The Languages of Gift in the Early Middle Ages

Overview

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, ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...solid and wideranging." -Felice Lifshitz, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107698789
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/23/2014
  • Pages: 322
  • Sales rank: 1,326,050
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Davies is Professor of History Emerita at University College London, and an associate member of the History Faculty, University of Oxford. She has wide interests in early medieval social and economic history and her books include Wales in the Early Middle Ages (1982), Small Worlds: The Village Community in Early Medieval Brittany (1988), and Acts of Giving. Individual, Community and Church in Tenth-Century Christian Spain (2007).

Paul Fouracre is Professor of Medieval History and currently Head of History at the University of Manchester. With interests in the political and social history of the Franks, his publications include Late Merovingian France: History and Hagiography 640–720 (with R. Gerberding, 1996), The Age of Charles Martel (2000); and, as editor, The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume 1 (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations vii

List of contributors ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xii

List of abbreviations xiii

1 Introduction Janet L. Nelson 1

2 Giving to God in the Mass: the experience of the Offertory David Ganz 18

3 Gifts and prayers: the visualization of gift giving in Byzantium and the mosaics at Hagia Sophia Leslie Brubaker 33

4 The use of the term beneficium in Frankish sources: a society based on favours? Paul Fouracre 62

5 The gifts of Wearmouth and Jarrow Ian N. Wood 89

6 The settings of the gift in the reign of Charlemagne Janet L. Nelson 116

7 The queen of the Franks offers gifts to the caliph al-Muktafi' Ann Christys 149

8 Reciprocal gifts on Mount Athos in the tenth and eleventh centuries Rosemary Morris 171

9 Compulsory gift exchange in Lombard Italy, 650-1150 Chris Wickham 193

10 When gift is sale: reciprocities and commodities in tenth-century Christian Iberia Wendy Davies 217

11 Conclusion Chris Wickham 238

Glossary 262

Bibliography 269

Index 300

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