-30)30 October 1933
London, United Kingdom
Died11 September 2012(2012-09-11) (aged 78) [1]
Occupation Historian
Nationality British
Subject Middle Ages
Medieval warfare

Maurice Hugh Keen OBE FBA FRHistS FSA (30 October 1933 – 11 September 2012) was a British historian specializing in the Middle Ages. His father had been the Oxford University head of finance ('Keeper of the University Chest') and a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and after schooling at Winchester College, Maurice became an undergraduate there in 1954. He was a contemporary and lifelong friend of Tom Bingham, later the Senior Law Lord, as well as of the military historian, Sir John Keegan, whose sister Mary he married.


Keen's first success came with the writing of The Outlaws of Medieval Legend while still a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen's College, Oxford, 1957–1961. He was elected a tutorial Fellow of Balliol in 1961, retaining his fellowship until his retirement in 2000, when he was elected a Fellow Emeritus. He also served as Junior Dean (1963–68), Tutor for Admissions (1974–1978), and Vice-Master (1980–83).

In 1984, Keen won the Wolfson History Prize for his book Chivalry. The book redefined in several ways the concept of chivalry, underlining the military aspect of it. [2]

Keen was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

He appears in the 1989 fictional novel The Negotiator by Frederick Forsyth.

He was an enthusiastic governor of Blundell's School in Tiverton for many years, the school being linked to Balliol by a scholarship and fellowship foundation gift.

Selected works

See also

Related Research Articles

Chivalry Traditional ideology and code of conduct of knights

Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal and varying code of conduct developed between 1170 and 1220. It was associated with the medieval Christian institution of knighthood; knights' and gentlemen's behaviours were governed by chivalrous social codes. The ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature, particularly the literary cycles known as the Matter of France, relating to the legendary companions of Charlemagne and his men-at-arms, the paladins, and the Matter of Britain, informed by Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written in the 1130s, which popularized the legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. All of these were taken as historically accurate until the beginnings of modern scholarship in the 19th century.

Balliol College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. One of Oxford's oldest colleges, it was founded around 1263 by John I de Balliol, a landowner from Barnard Castle in County Durham, who provided the foundation and endowment for the college. When de Balliol died in 1268, his widow, Dervorguilla, a woman whose wealth far exceeded that of her husband, continued his work in setting up the college, providing a further endowment and writing the statutes. She is considered a co‑founder of the college.

Sir Anthony John Patrick Kenny is a British philosopher whose interests lie in the philosophy of mind, ancient and scholastic philosophy, the philosophy of Wittgenstein and the philosophy of religion. With Peter Geach, he has made a significant contribution to analytical Thomism, a movement whose aim is to present the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas in the style of analytic philosophy. He is one of the executors of Wittgenstein's literary estate. He is a former president of the British Academy and the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Sir Stuart Newton Hampshire was an English philosopher, literary critic and university administrator. He was one of the antirationalist Oxford thinkers who gave a new direction to moral and political thought in the post-World War II era.

George Arthur Holmes FBA was Chichele Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, 1989-94.

W. P. Ker

William Paton Ker, FBA, was a Scottish literary scholar and essayist.

Sir Frederick Maurice Powicke (1879–1963) was an English medieval historian. He was a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, a professor at Belfast and Manchester, and from 1928 until his retirement Regius Professor at Oxford. He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1946.

Hugh Nigel Kennedy is a British medieval historian and academic. He specialises in the history of the early Islamic Middle East, Muslim Iberia and the Crusades. From 1997 to 2007, he was Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of St Andrews. Since 2007, he has been Professor of Arabic at SOAS, University of London.

Ralph Henry Carless Davis was a British historian and educator specialising in the European Middle Ages. Davis was born and died in Oxford. He was a leading exponent of strict documentary analysis and interpretation, was keenly interested in architecture and art in history, and was successful at communicating to the public and as a teacher.

Jasper Griffin was a British classicist and academic. He was Public Orator and Professor of Classical Literature in the University of Oxford from 1992 until 2004.

Henry William Carless Davis was a British historian, editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, and Oxford Regius Professor of Modern History.

Vivian Hunter Galbraith was an English historian, fellow of the British Academy and Oxford Regius Professor of Modern History.

Jean V de Bueil

Jean V de Bueil, called le Fléau des Anglais "plague of the English", count of Sancerre, viscount of Carentan, lord of Montrésor, Château-en-Anjou, Saint-Calais, Vaujours, Ussé and Vailly, son of Jean IV de Bueil and Marguerite Dauphine of Auvergne. He is the author of Le Jouvencel (c. 1466), a semi-autobiographical roman a clef based on his experiences during the latter part of the Hundred Years War.

Charles Patrick Wormald was a British historian born in Neston, Cheshire, son of historian Brian Wormald.

R. A. B. Mynors British classical scholar (1903–1989)

Sir Roger Aubrey Baskerville Mynors was an English classicist and medievalist who held the senior chairs of Latin at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. A textual critic, he was an expert in the study of manuscripts and their role in the reconstruction of classical texts.

Gerald Edward Aylmer, was an English historian of 17th century England.

David Bruce Crouch, is a Welsh historian and academic. From 2000 until his retirement in 2018 he was Professor of Medieval History at the University of Hull.

Jonathan James Graham Alexander, known in print as J. J. G. Alexander, is a medievalist and expert on manuscripts, "one of the most profound and wide-ranging of all historians of illuminated manuscripts".

Christopher Tyerman is an academic historian focusing on the Crusades. In 2015, he was appointed Professor of History of the Crusades at the University of Oxford.

Paul BinskiFSA FBA is a British art historian and Emeritus Professor of the History of Medieval Art at the University of Cambridge.


  1. "Maurice Hugh KEEN Obituary: View Maurice KEEN's Obituary by The Times". Archived from the original on 2020-04-06. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  2. Paul Vitello: "Maurice H. Keen Dies at 78; Redefined Chivalry" The New York Times, September 25, 2012