Archives de catégorie : 2010

Rosa BACILE, ‘The ‘Dynastic Mausolea’ of the Norman Period,

Rosa Bacile, ‘The ‘Dynastic Mausolea’ of the Norman Period in the South of Italy, c. 1069-1189: A Study on the Form and Meaning of Burial Monuments in the Middle Ages’, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. Jeremy Johns, The Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East)

 

[Lien/Link :  http://krc.orient.ox.ac.uk/krc/index.php/en/students ]

Georgios THEOTOKIS, The campaigns of the Norman dukes of southern Italy against Byzantium

Georgios  Theotokis,  The campaigns of the Norman dukes of southern Italy against Byzantium, in the years between 1071 and 1108 AD., Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. M. Strickland, University of Glasgow).

 

Résumé/abstract :

 

The topic of my thesis is “The campaigns of the Norman dukes of southern Italy to Byzantium, in the years between 1071 and 1108 A.D.” As the title suggests, I am examining all the main campaigns conducted by the Normans against Byzantine provinces, in the period from the fall of Bari, the Byzantine capital of Apulia and the seat of the Byzantine governor (catepano) of Italy in 1071, to the Treaty of Devol that marked the end of Bohemond of Taranto’s Illyrian campaign in 1108. My thesis, however, aims to focus specifically on the military aspects of these confrontations, an area which for this period has been surprisingly neglected in the existing secondary literature. My intention is to give answers to a series of questions, of which only some of them are presented here: what was the Norman method of raising their armies and what was the connection of this particular system to that in Normandy and France in the same period (similarities, differences, if any)? Have the Normans been willing to adapt to the Mediterranean reality of warfare, meaning the adaptation of siege engines and the creation of a transport and fighting fleet? What was the composition of their armies, not only in numbers but also in the analogy of cavalry, infantry and supplementary units? While in the field of battle, what were the fighting tactics used by the Normans against the Byzantines and were they superior to their eastern opponents? However, as my study is in essence comparative, I will further compare the Norman and Byzantine military institutions, analyse the clash of these two different military cultures and distinguish any signs of adaptations in their practice of warfare. Also, I will attempt to set this enquiry in the light of new approaches to medieval military history visible in recent historiography by asking if any side had been familiar to the ideas of Vegetian strategy, and if so, whether we characterise any of these strategies as Vegetian?

[Source :  http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1884/ ]

 

PDF : http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1884/1/2010theotokisphd.pdf

Thomas Elizabeth, « We have nothing more valuable in our treasury » : royal marriage in England, 1154-1272

Thomas Elizabeth, « We have nothing more valuable in our treasury » : royal marriage in England, 1154-1272, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. J. Hudson, Université de St Andrews)

Résumé/abstract :

That kings throughout the entire Middle Ages used the marriages of themselves and their children to further their political agendas has never been in question. What this thesis examines is the significance these marriage alliances truly had to domestic and foreign politics in England from the accession of Henry II in 1154 until the death of his grandson Henry III in 1272. Chronicle and record sources shed valuable light upon the various aspects of royal marriage at this time: firstly, they show that the marriages of the royal family at this time were geographically diverse, ranging from Scotland and England to as far abroad as the Empire, Spain, and Sicily, Most of these marriages were based around one primary principle, that being control over Angevin land-holdings on the continent. Further examination of the ages at which children were married demonstrates a practicality to the policy, in that often at least the bride was young, certainly young enough to bear children and assimilate into whatever land she may travel to. Sons were also married to secure their future, either as heir to the throne or the husband of a wealthy heiress. Henry II and his sons were almost always closely involved in the negotiations for the marriages, and were often the initiators of marriage alliances, showing a strong interest in the promotion of marriage as a political tool. Dowries were often the centre of alliances, demonstrating how much the bride, or the alliance, was worth, in land, money, or a combination of the two. One of the most important aspects for consideration though, was the outcome of the alliances. Though a number were never confirmed, and most royal children had at least one broken proposal or betrothal before their marriage, many of the marriages made were indeed successful in terms of gaining from the alliance what had originally been desired.

