Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation argues that the mentality of honor, deriving from ancient Germanic and perhaps Roman culture and the major component of the knightly medieval ethos, played an important role in the formation of modern bureaucracy. The dissertation makes this argument by offering a case study of Samuel Pepys, a civil servant in the naval administration of later Stuart England (the reigns of Charles II and James II). The argument begins with a Prologue that describes honor's most important social component, lordship, and discusses the ways in which current scholarship on the transition from early modern to fully modern times strongly implies that the old ethos of honor should have been displaced by new developments. An Introduction then addresses theoretical and methodological issues, including the rationale for this dissertation's heavily narrative approach. The body of the dissertation subsequently offers five chapters demonstrating that honor in a form recognizably descended from medieval practice operated as a regular stimulus to the development and implementation of what Weber regarded as key elements in the rationalization of modern bureaucracy, including systematic record-keeping, promotion by merit, and orderly, codified procedure. Various appendices supplement the main argument.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Derek Hirst

Committee Members

Peter Kastor, Daniel Bornstein, Alexandre Dube, Steven Zwicker,


Permanent URL: 2020-07-27

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