Skip to content
Open global navigation

Cambridge University Press

AcademicLocation selectorSearch toggleMain navigation toggle
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Languages of Gift in the Early Middle Ages


Janet L. Nelson, David Ganz, Leslie Brubaker, Paul Fouracre, Ian N. Wood, Ann Christys, Rosemary Morris, Chris Wickham, Wendy Davies
View all contributors
  • Date Published: October 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521515177


Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This pioneering volume illuminates the practice of giving, endowing and exchanging gifts in the early Middle Ages, from Anglo-Saxon England to the Islamic world. Focusing especially on the language associated with medieval gift giving, this important new work examines how people visualized and thought about gift giving and, importantly, how they distinguished between the giving of gifts and other social, economic, political and religious exchanges. The authors demonstrate that gift giving was already complex, distinctive and sometimes contentious before the twelfth century and operated within a broad international context. They draw from the sources a deeper understanding of the early Middle Ages by looking at real cases and real people: peasants, the elderly and women, as well as elites. The culture of medieval gift has often been treated as archaic and exotic; this book, by contrast, reveals people going about their lives as individuals in down-to-earth and sometimes familiar ways.

    • Contributions from acknowledged experts in the field, covering a range of countries with a wide range of source materials for an international overview of the culture of gift
    • Substantial glossary of all technical and medieval terms used, to assist those unfamiliar with the subject matter
    • Introductions and conclusions draw together the common themes within the book, providing an in-depth understanding of the fundamental aspects of early medieval culture
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "...solid and wideranging." -Felice Lifshitz, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521515177
    • length: 322 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus. 5 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of contributors
    1. Introduction Janet L. Nelson
    2. Giving to God in the mass: the experience of the Offertory David Ganz
    3. Gifts and prayers: the visualization of gift-giving in Byzantium and the mosaics at Hagia Sophia Leslie Brubaker
    4. The use of the term 'beneficium' in Frankish sources: a society based on favours? Paul Fouracre
    5. The gifts of Wearmouth and Jarrow Ian N. Wood
    6. The settings of the gift in the reign of Charlemagne Janet L. Nelson
    7. The queen of the Franks offers gifts to the caliph al-Muktafi' Ann Christys
    8. Reciprocal gifts on Mount Athos in the tenth and eleventh centuries Rosemary Morris
    9. Compulsory gift-exchange in Lombard Italy, 650–1150 Chris Wickham
    10. When gift is sale: reciprocities and commodities in tenth-century Christian Iberia Wendy Davies
    11. Conclusion Chris Wickham

  • Editors

    Wendy Davies, University College London

    Paul Fouracre, University of Manchester


    Janet L. Nelson, David Ganz, Leslie Brubaker, Paul Fouracre, Ian N. Wood, Ann Christys, Rosemary Morris, Chris Wickham, Wendy Davies

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website, your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

© Cambridge University Press 2014

Back to top

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel Delete

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.