[Source : https://research-repository.st-andrews.ac.uk/handle/10023/2001]

McManama-Kearin Lisa, The use of G.I.S. in determining the role of visibility in the siting of early Anglo-Norman stone castles in Ireland

McManama-Kearin Lisa, The use of G.I.S. in determining the role of visibility in the siting of early Anglo-Norman stone castles in Ireland, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Queen’s University Belfast)

Résumé/abstract :

This work examines the effectiveness of the use of GIS and GIS viewsheds as tools in the study of medieval castles in Ireland. To date, archaeological usage of GIS viewsheds has centred on prehistoric funerary sites. Little work has been done using GIS in relation to medieval castles, a subject and time-frame which is well documented. To date, no work has tested GIS and viewshed analysis across a wide comparative sample of castles. This study uses GIS to examine the visibility of and the views from structures about which much is known. A comparable set of twenty sample castles were taken from a particular period in one social/geographical context, the first century of English lordship in Ireland. Research objectives included exploring the priorities of the first three generations of Anglo-Norman castle builders in Ireland, by determining if there are patterns in site choices. Specifically the project aims to establish whether visibility may have played a role in the siting of these castles.

[Source : http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.534618]

Bainton Willliam, History and the written word in the Angevin Empire, c. 1154-c. 1200

Bainton Willliam, History and the written word in the Angevin Empire, c. 1154-c. 1200, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (University of York)

Résumé/abstract :

It is axiomatic that later twelfth-century England witnessed a growth in the sophistication of government and a related proliferation of written records. This period is also noted for its prolific and distinctive historical writing — which was often written by administrators and reproduced administrative documents. Taking these connected phenomena as its starting point, this study investigates how the changing uses of, access to and attitudes towards the written word affected the writing of history. Conversely, it also seeks to understand how historiography — which had long been associated with the written word — shaped contemporary assumptions about the written word itself. It assesses why historians quoted (and versified) so many documents in their histories, and traces structural similarities between chronicles and other contemporary forms of documentary collection. In doing so, it suggests that the apparently ‘official’ documents reproduced by histories are better thought of as social productions that told stories about the past, for and about those holding public office. It suggests that by rewriting documents as history, historical writing played a fundamental role in committing them to memory — and that it used historical narrative to explain the documents of the past to an imagined future. It also investigates why the period’s historical writing is so attuned to the performances that surrounded the written word. By investigating the presentation of documentary practices in both Latin and vernacular historiography, and by reconstructing the multilingual milieu that historians and historiography inhabited, the study challenges the way that vernacular textual practices are associated primarily with orality and performance, and Latin textual practices with writing and the making of ‘passive’ records. In the process, it suggests that both vernacular and Latin (historical) writing presented a normative picture of the functions of the written word — and of the literati — in contemporary society.

[Source : http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/1233/]

Palsson Vidar, Power and Political Communication. Feasting and Gift Giving in Medieval Iceland

Palsson Vidar, Power and Political Communication. Feasting and Gift Giving in Medieval Iceland, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. T. A. Brady, Université de Californie)

Résumé/abstract :

The present study has a double primary aim. Firstly, it seeks to analyze the sociopolitical functionality of feasting and gift giving as modes of political communication in later twelfth- and thirteenth-century Iceland, primarily but not exclusively through its secular prose narratives. Secondly, it aims to place that functionality within the larger framework of the power and politics that shape its applications and perception. Feasts and gifts established friendships. Unlike modern friendship, its medieval namesake was anything but a free and spontaneous practice, and neither were its primary modes and media of expression. None of these elements were the casual business of just anyone. The argumentative structure of the present study aims roughly to correspond to the preliminary and general historiographical sketch with which it opens: while duly emphasizing the contractual functions of demonstrative action, the backbone of traditional scholarship, it also highlights its framework of power, subjectivity, limitations, and ultimate ambiguity, as more recent studies have justifiably urged. It emphasizes action as discourse.

