Province and Empire: Brittany and the Carolingians

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 2, 2006 - History - 260 pages
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This book offers ideas about the processes of political and cultural change in the early Middle Ages. The main focus is on relations between the centre and periphery of the Carolingian empire, in particular on the development of Brittany as a territorial principality in the ninth and tenth centuries. A major theme is the interaction of Carolingian imperial policies, Frankish aristocratic feuding, and local Breton communities. Other issues discussed include economy and society in Brittany and Neustria, the impact of Carolingian imperialism on local Breton communities, changes in the political, ecclesiastical and social structures arising from Carolingian overlordship of Brittany, the interaction of Celtic and Carolingian culture, and the construction of an early medieval ethnic identity. The book shows how regional autonomy and self-regulating villages were as integral to the Carolingian world as court politics, cultural imperialism and frontier strife, and it argues that, in order to understand both the establishment and the collapse of the Carolingian empire, politics at the periphery demand as much attention as politics at the centre.

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About the author (2006)

Julia M. H. Smith is Reader in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews. She has published extensively on early medieval history and her books include Province and Empire: Brittany and the Carolingians (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and EARLY Medieval Rome and the Christian West (editor, 2000).

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