Julia M. H. Smith
University of St Andrews, Scotland
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:1992
Online Publication Date:October 2009
Subjects: European history 450-1000
This book offers ideas about the processes of political and cultural change in the early Middle Ages. The main focus is on relations between the centre and periphery of the Carolingian empire, in particular on the development of Brittany as a territorial principality in the ninth and tenth centuries. A major theme is the interaction of Carolingian imperial policies, Frankish aristocratic feuding, and local Breton communities. Other issues discussed include economy and society in Brittany and Neustria, the impact of Carolingian imperialism on local Breton communities, changes in the political, ecclesiastical and social structures arising from Carolingian overlordship of Brittany, the interaction of Celtic and Carolingian culture, and the construction of an early medieval ethnic identity. The book shows how regional autonomy and self-regulating villages were as integral to the Carolingian world as court politics, cultural imperialism and frontier strife, and it argues that, in order to understand both the establishment and the collapse of the Carolingian empire, politics at the periphery demand as much attention as politics at the centre.