Eilersgaard Christensen Lisbeth, Stednavne som kilde til yngre jernalders centralpladser

Eilersgaard Christensen Lisbeth, Stednavne som kilde til yngre jernalders centralpladser, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. B. Holmberg, Université de Copenhague)

Résumés :

Characteristic place-names with possible relevance for religion, social status, defence etc. often occur together, forming a relatively uniform pattern in certain parts of Sweden. These uniform patterns, so- called onomastic environments, occur most frequently in the central Swedish region and they have been interpreted as an expression of the social organisation in the areas in question. Onomastic environments are presumed to provide circumstantial linguistic evidence for the structures that have been designated by archaeologists as central-place complexes. The characteristic onomastic environments do not seem to appear in Southern Scandinavia, in spite of the fact that archaeological central-place complexes do occur here. A Swedish place-name scholar has put forward the hypothesis that changes in settlement structure disturbed the old place-name structures in Southern Scandinavia but that traces of onomastic environments can still be found, if both settlement names and field-names are taken into consideration in the analyses. The aim of the dissertation is to test this hypothesis by means of an analysis of the place-name material within selected regions in Denmark. As a basis for the study a catalogue of keywords has been compiled which consists of both Swedish and Danish name-elements in which interest in the structure of society and centrality is foremost in publications devoted to the theory of onomastic environments and other selected literature. The catalogue contains 84 keywords with varying relevance for central-places. The name material has been analysed in eight areas which have been selected on the basis of six sal-names, one tune-name and a name of the type Odinsvi. In each area the names with keywords or other relevance for central-places have been selected for detailed interpretation. The value of the testimony of this material for centrality in the Late Iron Age is then assessed. The archaeological material from the Late Iron Age is also described briefly so that the collected relevance of the testimony for centrality for each area can be assessed on the basis of both types of source. The analyses show that in the selected areas no evidence can be demonstrated that can be interpreted as the existence of such onomastic environments. In the majority of the areas, however, there is one name, in addition to the name which led to the selection of the area, that can be accorded relevance for centrality. At a few places there are more such names. Regional peculiarities in respect to naming may be a partial cause of the differing dissemination of repeated patterns in the onomastic material between (Central) Sweden and Denmark respectively. The theoretical approach to the onomastic material is also of great significance for the result of the analyses. There is a considerable body of onomastic material with relevance for the structure of society and centrality in Denmark but the value of its testimony for the organisational structure of its central-place complexes would not seem to be confirmed.

Karakteristiske stednavne med mulig relevans for samfundsforhold som religion, status, forsvar osv. optræder i flere tilfælde sammen efter et relativt ensartet mønster i nogle dele af Sverige. Disse ensartede mønstrer, såkaldte navnemiljøer, optræder hyppigst i det mellemsvenske område, og de tolkes som udtryk for samfundsorganisationen i de pågældende områder. Navnemiljøerne formodes at være sproglige indicier på strukturer, der i arkæologien betegnes som centralpladskomplekser. De karakteristiske navnemiljøer forekommer tilsyneladende ikke i det sydskandinaviske område, til trods for at arkæologiske centralpladskomplekser optræder her. En svensk navneforsker har fremsat den hypotese, at bebyggelsesmæssige omstruktureringer har forstyrret de gamle stednavnestrukturer i Sydskandinavien, men at der kan findes reminiscenser af navnemiljøer, såfremt både bebyggelses- og marknavne inddrages i analyserne. Afhandlingens formål er at afprøve denne hypotese gennem analyser af stednavnematerialet inden for udvalgte undersøgelsesområder i Danmark. Som basis for analyserne er der udarbejdet et katalog af søgeord, der består af både svenske og danske navneled, som i navnemiljøteoretiske publikationer eller anden udvalgt litteratur tillægges interesse for samfundsstruktur og centralitet. Kataloget rummer 84 søgeord med varierende centralpladsrelevans. Navnematerialet er analyseret i otte udvalgte områder, som er udpeget på basis af seks sal-navne, et tune-navn og et navn af typen Odinsvi. I hvert område er navne med søgeord eller centralpladsrelevans i øvrigt udvalgt og tolket. Materialets udsagnsværdi for centralitet i yngre jernalder er herefter vurderet. Det arkæologiske materiale fra yngre jernalder er desuden skitseret, således at det samlede centralpladsrelaterede udtryk for hvert område kan vurderes ud fra begge kildetyper. Analyserne viser, at der i de udvalgte områder ikke kan påvises mønstre, der kan tolkes som navnemiljøer. I hovedparten af områderne er der dog ét navn, udover navnet som området er udpeget efter, der kan tillægges centralpladsrelevans. Enkelte steder er der flere. Navne med relevans for religion og forsvar er hyppigst forekommende, men udsagnsværdien er i nogle tilfælde vanskelig at fastlægge. Regionale særtræk i forbindelse med navngivning kan være en delvis årsag til forskellig udbredelse af gentagne mønstre i hhv. det (mellem)svenske og det danske navnemateriale, og den teoretiske tilgang ved tolkningen af materialet er også af væsentlig betydning for det analyserede resultat. Der er et stort navnemateriale med relevans for samfundsstruktur og centralitet i Danmark, men dets udsagnsværdi for centralpladskompleksernes organisatoriske struktur synes ikke bekræftet.

