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Spirituality and social change

The attempt to both define and understand reform in the later tenth and eleventh centuries is the chief ambition of this book. The book explores ecclesiastical reform as a religious idea and a movement against the backdrop of social and religious change in later tenth- and eleventh-century Europe. In so doing, it seeks, on the one hand, to place the relationship between reform and the papacy in the context of the debate about 'transformation' in its many and varied forms. At the same time, although recognizing that the reform movement had its origins as much in individuals and events far away from Rome and royal courts, it has looked to act as something of a corrective to the recent tendency among historians of emphasizing reform developments in other localities at the expense of those being undertaken in Rome. The book addresses 'the religious revolution of the eleventh century' by exploring how reform and the papacy developed in the eleventh century, and how these changes affected the rules by which medieval society functioned. Particular attention is paid to the question of whether the 'peace of God' movement was a social revolution that progressively blurred into and merged with the papal-sponsored movement for reform, which was gathering pace from the middle of the century, or whether these forces were deliberately compacted by the reformers in their efforts to promote their vision for Christian society.

Deborah Youngs

T HE modern view of the Middle Ages is that life was brutal and short. Later medieval society would probably agree. People’s lives were short compared with the eternity that awaited them in the afterlife. They were short too in comparison to those of the Old Testament Patriarchs, who had lived to ripe old ages: Abraham had achieved 170 years, while the infamous Methuselah

in The life–cycle in Western Europe, c.1300-c.1500
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Nicholas Perkins

Patrick J. Geary, ‘Exchange and interaction between the living and the dead in early medieval society’, in his Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994), pp. 77–92. On economic ideas in religious texts, see e.g. James Simpson, ‘Spirituality and economics in passus 1–7 of the B text’, Yearbook of Langland Studies 1 (1987), 83–103; D. Vance Smith, Arts of Possession: The Middle English Household Imaginary (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), ch. 4

in The gift of narrative in medieval England
Deborah Youngs

theory, medieval society at large acknowledged the existence of young people who were going through a period of formation and transformation before full adulthood. This might be because they were still pursuing education and employment training, had not yet received their inheritance, or had not yet married and taken responsibility for their own lives and those of others. 3 For women, this stage of life

in The life–cycle in Western Europe, c.1300-c.1500
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Deborah Youngs

girl’s need for instruction and referring to behaviour considered typical of her years: tending flowers, dancing and singing. As in the twenty-first century, age in medieval society appears partly determined by calendar years, partly by social and biological development. However, aspects of this correspondence are not so acceptable to the modern mind: the ménagier was a middle-aged husband writing to

in The life–cycle in Western Europe, c.1300-c.1500
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Kathleen G. Cushing

Historians have long recognized that it is unwise to try to find a secular definition of European society for the period we know as the ‘middle ages’. As Richard Southern pointed out, ‘the identification of the Church with the whole of organized society is the fundamental feature which distinguishes the Middle Ages from earlier and later periods of history’. 1 While it is useful, often even necessary, to consider them separately, the medieval Church and medieval society were intertwined, and membership of the Church was crucial in determining an individual

in Reform and papacy in the eleventh century
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Deborah Youngs

weakness and loss of control – but with no hope of improvement. In 1390 the lord of Eksaarde (Ghent) was declared too incompetent to manage his estate because ‘he was so aged that he was a child and had no control of his senses’. 12 Later medieval society may have accepted a greater degree of hardship than does the modern Western world, but its literature does not show people happily resigned to the ageing

in The life–cycle in Western Europe, c.1300-c.1500
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John H. Arnold and Peter Biller

in episcopal visitation. Our focus thus mainly falls upon those heretics often called ‘Cathars’ and – to a lesser extent – those called ‘Waldensians’, two groups that demonstrably held some wider appeal in medieval society. 3 The existence and availability of other sets of translations have also guided us over what to include. Thus we have mostly left the Albigensian crusade alone, 4 and have been particularly conscious of providing an alternative and complement to the wealth of material edited by Wakefield and

in Heresy and inquisition in France, 1200-1300
Michelle M. Sauer

those vocations within medieval society. Members of monastic orders could move about with permission on prescribed activities, while anchorites took vows of ‘stude steaðeluestnesse’, meaning ‘stability of abode’. Hermits, however, had relative freedom of movement. It is my contention that because of the importance of mobility to the hermit, the image of the road on both a literal and a spiritual level becomes central to the vocation, culminating in the relative proliferation of so-called ‘road hermits’ throughout the fourteenth century and into the fifteenth. This

in Roadworks
Fairytale, fable and myth in the Demy-monde
Darren Waldron

is fixed in time and place, and constitutes a detailed depiction of the corruption and immorality of the medieval society in which it is set. Research was undertaken into the socio-historical contexts of medieval times (Siclier, 1976) and these are portrayed in the situations and events that supplement the main narrative. The Pied Piper is brutal; the magical expected of a Demy film is minimised, embodied mainly by the peripheral musicians and the Piper, played by folk star Donovan, whose arrival in and departure from Hamelin open and close the film. It is a

in Jacques Demy