Archives de catégorie : Hiérarchies et groupes sociaux / Hierarchies and social groups

Holm Olof, Självägarområdenas egenart

Holm Olof, Självägarområdenas egenart : Jämtland och andra områden i Skandinavien med småskaligt jordägande 900–1500, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2012, (dir. L. Runefelt, O. Ferm, Université de Stockholm)

Résumé/abstract :
This thesis takes its departure from the fact that in the 16th century there were some regions in Scandinavia where almost all land was held by freeholders, while in other regions large areas of land were held by landlords. The aim of the study is to determine which factors had been decisive in the development of this regional variation. One factor is known from earlier research: the conditions for farming, dependent on climate and natural features. In this thesis the author points out another important factor, namely the conditions for people in the countryside to acquire surplus from trade. This is done through an in-depth investigation of the society of Jämtland in the period AD 900–1500, which is then compared with other freeholders’ regions, treated briefly.It is observed that the landownership had been small-scale or mostly small-scale in all these regions for many centuries before the 16th century, and that there are strong indications of the wealthiest farmers being traders and having their surplus mostly drawn from trade activities. It is reasonable to believe that the lack of willingness to invest in estates in these regions was due to the fact that those who had resources gave priority to investments in interregional and regional trade instead. They probably saw better chances of gaining more surplus from trade activities than from the agrarian economy, given the conditions for trading and crop cultivation, respectively, that were prevailing there. In such a region, hence, an important economic force for estate-formation was missing. This will explain why certain regions, like Jämtland or Gotland, developed into and remained as freeholders’ regions.Another observation concerns the social structure of freeholders’ regions. It is observed that the societies in these regions seem to have been less hierarchical on the local level than societies in regions dominated by landlords – even though the differences in fortunes could be great.

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]

Smith Nicholas J.C., Servicium debitum and scutage in twelfth-century England

Smith, Nicholas J.C., Servicium debitum and scutage in twelfth-century England, with comparisons to the Regno of southern Italy, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (University of Durham)

Résumé/abstract :

The purpose of this study is to re-assess the system of military obligation in England at the earliest time sufficient documents survive to provide an in-depth explanation. It is both an examination of the twelfth-century feudal structure and lordship arrangements as described by these documents, and how they came to be in their twelfth-century forms. This is supplemented by a similar, but briefer, evaluation of the Regno of southern Italy and of the occasional relevant documents from Normandy. An examination of the place of military obligation in the kingdom of England covers three major areas: the assessment of this obligation, the cost of service both to the king and the individual knight, and how the men actually served. These three areas offer insight into how the Normans established the servicium debitum, how knights exempted themselves from their obligation or were compensated for extra service, and various aspects of what their service entailed, such as castle guard.

A study of the returns made by tenants-in-chief in 1166 suggests that these have been misinterpreted in the past; their inspiration lay in the desire of the barons to protect themselves from excessive royal demands, rather than in the crown’s desire to update the servicium debitum. The survey conducted in the Regno earlier is unlikely to have served as a prototype for the 1166 inquiry; it was different in purpose and in form. Scutages are examined, to show the complex patterns of payment, and to suggest that under Henry II a significant number of tenants-in-chief performed their service, rather than commuted it. The Pipe Rolls are used to analyse military expenditure at a local level in two counties, Kent and Shropshire; in particular pay rates are reconstructed. A series of appendices provide details of this expenditure, along with evidence of scutages.

[Source : http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/454/]

Johanna Katrin Friðriksdóttir, Women, bodies, words and power

Johanna Katrin Friðriksdóttir, Women, bodies, words and power : Women in old Norse literature, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. C. Larrington, Université d’Oxford)

Résumé/abstract :

My doctoral thesis (2010) analysed women and power in Old Norse literature. In medieval Icelandic secular prose, female characters function as literary vehicles to engage with some of the most contested values of the period, revealing the preoccupations, desires and anxieties of its authors and audiences; chief amongst these concerns women’s access to and employment of power, and men’s vulnerability. Old Norse sources offer their audiences many discrete and varied female images: women of various social and economic positions and racial origins. Many of them conflict with the stereotypes prevalent in past scholarly discourse which, mainly because of its often selective approach to the extant evidence, has largely failed to perceive the richness and heterogeneity of female images and the multiplicity of their meanings. In this thesis an extensive and diverse gallery of female images from a wide range of secular prose texts will be analysed, demonstrating how varied and complex these female literary characters can be, how they develop over time, and how different genres which existed side by side, as well as individual texts within genres, offer different perspectives on the same problems. Many of the female characters in Old Norse literature can be seen as surprisingly powerful, and the ways in which they gain agency, whether by speech or actions, will be mapped out. These strategies may or may not be socially sanctioned. The thesis explores the roles available to women, how they negotiate these roles within the restraints of patriarchy and when they are seen to transgress normative boundaries, often being depicted as monstrous in these circumstances. The picture which emerges is not a simple dichotomy; it allows for ambiguity and subversion in itself by arguing for the monstrous ‘Other’ as a category which represents human qualities that are rejected and abjected but can never be made to disappear. In short, the thesis deals with questions of female power and uncovers how the texts represent women as agents.

[Source : https://arnastofnun.academia.edu/JohannaKatrinFridriksdottir]