Topographies of Power in the Early Middle Ages


The 19 papers presented in this volume by North American and European historians and archaeologists discuss how early medieval political and religious elites constructed ‘places of power’, and how such places, in turn, created powerful people. They also examine how the ‘high-level’ power exercised by elites was transformed in the post-Roman kingdoms of Europe, as Roman cities gave way as central stages for rituals of power to a multitude of places and spaces where political and religious power were represented. Although the Frankish kingdoms receive a large share of attention, contributions also focus on the changing topography of power in the old centres of the Roman world, Rome and Constantinople, to what ‘centres of power’ may have meant in the steppes of Inner Asia, Scandinavia or the lower Vistula, where political power was even more mobile and decentralised than in the post-Roman kingdoms, as well as to monasteries and their integration into early medieval topographies of power.


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Biographical Note

Mayke de Jong received a doctorate from the University of Amsterdam (1986) and is presently Professor of Medieval History at Utrecht University. She has published on a range of early medieval topics, notably monasticism and political ritual. Frans Theuws is a specialist in Frankish archaeology teaching in the Department of European Archaeology of the C.M. Kan-Instituut of the University of Amsterdam and leader of the inter-university South-Netherlands research project on long term developments in the cultural landscape from the late Neolithic into the Late Middle Ages.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Mayke de jong and Frans Theuws Abbreviations Topographies of power: introduction Chris Wickham Cemeteries as places of power Heinrich Harke Topography and the creation of public space in early medieval Constantinople Leslie Brubaker Topography, celebration and power: the making of a papal Rome in the eighth and ninth centuries Thomas F.X. Noble Monuments and memory: repossessing ancient remains in early medieval Gaul Bonnie Effros Cordoba in the Vita vel passio Argenteae, Ann Christys Topographies pf holy power in sixth-century Gaul Ian Wood Maastricht as a centre of power in the early Middle ages Frans Theuws Aachen as a place of power Janet L. Nelson Convents, violence, and competition for power in seventh-century Francia Regine Le Jan One site, many meanings: Saint-Maurice d’Agaune as a place of power in the early Middle Ages Barbara H. Rosenwein Monastic prisoners or opting out? Political coercion and honour in the Frankish kingdoms Mayke de Jong Monasteries in a peripheral area: seventh-century Gallaecia, Pablo C. Diaz Aedificatio sancti loci: the making of a ninth-century holy place Julia M.H. Smith People, places and power in Carolingian society Matthew Innes The regia and the hring barbarian places of power Walter Pohl Asgard reconstructed? Gudme - a ‘central place’ in the North Lotte Hedeager The lower Vistula area as a ‘region of power’ and its continental contacts Przemyslaw Urba czyk Topographies of Power: Some conclusions Mayke de jong and Frans Theuws Primary Sources Literature Index


All those interested in the history and archaeology of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.