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Thursday, 20 June 2019

The Transformations of the Year 600: Book Outline

Nine years ago I started this blog as a way of helping me to focus on the project I was working on, thanks to a grant from the Leverhulme Foundation.  Nine years later - and let's take a moment to ponder the fact that that the free world took less time than that to win the Second World War - I finally have a plan for the book of that project that I am happy with.  It has gone through many, many iterations (including a 2-volume version and even a trilogy!) but in the end, having initially been dead set against writing 'another big brick of a book', I have decided to write a (probably even bigger) brick of a book.  If, you are interested (or indeed care at all), this is what I think it will look like.  I dare say there'll be changes in detail but I think I can run with this.

The Transformations of the Year 600: Far-Western Eurasia c.565-650

Chapter 1: History without ‘events’

                        The closing of the Far West; the ghost of Rome; theory of events; about this book
Chapter 2: Narrative Orientation

Part 1 The Material: The End of the Late Antique State

Chapter 3: Introduction: The Theory of the State
Chapter 4: Government
Kings and things; Officials, Taxation, Warfare and the Army, the law
Chapter 5: The Church
Church structure. Bishops, rural church. Holy men. Monasticism; description of doctrinal differences; non-Christian areas: paganism and Judaism
Chapter 6: The Settlement Pattern (1): The Arena
The fate of the villas; new settlements; caves; beyond the villa zone; hilltop sites; other elite sites; towns; Roman cities; emporia; possibly urban sites beyond the old frontier
Chapter 7: The Settlement Pattern (2): Dynamics
Roman-post-Roman continuity; Settlement patterns and economies; settlement organisation; settlement units; communities; land-ownership; law and inheritance; relationships between towns; between towns and lesser settlements.
Chapter 8: The Settlement Pattern (3): The Religious Landscape
Bishoprics; urban churches; urban monasteries; rural churches and monasteries; change through time; pagan religious landscapes; bog deposits; temples
Chapter 9: Trade, exchange and the economy
Local levels: ‘Gift-exchange’; barter. Intermediate: control of local exchange; monetisation. Inter-regional exchange: routes and zones; mechanisms. ?Slave trade; Change through time.
Chapter 10: Death and Burial
Burial rituals; Descriptive account of archaeological data; Interpretations; written sources’ accounts; role in society and economy (linking cc9 & 11)
Chapter 11: Social Structure
Hierarchy: Aristocrats; free peasants; half-free and slaves; social mobility. Community: family and kindred; gender; age; ethnicity
Chapter 12: A provisional materialist explanation
Struggle of kings and aristocrats for control of surplus; war; plague; climate change; regional explanations: Merovingian minorities; Augustinian mission and conversion; dynastic instability; Lombard conquest.  Attempt to unify these.

Part 2 The Ideal: The End of the Roman World

Chapter 13: Introduction: The subject and the world
Chapter 14: Rulership and authority
Ideology; kingship; aristocracy; masculinity; the family; ?abbacy/ministry
Chapter 15: Political Identity and community
The political subject; ethnicity and politics; politics and the political; public space; spaces of the political; the making of community, local and ‘national’
Chapter 16: Religion
Monasticism; the ‘ascetic invasion’; conversion; typology; the miraculous; uniformity over orthodoxy; ministry?; apocalypticism
Chapter 17: Belief
Time; gender; the body; the wild and the cultured; sickness and disease; ?the miraculous; nature; responses to plague and weather
Chapter 20: Conclusion
A world after Rome