This is the first of a two-volume textbook that is aimed at first-year undergraduates as they begin their study of medieval history. It covers the period from the so-called ‘fall of Rome’ in the course of the fifth century through to the ‘Norman moment’ in the course of the eleventh. The textbook covers the broad geographical area defined by the former Western Roman Empire in an even-handed fashion, giving equal attention to Iberia and to Sicily as to England and to Francia. Each chapter deals with a given region within a defined chronological framework, but is structured thematically, and deliberately avoids a narrative presentation. The topics of governmentality, identity and religiosity serve as broad overarching categories with which to structure each chapter. The authors outline the scholarly debates within each field, explaining to a student audience what is at stake in those debates, and how different bodies of evidence and different interpretations of that evidence give rise to different perspectives upon early medieval European history. Medieval history can seem to the student as if it were an impenetrable thicket of agreed fact that just has to be learned: nothing could be further from the truth, and this textbook sets out to open the way to an engaged understanding of the period and its sources.
The societies of ancient Europe underwent a continual process of militarisation, and this would come to be a defining characteristic of the early Middle Ages. The process was neither linear nor mono-causal, but it affected society as a whole, encompassing features like the lack of demarcation between the military and civil spheres of the population, the significance attributed to weapons beyond their military function and the wide recognition of martial values. This volume assembles twenty chapters that use both written and archaeological evidence to explore the phenomenon of militarisation and its impact on the development of the societies of early medieval Europe. The interdisciplinary investigations break new ground and will be essential reading for scholars and students of related fields, as well as non-specialists with an interest in early medieval history.
imbalances will inevitably arise in a textbook that aims to introduce you to the contours of scholarly debate, although we have sought to direct your attention explicitly towards those imbalances. There is also a much more significant force at work, and that is the impact of institutional – and so documentary – continuity. The tendency in older scholarship to present Frankish history as the totality of earlymedievalhistory – that is, to write the history of medieval Europe using exclusively Frankish sources, or even sources from just one small region of France – is not
. But it is as important to acknowledge how very little we do know, and
how ready we must be not to set aside evidence that does not easily fit into
our inadequate attempts to reconstruct events. The difficulties that Durham,
A II 16 presents because of its incomplete state, its diversity of scripts and its
unique system of lections remind us quite how much we have lost, and quite
how difficult trying to create any satisfactory account of much earlymedievalhistory is always going to be. As such, an account of an unresolved problem
and a new edition of a text few
Lombards and warfare between representation and reality
: Istituto storico italiano per il medioevo, 1933), n. 230, pp. 285–6.
C. Wickham, ‘Aristocratic power in eight-century Lombard Italy’, in A. C. Murray (ed.), After Rome's fall. Narrators and sources of earlymedievalhistory. Essays presented to Walter Goffart (University of Toronto Press: Toronto 1998), pp. 153–70.
, Peoples, and Nations in the Historiography of the Age of Migrations’, in A. C. Murray (ed.), After Rome’s Fall. Narrators and Sources of EarlyMedievalHistory (Toronto, 1998), pp. 17–36.
7 S. Reynolds, Fiefs and Vassals. The Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted (Oxford, 1994). Chapter 4 (‘Gaul and the Kingdom of the Franks’) deals with the material discussed here.
8 Liber Historiae Francorum , ed. B. Krusch, Monumenta Germaniae Historica , Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum II (Hanover, 1888), pp. 241–328, chs 43–53, trans. with commentary P. Fouracre and R
democracy’. 7 Unsurprisingly, therefore, Jefferson was also
an ardent proponent of teaching earlymedievalhistory, law and
Anglo-Saxon at the newly emerging universities of North America. 8
Underlying such views of the early medieval – specifically Anglo-Saxon –
origin of American institutions was the ‘germ theory’, proposed in the
1880s by the historian Herbert Baxter Adams, under whom both Woodrow
's syndrome in
utero should complicate our moral assessment of the Spartan ‘leskhe,’ a council of elders, who had the power to inspect infant boys and remand those deemed defective to the ‘apthetai,’ [or pit].
In the process of nuancing earlymedievalhistories of childhood, childcare, and attachment, Ryan destabilizes ‘abandonment’ – a word brought into English during
Luxeuil, which according to his account was a deserted site
29 Columbanus, Ep. 4, ed. Walker, in Sancti Columbani Opera, pp. 26–37; Columbanus,
Epp. 1, 6, ed. Walker, in Sancti Columbani Opera, pp. 8–9.
30 I. Wood, ‘Jonas, the Merovingians, and Pope Honorius: diplomata and the Vita
Columbani’, in A. Murray (ed.), After Rome’s Fall. Narrators and Sources of EarlyMedievalHistory (Toronto, 1998), 99–120, pp. 110–11; T. Charles-Edwards, Early
Christian Ireland (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 367–8.
31 Wood, ‘The Vita Columbani and Merovingian hagiography’, pp. 76–8; Wood