Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Nov 30, 2006 - History - 1024 pages
The Roman empire tends to be seen as a whole whereas the early middle ages tends to be seen as a collection of regional histories, roughly corresponding to the land-areas of modern nation states. As a result, early medieval history is much more fragmented, and there have been few convincing syntheses of socio-economic change in the post-Roman world since the 1930s. In recent decades, the rise of early medieval archaeology has also transformed our source-base, but this has not been adequately integrated into analyses of documentary history in almost any country. In Framing the Early Middle Ages Chris Wickham combines documentary and archaeological evidence to create a comparative history of the period 400-800. His analysis embraces each of the regions of the late Roman and immediately post-Roman world, from Denmark to Egypt. The book concentrates on classic socio-economic themes, state finance, the wealth and identity of the aristocracy, estate management, peasant society, rural settlement, cities, and exchange. These give only a partial picture of the period, but they frame and explain other developments. Earlier syntheses have taken the development of a single region as 'typical', with divergent developments presented as exceptions. This book takes all different developments as typical, and aims to construct a synthesis based on a better understanding of difference and the reasons for it.
 

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User Review  - cemanuel - LibraryThing

This is a tremendous piece of scholarship. I won't even try to summarize the content - in a work of over 800 pages of text, this is impossible. Wickham takes the geographic regions which were part of ... Read full review

Contents

1Introduction
15
PART IStates
37
2Geography and politics
38
3The form of the state
98
PART IIAristocratic powerstructures
233
4Aristocracies
234
4 The eastern Mediterranean
201
regional aristocracies in the postRoman world
233
10Cities
59
5 Urban economies in the western Mediterranean
124
6 Northern Francia and the eighth century
34
11Systems of exchange
61
Egypt
157
Syria and Palestine
172
the Byzantine heartland
187
northern GaulFrancia
207

5Managing the land
29
6Political breakdown and statebuilding in the North
91
PART IIIPeasantries
202
case studies
204
8Rural settlement and village societies
130
9Peasant society and its problems
182
PART IVNetworks
58
England and its neighbours
224
11 Conclusions
243
12General conclusions
253
Bibliography
264
General index
2033
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About the author (2006)

Chris Wickham received his DPhil from Oxford in 1975. He was Professor of Early Medieval History at the University of Birmingham until his appointment as Chichele Professor of Early Medieval History at the University of Oxford in 2005. He has been editor of Past and Present since 1995.

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