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Jenny Benham

The French historian Jacques Le Gof saw in the description of a ritual that is frequently found in peacemaking between rulers three distinct elements; homage, oath of fealty (faith) and investiture. Just as in the case of the king of Scots's homage to John of Salisbury in 1200, the oath of fealty stood at the heart of the ceremony in 1169, but the actual gestures were those of a suppliant. It is possible that the gestures described by John of Salisbury should be labelled as gestures for returning to homage and so should be separated from the more traditional act of homage. There are some examples of the varying interpretations of the use of homage in negotiations for peace, and some of these initially correspond more closely to the model of commendation proposed by Le Gof and others.

in Peacemaking in the Middle Ages
Jenny Benham

Often the issue of hostages has been used by contemporary commentators and modern historians alike as a yardstick by which to measure the success or failure of individual kings. A number of historians have highlighted the important socio-cultural, symbolic and political uses of hostages in the early medieval period, but few historians have to date devoted more than a passing reference to the role of hostages in the period after 1100. In the post-1100 period, the most common use of hostages in negotiations was those given to secure the release of adversaries captured in war. Unlike a hostage, those acting as sureties were deprived of their liberty only if there was a breach of the agreement. A good example of the use of real sureties in peacemaking can be found in the Treaty of Messina concluded between Richard I of England and Philip Augustus of France in 1191.

in Peacemaking in the Middle Ages
Defining the boundaries of Carolingian Christianity
Matthew Innes

In 763-4, a renewed version of the oldest Frankish law-code, Lex Salica, was issued in the name of the first Carolingian king, Pippin. Claims about Frankish 'invincibility' like those voiced in 763-4 articulated the forging of new aristocratic coalitions around the new ruler: this much is well known. But what of the identification of Frankish rule with Christian orthodoxy, and the denigration and denial of the Christian credentials of the Franks' opponents, claims which constitute a secondary but all too easily overlooked theme of the royal ideology of the Lex Salica revision? This chapter argues that such claims were rooted in the debates staged at the Church councils of the 740s, and the development of a programme of religious 'correction'. Looking at the uses of the rhetoric of heresy in Pippin's reign inevitably involves focusing on the career of Boniface.

in Frankland
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Simha Goldin

Medieval Jewish society saw itself as being under siege in a struggle for survival within a Christian population that abounded with threats and temptations, both economic and intellectual. In sources written by the Jews in the first generation following the attack on the Jewish communities in the year 1096, emphasis was laid on the Jewish woman's readiness to lead religious resistance to the death, together with her unswerving devotion to Jewish values. The change in the status of the woman manifested itself in at least three significant ways; in her economic-legal status, in her status within the family and in her social standing. Starting in the twelfth century, a woman stepping down from her bridal canopy was a woman of a new and different status. The women also succeeded in bypassing an almost impossible obstacle in regard to study and education.

in Jewish women in europe in the middle ages
Rachel Stone

The close parallels between Janet Nelson's biography of Charles the Bald and Richard Abels' biography of Alfred the Great are clear. Both books raise issues as to the extent to which early medieval biography is possible. Yet one noteworthy distinction between the books centres on their treatment of lordship. This chapter makes some comparisons between lordship in Francia and England, focusing less on the institution itself than on contemporary depictions of the relationship, in particular in literary sources, and the moral norms associated with it. Although there have been many discussions of the practice of 'Herrschaft' in the Carolingian world, especially in regional studies, analysis of the ethos of the lord-man relationship has largely relied on 'Germanic' texts. Lordship in Anglo-Saxon England has attracted far more scholarly attention, with the 'dear lord' widely seen as a key theme in Old English literature.

in Frankland
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Deborah Youngs

The first years of life were arguably the most dramatic of the medieval life cycle. Infancy, the first stage, was said to last until two or four, but most commonly seven; it was followed by a later stage of childhood lasting until the early teens. Qualities said to distinguish childhood, and more specifically infancy, from other age groups are a contradictory mix of incapacity, evil, naivety, innocence and hope. A wide range of literary and visual sources supported the view of the hapless infant. Among the noble and gentry families of Europe it was common for the infant to be given to a nurse in the same way as all the routine tasks of the household were performed by hired servants. The practice of wet-nursing has received a fair amount of modern criticism for militating against close child-parent relations.

in The life–cycle in Western Europe, c.1300-c.1500
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Simha Goldin

The Jewish community was fundamentally a male society, patriarchal in nature, where every facet of life manifested male superiority and control. Nevertheless, the women of this community played an important and often central role in every group and social system. The change in the status of women may be viewed as the result of an overall social change in a Jewish society that was struggling for survival. From the tenth century and until their expulsion towards the end of the medieval period, the Jews of Europe lived mainly in communal settings in Christian towns. Throughout the eleventh century, the Jews were the only people living in northern Europe who did not accept Christianity. Christianity could not remain indifferent to Judaism and the Christians could not ignore the Jews dwelling in their midst. Both groups competed for the title of 'heir to the true religion'.

in Jewish women in europe in the middle ages
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Phillipp R. Schofield

This introduction presents some of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book is an examination of the themes and approaches employed by historians in their discussions of the medieval English peasant, and most particularly in the period from the end of the eleventh to the beginning of the sixteenth century. It offers an overview and assessment of the development of work on medieval peasants since the close of the nineteenth century. Much of the early twentieth-century discussion of the medieval economy was located within and was explained by institutional structures. The book presents a sketch of the key historiographical phases in this area of research and writing. This sketch is also supported by a discussion of a range of possible causes of changes and developments in writing on the medieval English peasantry. The book considers historical reflection upon the term 'peasant' and its appropriateness.

in Peasants and historians
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G. L. Harriss

When Simon Walker began researching the retinue of John of Gaunt in 1980, 'bastard feudalism' had been the subject of debate for thirty-five years. He examines Yorkshire under Richard II and Henry IV, looking at the role of the four elements in the commissions: magnates, assize judges, justices of the quorum (local legal practitioners) and local gentry. Two principal conclusions emerged about political culture below the level of the literate political class: first, its ambivalence revealed a measure of sophistication and subtlety; and secondly, it broadly connected with the issues of high politics. Walker used case studies to build up a picture of collective mentalities among different social grades and vocational worlds. It was a challenging approach, for it meant working against the grain of the central sources, displaying sensitivity to other incidental evidence, and using conjecture and imagination with the utmost discipline.

in Political culture in later medieval England
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Pauline Stafford, Janet L. Nelson, and Jane Martindale

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book is dedicated to Susan Reynolds and celebrates the work of a scholar whose views have been central to recent reappraisals of the position of the laity in the Middle Ages. It is arranged chronologically but is bound together by a series of themes and concerns. Those themes and concerns are hers: a medieval world in which the activity and attitudes of the laity are not obscured by ideas expressed more systematically in theoretical treatises by ecclesiastics; a world in which lay collective action and thought take centre stage. Susan Reynolds has written her own Middle Ages, especially in her innovative book Kingdoms and Communities. It is a world of overlapping communities or, as she would prefer it of 'collectivities' and 'solidarities'.

in Law, laity and solidarities