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Main page » » State And Society In The Early Middle Ages [Advanced Reading, History]

State And Society In The Early Middle Ages [Advanced Reading, History]


Matthew Innes
State And Society In The Early Middle Ages

Cambridge University Press
pages 336

The middle Rhine valley was a region whose geopolitical profile underwent a series of dramatic changes between the late Roman period and the high middle ages, changes which affected the relationship of the region to the political centre. In this Roman frontier province political power was transformed by the Imperial infrastructure, which led to the foundation of fortified settlements as the central points of local society, an influx of men and resources in the army, and, in the fourth century, the physical proximity of the Emperor. Eventually, in the fifth century, the middle Rhine found itself cut off from the redistributive system of the Roman army and administration. A new power structure, which expressed itself in the idiom of a frontier culture which had developed through the interaction of barbarian elites and the Roman military, had emerged by the sixth century. The change from Roman to post-Roman, the atrophy of institutionalised forms of power and the emergence of militarised rule which tapped the agrarian surplus directly, was far more abrupt here than elsewhere in Gaul. By 600, rulers began once again to be involved in the region directly; rulers based, as they had been in the fourth century, in northern Gaul, but increasingly interested in exploitation of the wild east, the provinces beyond the Rhine, and happy to stay at Worms and Mainz. In the second half of the eighth century, the final consolidation of Frankish royal power in the east placed the Rhine at the heart of Empire, a development consummated by the construction of magnificent palace complexes at Ingelheim and Frankfurt. The symbolic significance of these centres, and the geopolitical centrality of the region, meant that the middle Rhine remained a royal heartland to the end of the early medieval period and beyond.

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Tags: century, Rhine, Roman, which, region