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    Saints and demons in the Carolingian countryside

    Innes, Matthew and West, C. (2019) Saints and demons in the Carolingian countryside. In: Kohl, T. and Patzold, S. and Zeller, B. (eds.) Kleine Welten: Ländliche Gesellschaften im Karolingerreich. Vorträge und Forschungen 87. Konstanz, Germany: Konstanzer Arbeitskreises für mittelalterliche Geschichte, pp. 67-100. ISBN 9783799568876.

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    This paper examines a series of stories about supernatural intervention in conflicts within Carolingian villages. These are primarily drawn from miracle collections put together at a range of northern Frankish monasteries (chiefly St-Riquier, Stavelot, St-Germain of Auxerre, St-Vaast, Fulda, Seligenstadt and St-Denis), along with a comparable anecdote included in a text of a different genre but similar institutional origin, the Annals of Fulda. The paper demonstrates that such texts have much to tell us about how these village communities worked, in conventional terms. This is not simply because monastic authors, in order to provide plausible backdrops against which to rehearse the saintly credentials of their holy patrons, drew on their experiences and expectations about villages and so provide circumstantial detail; we also argue that, prior to their reworking to fit authorial agendas and genre expectations, the raw stories of strange events often originated within the communities in which they were set. We go on to suggest that such stories pose a methodological challenge to our normal frames of analysis, by illustrating how tensions and social change within the early medieval village could be processed in »charismatic« ways as well as or instead of the »routinizing« register privileged by the documentary archives. The Carolingian countryside was not necessarily as »legalised« or »routinized« as the received canon of charters and polyptychs (perhaps deliberately) make it seem.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2017 14:24
    Last Modified: 28 Jun 2021 13:27


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