[Source : http://nfi.ku.dk/publikationer/phd-afhandlinger/LEC-afh_tekst.pdf]

Dverstorp Nils, Skrivaren och skriften

Dverstorp Nils, Skrivaren och skriften – om skrift- och handskriftsproduktion i Vadstena kloster, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. K. G. Johansson, L.-E. Edlund, Université d’Oslo)

Résumé :

Skriften i middelalderen var i begynnelsen under sterk innflytelse fra den latinske skrifttradisjonen. Da man begynte å skrive på sitt eget språk frigjorde man seg sakte fra denne tradisjonen.

I sin avhandling studerer Dverstorp den skriftlige variasjonen i et utvalg håndskrifter fra et slik perspektiv. Variasjon i og forandring av skriftens grafiske utformning står i fokus. De håndskrifter som undersøkes er produsert i Vadstena kloster i Sverige, som ble grunnlagt av den hellige Birgitta på slutten av 1300-tallet.

Avhandlingen viser hvordan skriften gjennomgikk små forandringer, noe som i sin tur gjør det mulig å si noe om hvordan håndskriftene ble produsert og om deres datering og skrivere. Dette gjør at vi får ny kunnskap ikke bare om de håndskrifter som undersøkes men også om håndskriftsproduksjonen i Vadstena kloster fra et større perspektiv.

[Source : http://www.hf.uio.no/iln/forskning/aktuelt/arrangementer/disputaser/2010/dverstorp.html]

Frog, Baldr and Lemminkäinen : approaching the evolution of mythological narrative through the activating power of expression

Frog, Baldr and Lemminkäinen : approaching the evolution of mythological narrative through the activating power of expression – a case study in Germanic and Finno-Karelian cultural contact and exchange, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (University College London)

Résumé :

The orientation of this study is to explore what the sources for each narrative tradition can (and cannot) tell us about their respective histories, in order to reach a point at which it becomes possible to discuss a relationship between them and the significance of that relationship. This is not intended as an exhaustive study of every element of each source or every aspect of each tradition. It will present a basic introduction to sources for each tradition (§3-4) followed by a basic context for approaching the possibility of a cultural exchange (§5-7). The APE and its “powers” are introduced with specific examples from both traditions (§8-13). This will be followed by sections on the activation and manipulation of “identities” from the level of cultural figures to textual and extra-textual entities (§14-16) followed by relationships of traditions to individuals and social groups who perform them, and the impact which this has on the evolution of tradition as a social process (§17-18). The study will then address more specific issues in relationships between source and application in the medieval and iconographic representations of the Baldr-Cycle where so little comparative material is available to provide a context (§19). This will move into issues of persistence and change in the broader tradition, opening the discussion of intertextual reference and the evolution of traditions (§20-22). The Baldr-Cycle and Lemminkäisen virsi will each be reviewed (§23-24). It will be shown that Lemminkäisen virsi most likely emerged as a direct adaptation of a version of the Baldr-Cycle as a consequence of contacts with Germanic culture in the first millennium of the present era, probably during the Viking Age. Lemminkäinen appears to have been established as a cultural figure at that time, and the adaptation was most likely intended to impact how Lemminkäinen was regarded as a cultural figure. The value of the Baldr-Cycle in this application appears attributable to existing features in the tradition ecology which allowed its motif-complexes to generate significant and relevant meanings (§25). This study is a case study approaching the evolution of mythological narrative as a historical process occurring through a conjunction of individual applications and social processes. This case study demonstrates the value of the APE and offers insight into the history of cultural contact and exchange in the Circum-Baltic region.

