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Reframing the Feudal Revolution
Political and Social Transformation between Marne and Moselle, c.800–c.1100

$119.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Date Published: June 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107028869

$ 119.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The profound changes that took place between 800 and 1100 in the transition from Carolingian to post-Carolingian Europe have long been the subject of vigorous historical controversy. Looking beyond the notion of a 'Feudal Revolution', this book reveals that a radical shift in the patterns of social organisation did occur in this period, but as a continuation of processes unleashed by Carolingian reform, rather than Carolingian political failure. Focusing on the Frankish lands between the rivers Marne and Moselle, Charles West explores the full range of available evidence, including letters, chronicles, estate documents, archaeological excavations and liturgical treatises, to track documentary and social change. He shows how Carolingian reforms worked to formalise interaction across the entire social spectrum, and that the new political and social formations apparent from the later eleventh century should be seen as long-term consequence of this process.

    • Offers a summary and critique of the current state of the 'Feudal Revolution' debate in medieval Western history
    • Synthesises a wide range of documentary and material sources for an interdisciplinary approach to the topic
    • Engages with French and German historiographical traditions, bringing key foreign language debates into the reach of Anglophone readers
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The case is made for specialists, but the depth and subtlety of its analysis give it much wider relevance. West's argument … is scrupulously conducted … it bears forcefully on many central issues, including the nature of feudalism and the dynamics of papal reform. Its reconciliation of the tension between continuity and change which is at the centre of this debate, as of so many others, shows how much has been lost in the hardening of a division between the early and the central Middle Ages. It evokes an even larger debate by implying that the European future was built not on the achievements of the Romans but on starting again at a level of society which they had failed to penetrate."
    Times Literary Supplement

    "… an important book."
    Simon John, English Historical Review

    'The book is a tour de force which in many ways does succeed in reframing the debate. It is exemplary in its careful attention to the words of the documents and their contexts, in the sheer variety of sources used, as well as in its concern to look at both sides of the Franco-Imperial divide. … This book is essential for anyone working on social change in western Europe in this period.' Theo Riches, Early Medieval Europe

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107028869
    • length: 322 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Parameters of Carolingian Society:
    1. Institutional integration
    2. Networks of inequality
    3. Carolingian co-ordinations
    Part II. The Long Tenth Century, c.880–c.1030:
    4. The ebbing of royal power
    5. New hierarchies
    Part III. The Exercise of Authority through Property Rights, c.1030–1130:
    6. The banality of power
    7. Fiefs, homage, and the 'investiture quarrel'
    8. Upper Lotharingia and Champagne around 1100: unity and diversity

  • Author

    Charles West, University of Sheffield
    Charles West is Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Sheffield.

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