Violence in Medieval Europe (The Medieval World)

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9781405811644: Violence in Medieval Europe (The Medieval World)
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The European Middle Ages have long attracted popular interest as an era characterised by violence, whether a reflection of societal brutality and lawlessness or part of a romantic vision of chivalry. Violence in Medieval Europe engages with current scholarly debate about the degree to which medieval European society was in fact shaped by such forces.

Drawing on a wide variety of primary sources, Warren Brown examines the norms governing violence within medieval societies from the sixth to the fourteenth century, over an area covering the Romance and the Germanic-speaking regions of the continent as well as England. Scholars have often told the story of violence and power in the Middle Ages as one in which 'private' violence threatened and sometimes destroyed 'public' order. Yet academics are now asking to what degree violence that we might call private, in contrast to the violence wielded by a central authority, might have been an effective social tool. Here, Brown looks at how private individuals exercised violence in defence of their rights or in vengeance for wrongs within a set of clearly understood social rules, and how over the course of this period, kings began to claim the exclusive right to regulate the violence of their subjects as part of their duty to uphold God's order on earth.

Violence in Medieval Europe provides both an original take on the subject and an illuminating synthesis of recent and classic scholarship. It will be invaluable to students and scholars of history, medieval studies and related areas, for the light it casts not just on violence, but on the evolution of the medieval political order.

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About the Author:

Warren C. Brown is Associate Professor of History at the California Institute of Technology. His previous publications include Unjust Seizure: Conflict, Interest, and Authority in an Early Medieval Society.

Review:

"One of the particular merits of this study as a textbook is its demonstration of how to approach the primary sources. The case-studies emphasise how important the perspective of the sources is in determining whether actions are reported as legitimate or illegitimate violence. Each chapter opens with a sure-handed sketch of the wider context, with an impressive summary of the ‘Transformation of the year 1000’ in Chapter Four, for example, and an excellent introduction to the study of ritual in Chapter Five.

 

Brown succeeds both in showing that medieval violence was purposeful and embedded in changing norms, and in offering some new perspectives on the sources and topics covered. This is a clear and stimulating survey, which will be a valuable addition to reading lists, and provoke further discussion among specialists."

 

 

- The English Historical Review

 

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Book Description Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Medieval Violence is generally cast by modern popular media in two contradictory ways: either as a reflection of medieval brutality and lawlessness or as the basis for a romantic life of freedom, glory and honour. This book will introduce students to the questions and evidence that are driving current debates about whether and to what degree violence characterized medieval Europe. * This is the first book to draw together a diverse scholarship into a narrative about violence across the entire Middle Ages.* Warren Brown includes many real life examples to capture the imagination of the student and the interested reader* Provides a synthesis of recent and classic scholarship about medieval violence, conflict, and power in all of the relevant languages and is based on primary sources that are readily available in English translationThe author focuses on violence used by individuals or small groups within a given society as a tool for achieving personal or political ends and/or for expressing emotion. The question of violence understood in this way dominates current efforts to understand power and political order in medieval societies. For example, it occupies centre stage in debates over the co-called feudal revolution of the first millennium and over the development of national states in the later Middle Ages. These discussions hinge on the following questions: did violence subvert political order or help to uphold and maintain it? How did the relationship between violence and political order change over time? What did peace mean and what did violence have to do with it? Scholars have often told the story of violence and power in the Middle Ages as one in which private violence threatened and sometimes destroyed public order. Yet some academics are asking to what degree violence that we might call private , in contrast to the violence wielded by a central authority, might have been part of a viable alternative or complementary order, or at least might have been understood and legitimised in this way by its practitioners. Following this line of thought, Warren C. Brown will focus on the question of whether violence was an acceptable element of social and political relationships in medieval Europe, and, if so, when and how, and for whom. He will show that the story of medieval political order is in large part a story of conflict and competition over whose norms of violence would prevail and be broadly accepted as legitimate. Seller Inventory # AAS9781405811644

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Book Description Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Medieval Violence is generally cast by modern popular media in two contradictory ways: either as a reflection of medieval brutality and lawlessness or as the basis for a romantic life of freedom, glory and honour. This book will introduce students to the questions and evidence that are driving current debates about whether and to what degree violence characterized medieval Europe. * This is the first book to draw together a diverse scholarship into a narrative about violence across the entire Middle Ages.* Warren Brown includes many real life examples to capture the imagination of the student and the interested reader* Provides a synthesis of recent and classic scholarship about medieval violence, conflict, and power in all of the relevant languages and is based on primary sources that are readily available in English translationThe author focuses on violence used by individuals or small groups within a given society as a tool for achieving personal or political ends and/or for expressing emotion. The question of violence understood in this way dominates current efforts to understand power and political order in medieval societies. For example, it occupies centre stage in debates over the co-called feudal revolution of the first millennium and over the development of national states in the later Middle Ages. These discussions hinge on the following questions: did violence subvert political order or help to uphold and maintain it? How did the relationship between violence and political order change over time? What did peace mean and what did violence have to do with it? Scholars have often told the story of violence and power in the Middle Ages as one in which private violence threatened and sometimes destroyed public order. Yet some academics are asking to what degree violence that we might call private , in contrast to the violence wielded by a central authority, might have been part of a viable alternative or complementary order, or at least might have been understood and legitimised in this way by its practitioners. Following this line of thought, Warren C. Brown will focus on the question of whether violence was an acceptable element of social and political relationships in medieval Europe, and, if so, when and how, and for whom. He will show that the story of medieval political order is in large part a story of conflict and competition over whose norms of violence would prevail and be broadly accepted as legitimate. Seller Inventory # AAS9781405811644

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