[Source : http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/19428/]

Glørstad Zanette, Ringspennen og kappen

Glørstad Zanette, Ringspennen og kappen. Kulturelle møter, politiske symboler og sentraliseringsprosesser i Norge ca. 800-950, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir.  L. Hedeager, Université d’Oslo)

Résumé :

Den omfattende ekspansjonen fra Norge mot De britiske øyer besto ikke bare av plyndringstokter og etableringen av norrøne kolonier. Vikingene tok i like stor grad politiske ideer og symboler med seg tilbake til Norge. I en rekke graver i Norge fra vikingtiden er det funnet rester etter store kappespenner som enten har vært hentet fra Irland, eller som er laget i Norge etter irske forbilder. I Irland var disse praktspennene, sammen med tilhørende praktkapper, sentrale statussymboler for ulike kongsdynastier som lå i konflikt med hverandre. Forekomsten av disse spennene i norske graver tyder på at den politiske eliten i Norge i vikingtiden bevisst overførte og innlemmet kappespennen og kappen som politiske symboler i det urolige politiske klimaet på 800- og 900-tallet. Disse symbolene ble trolig aktivt brukt for å skape nye allianseformer som maktgrunnlag for den politiske eliten.

Høyst sannsynlig har den politiske eliten i Norge i denne perioden, inkludert Harald Hårfagre og hans sønner Eirik Blodøks og Håkon den Gode vært engasjert i de omfattende konfliktene om politisk og økonomisk makt rundt Irskesjøen, med Dublin som vitalt senter. Når kappespennen innlemmes som del av drakten for elitens menn i Norge, kan dette derfor relateres både til den sosio-politiske utviklingen rundt Irskesjøen, men også til de interne politiske prosessene i Norge på samme tid. Tidligere har man ment at Harald Hårfagre må ha forsøkt å befeste makten gjennom økonomiske, administrative og militære tiltak. Den bevisste overføringen av irske statussymboler kan tyde på at makten også har vært forsøkt befestet gjennom å innføre ideologiske og rituelle endringer.

[Source : http://www.hf.uio.no/iakh/forskning/aktuelt/arrangementer/disputaser/2010/glorstad.html]

Bianchi Marco, Runor som resurs

Bianchi Marco, Runor som resurs, Vikingatida skriftkultur i Uppland och Södermanland [Runes as a resource : Viking Age written culture in Uppland and Södermanland], Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. H. Williams, A.-M. Karlsson, Université d’Uppsala)

Résumé :

The Viking Age rune-carvers and their readers used runes as a semiotic resource to convey and structure the messages on rune-stones. An analysis of the ways in which this resource is used together with other resources gives us a deeper insight into the relationship between writers and readers and into the written culture in which the rune-stones were produced.The present study treats runic carvings as multimodal texts in which different semiotic modes produce meaning by visual and verbal means. The roles played by runes in such texts are studied from three different perspectives. The empirical study in chapter 3 investigates how the verbal messages of the inscriptions interrelate with ornamental compositions. The most important convention found is that runic inscriptions usually start in the lower left part of the ornamental band in which they are inscribed. A second result is that there is a certain correlation between the visual and syntactic structure of runic texts. In chapter 4, Södermanlandic inscriptions employing more than one writing system are investigated. These carvings can be tied to a context of high social ambition in which at least two different, socially stratified discourses are expressed by means of the runes as a visual semiotic mode. Chapter 5 is devoted to non-lexical inscriptions, showing that such carvings are indeed runic texts despite their lack of verbal message.Different types of readers can use runic resources in different ways. Firstly, runes carry meaning independent of any verbal message, giving them significance even to illiterate readers. Secondly, literate readers can appreciate certain conventions of runic composition and, thirdly, one and the same runic text can be part of different discourses and hence be aimed at different kinds of readers.

