Shifting Landmarks: Property, Proof, and Dispute in Catalonia Around the Year 1000 by Jeffrey A. Bowman, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Shifting Landmarks: Property, Proof, and Dispute in Catalonia Around the Year 1000

Shifting Landmarks: Property, Proof, and Dispute in Catalonia Around the Year 1000

by Jeffrey A. Bowman
     
 
In a major contribution to the debate among medievalists about the nature of social and political change in Europe around the turn of the millennium, Jeffrey A. Bowman explores how people contended over property during the tenth and eleventh centuries in the province of Narbonne. He examines the system of courts and judges that weighed property disputes and shows how

Overview

In a major contribution to the debate among medievalists about the nature of social and political change in Europe around the turn of the millennium, Jeffrey A. Bowman explores how people contended over property during the tenth and eleventh centuries in the province of Narbonne. He examines the system of courts and judges that weighed property disputes and shows how disputants and judges gradually adapted, modified, and reshaped legal traditions. The region (which comprised Catalonia and parts of Mediterranean France) possessed a distinctive legal culture, characterized by the prominent role of professional judges, a high level of procedural sophistication, and an intense attachment to written law, particularly the Visigothic Code. At the same time, disputants relied on a range of strategies (including custom, curses, and judicial ordeals) to resolve conflicts. Chronic tensions stemmed from conflicting understandings of property rights rather than from pervasive violence; the changes Bowman tracks are less signs of a world convulsed in struggle than of a world coursing with vitality. In Shifting Landmarks, property disputes serve as a bridge between the author's inquiry into learned ideas about justice, land, and the law and his close examination of the rough-and-tumble practice of daily life. Throughout, Bowman finds intimate connections among ink and parchment, sweat and earth.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a fine example of using microhistorical techniques to illustrate broad historiographic issues. Using two hundred Catalan charters from 985 to 1060, Bowman provides a finely textured regional history situated within larger debates about continuity and change around the year 1000. . . . Bowman proposes gradual shifts in the landscape of property relations resulting from competing paradigms of proof, justice, and authority. All medievalists interested in law, land, institutions, and feudalism will gain much from this clear, well-written book."—Choice 42:2, October 2004

"Bowman's chapters dedicated to the careers of Catalan judges and the day-to-day practice of law and adjudication will prove extremely interesting for both legal and institutional historians of the early Middle Ages. . . . From a close study of the prologues of many different types of contemporary legal documents, . . . Bowman fashions a clear portrait of Catalan judges who, unlike their counterparts from many other parts of Carolingian Francia, were well-trained, well-respected, and well-compensated."—Warren Brown, California Institute of Technology, American Historical Review, April 2005

"Bowman is very good at breaking down the distinctions between oral and documentary forms of evidence and between supposedly private and public elements in the administration of justice."—Roger Collins, History, 90:3, July 2005

"Jeffrey Bowman presents a beautifully written and clear-eyed view of a pivotal moment in the development of medieval attitudes toward property, power, and literacy. Shifting Landmarks is required reading for anyone interested in the formations of legal sensibility in Western Europe."—David Nirenberg, The Johns Hopkins University

"Jeffrey Bowman examines dispute records as dramatic flash points rather than as normative settlements and thereby successfully challenges accepted views about the continuity of written law in the Latin Mediterranean. This work transforms current debates on the Feudal Revolution."—Stephen P. Bensch, Swarthmore College

"Prevailing thought suggests that a feudal revolution took place in Europe in the early eleventh century as public order fell to the private control of greedy local magnates. An impressive fund of knowledge, gained in a detailed examination of property disputes and the means of proof argued by litigants over contested holdings, has led Jeffrey Bowman to argue that the disputes arose not out of 'feudal anarchy,' but rather from competing legal traditions. Bowman's elegant new thesis promises to become the new paradigm for legal-political theorizing about the Middle Ages, and Shifting Landmarks will find itself on required reading lists for Medieval Literature of the Field courses taken by the graduate students of the future."—Penelope D. Johnson, New York University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801439902
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
01/15/2004
Series:
Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past Series
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

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