Light and power
The ‘Carolingian moment’
in Eternal light and earthly concerns
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It is shown here how the Carolingian rulers of Francia legislated to make every community contribute to the cost of the lights. It begins with Charlemagne’s conquest of northern Italy and his appropriation of oil supplies from the region. This shows how providing for the lights was associated with power, and the chapter traces this out in the evidence of laws and church councils. Since there was a determined effort to spread the costs of lighting throughout society, it becomes possible to see a response at community level. It is seen that categories of people became tributaries to the church with a hereditary obligation to provide for the lights.

Eternal light and earthly concerns

Belief and the shaping of medieval society


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