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Introduction to early medieval western Europe, 300-900: the sword, the plough, and the book [Book Review]

Brown, Warren C. (2008) Introduction to early medieval western Europe, 300-900: the sword, the plough, and the book [Book Review]. English Historical Review, 123 (505). pp. 1506-1508. ISSN 0013-8266. doi:10.1093/ehr/cen306.

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This is not a normal textbook of early medieval history. To begin with, Matthew Innes defines the early middle ages in an unusual way. He begins early, in the era of Constantine, to explore the Christian Roman world from which the barbarian kingdoms of the west emerged. He also ends early, at that moment when west Frankish aristocrats began replacing the heirs of Charlemagne with kings from among their own ranks. By this point, he argues, power had come to depend not on income derived from Roman fiscal or economic structures but rather on the direct possession and exploitation of land. This schema explains the book's subtitle. While the phrase ‘the Sword, the Plough, and the Book’ represents a tip of the hat to E. Gellner's Plough, Sword, and Book: The Structure of Human History (1988; rev. ante, cvii [1992], 421), it also evokes the idea of the three orders of medieval society, the fighters, farmers, and prayers, that emerged in the late ninth century and that reflected a new economic, social, and political reality (pp. 12, 544).

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Additional Information:© Oxford University Press 2008. All rights reserved. First published online: November 17, 2008. Book review of: Introduction to Early Medieval Western Europe, 300–900: The Sword, the Plough, and the Book, by Matthew Innes. (London: Routledge, 2007). ISBN: 9780415215060.
Issue or Number:505
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:WCBehr08
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Official Citation: Warren C. Brown Introduction to Early Medieval Western Europe, 300-900: The Sword, the Plough, and the Book English Historical Review (2008) CXXIII (505): 1506-1508 first published online November 17, 2008 doi:10.1093/ehr/cen306
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13781
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:03 Apr 2009 21:21
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:40

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