[Source : http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121586]

Åkestam Mia, Bebådelsebilder : Om bildbruk under medeltiden

Åkestam Mia, Bebådelsebilder : Om bildbruk under medeltiden, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. M. Rossholm Lagerlöf, M. Kempff Östlind, Université de Stockholm)

Résumé :

This thesis investigates the Annunciation motif and the use of images in a medieval socio-cultural context. There are almost 400 medieval images of the Annunciation from the period 1150–1550 in Sweden today. It is found in murals, baptismal fonts, paintings, wooden sculpture, stone reliefs, liturgical vessels, textile works and altarpieces. The aim of the thesis is to present this rich and varied material, and also to relate the images to the milieus where they were used and viewed as objects of cult, and to elucidate the historical situation in which they were used for communicative purposes.  It is argued that an “image-culture” perspective and a long-term investigation can reveal other aspects than a specific study, and that it is fruitful to equally emphasize the rhetoric of the image, the beholders part and the historical context. Hence the picture analysis is based on semiotics and rhetoric analysis of pictures and reception theory. With this point of departure the thesis addresses iconographic problems and shows that text as a source and explanation of historical image can be insufficient. The study shows that the figures’ gestures and body language, their contenace, is crucial for our understanding, and remains the most important mark of identification. The motif can be identified even with an angel without wings. The meaning of this universal picture could then be enlarged with specific attributes and symbols with a purpose to emphasize specific ideas. In context this elucidates bishopric, monastic as well as worldly use of imagery. The image context includes motifs from classical antiquity, references to the pious Christian worshiper, as well as symbolic staging of the Gospels and Christian faith. More expected is the biblical history. The motif can also be displayed alone, and thus it can be regarded as a sign. An important outcome is that the Annunciation not is used in legendary suites or in narratives of the Virgin Mary. Hence, the relationship between image and text is not uncomplicated. The thesis shows that people in the Middle Ages were fully aware of the use of pictures and skilfully used the rhetoric of the image.

[Source : http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43494]

Thomas Elizabeth, ‘We have nothing more valuable in our treasury’ : royal marriage in England, 1154-1272

Thomas, Elizabeth, ‘We have nothing more valuable in our treasury’ : royal marriage in England, 1154-1272, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. J. Hudson, University of St Andrews)

Résumé/abstract :

That kings throughout the entire Middle Ages used the marriages of themselves and their children to further their political agendas has never been in question. What this thesis examines is the significance these marriage alliances truly had to domestic and foreign politics in England from the accession of Henry II in 1154 until the death of his grandson Henry III in 1272. Chronicle and record sources shed valuable light upon the various aspects of royal marriage at this time: firstly, they show that the marriages of the royal family at this time were geographically diverse, ranging from Scotland and England to as far abroad as the Empire, Spain, and Sicily. Most of these marriages were based around one primary principle, that being control over Angevin land-holdings on the continent. Further examination of the ages at which children were married demonstrates a practicality to the policy, in that often at least the bride was young, certainly young enough to bear children and assimilate into whatever land she may travel to. Sons were also married to secure their future, either as heir to the throne or the husband of a wealthy heiress. Henry II and his sons were almost always closely involved in the negotiations for the marriages, and were often the initiators of marriage alliances, showing a strong interest in the promotion of marriage as a political tool. Dowries were often the centre of alliances, demonstrating how much the bride, or the alliance, was worth, in land, money, or a combination of the two. One of the most important aspects for consideration though, was the outcome of the alliances. Though a number were never confirmed, and most royal children had at least one broken proposal or betrothal before their marriage, many of the marriages made were indeed successful in terms of gaining from the alliance what had originally been desired.

