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Power and Place in Europe in the Early Middle Ages$
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Jayne Carroll, Andrew Reynolds, and Barbara Yorke

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266588

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266588.001.0001

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Power and Place in Europe in the Early Middle Ages

Power and Place in Europe in the Early Middle Ages

(p.1) 1 Power and Place in Europe in the Early Middle Ages
Power and Place in Europe in the Early Middle Ages

Jayne Carroll

Andrew Reynolds

Barbara Yorke

British Academy

This chapter provides an interdisciplinary, scene-setting review of the current state of knowledge in the field of early medieval social complexity and sets out an agenda for future work in this topical area. While much previous work in this field tends to focus on comparisons with the classical world, this contribution emphasises the uniqueness of early medieval modes of social organisation. Introductions are provided to the study of geographies of power through archaeological analyses, vocabularies of power drawing on place-name evidence and notions of law and its enactment at assembly sites from written sources. It is argued that places where power was enacted in a period of non-urban social and administrative complexity must be understood on their own terms. The robusticity and flexibility of early medieval networks of power is also emphasised in the context of a comparative discussion ranging across the European area.

Keywords:   medieval social complexity, social organisation, place-names, law, early medieval networks, geographies of power

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