[Source : http://hdl.handle.net/10023/2001]

Zori Davide Marco, From Viking chiefdoms to medieval state in Iceland

Zori Davide Marco, From Viking chiefdoms to medieval state in Iceland: The evolution of social power structures in the Mosfell Valley, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. J. Byock, University of California, Los Angeles)

Résumé/abstract :

This dissertation presents the results of an interdisciplinary regional study of medieval Icelandic society, beginning with the 9th century settlement of the island and concluding when independent sociopolitical development halted in AD 1262. The nature of the power of medieval Icelandic chieftains has attracted scholarly attention from both historians and anthropologists, who have been drawn to the unusually rich corpus of information in the Icelandic sagas. These chieftains maintained power for several centuries without institutionalized taxation or the development of territorial polities. My research contributes to the understanding of this chiefly power by analyzing separate sources of social power and charting temporal change in the power structures with an interdisciplinary micro-regional study of the Mosfell Valley in southwest Iceland.

Methodologically, I employ multiple lines of evidence, including medieval texts, place names, oral traditions, and archaeological data from regional surveys and excavations. Previous scholarly investigation has relied on textual sources to investigate Icelandic social structure and chiefly power. This is therefore the first regional study of long-term change at the local scale that integrates archaeological and textual sources, providing a detailed and nuanced understanding of the micro-processes in a specific medieval community.

Structured in part by a network of kinship alliances, the settlement of the Mosfell Valley progressed rapidly, with at least three farms established in the first generation. By the early 11th century, the Mosfell chieftains reached their apex of power through the articulation of economic, ideological, military, and political sources of power. The chieftains employed diverse strategies to advance their positions, including mobilization of the subsistence economy for investment in the chiefly political economy, control of a local port and access to prestige goods, and the use of materialized pagan and Christian ideologies to centralize wealth and authority. Although the Mosfell chieftains shifted their strategies with the increasing stratification of Icelandic society, the region became marginalized as neighboring chieftains consolidated territorial power. Nevertheless, and in contrast power interpretations of 13th century conditions, the agency of local leaders caused power in the Mosfell region to remain tired to personal authority and less dominated by territoriality than in neighboring regions.

[Source : www.viking.ucla.edu/zori/davide_zori_dissertation_2010.pdf]

Theotokis Georgios, The campaigns of the Norman dukes of southern Italy against Byzantium

Theotokis Georgios, The campaigns of the Norman dukes of southern Italy against Byzantium, in the years between 1071 and 1108 AD, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. M. Strickland, University of Glasgow)

Résumé/abstract :

The topic of my thesis is The campaigns of the Norman dukes of southern Italy to Byzantium, in the years between 1071 and 1108 A.D. As the title suggests, I am examining all the main campaigns conducted by the Normans against Byzantine provinces, in the period from the fall of Bari, the Byzantine capital of Apulia and the seat of the Byzantine governor (catepano) of Italy in 1071, to the Treaty of Devol that marked the end of Bohemond of Taranto’s Illyrian campaign in 1108. My thesis, however, aims to focus specifically on the military aspects of these confrontations, an area which for this period has been surprisingly neglected in the existing secondary literature. My intention is to give answers to a series of questions, of which only some of them are presented here: what was the Norman method of raising their armies and what was the connection of this particular system to that in Normandy and France in the same period (similarities, differences, if any)? Have the Normans been willing to adapt to the Mediterranean reality of warfare, meaning the adaptation of siege engines and the creation of a transport and fighting fleet? What was the composition of their armies, not only in numbers but also in the analogy of cavalry, infantry and supplementary units? While in the field of battle, what were the fighting tactics used by the Normans against the Byzantines and were they superior to their eastern opponents? However, as my study is in essence comparative, I will further compare the Norman and Byzantine military institutions, analyse the clash of these two different military cultures and distinguish any signs of adaptations in their practice of warfare. Also, I will attempt to set this enquiry in the light of new approaches to medieval military history visible in recent historiography by asking if any side had been familiar to the ideas of Vegetian strategy, and if so, whether we characterise any of these strategies as Vegetian?

[Source : http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1884/]