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Government and communities

Seminar and Essay Questions

  • Given the regional differences of 'feudalism', can the term be used by historians to adequately describe the political/military relationships governing medieval European society?
  • How did the fractured and isolated nature of early medieval societies affect the emerging styles of government?
  • Can we meaningfully speak of national communities in this period?




The forms of feudalism ('Turbulent Priests'; Dr Charles West)

Early Medieval Charters: A Guide For Students

The London Charter of Liberties

Introductory Reading

Barber, The Two Cities, 36-41

Power, Central Middle Ages, 91–120.

Bartlett, The Making of Europe, 45-7, 50-59, 85-96.

Cheyette, Frederic L., 'Review of Susan Reynolds, Fiefs and Vassals', Speculum 71 (1996), 998-1006.

Hyams, Paul R., 'The End of Feudalism? Review of Susan Reynolds, Fiefs and Vassals', Journal of Interdisciplinary History 27 (1997), 655-62.

Reuter, Timothy et al., 'Debate: The Feudal Revolution', Past and Present 155 (1997), 177-225.

Abels, Richard, 'The Historiography of a Construct: "Feudalism" and the Medieval Historian', History Compass 7/3 (2009), 1008-1031

Further Reading

Barthélemy, Dominique, 'Revisiting the "Feudal Revolution" of the Year 1000' in The Serf, the Knight and the Historian (New York: Ithaca, 2009)

Bartlett, Robert, England under the Norman and Angevin kings, 1075-1225 (2000).

Bisson, Thomas N., 'Medieval Lordship', Speculum 70 (1995), 743-59.

Bisson, Thomas N., 'The Feudal Revolution', Past and Present 142 (1994), 6-42.

Bloch, Marc, Feudal Society, 2nd ed., 2 vols (London, 1965)

Brown, Elizabeth, 'The Tyranny of a Construct: Feudalism and Historians of Medieval Europe', American Historical Review 79.4 (1974), 1063-88.

Duby, Georges, The Early Growth of the European Economy: Warriors and Peasants from the Seventh to the Twelfth Century (Ithaca, NY, 1974)

Duby, Georges, The Three Orders: Feudal Society Imagined (Chicago, 1980).

Duggan, Anne, Kings and Kingship in Medieval Europe (1993).

Fuhrmann, Horst, Germany in the High Middle Ages c. 1050 - 1200 (1986).

Ganshof, F. L., Feudalism, trans. Philip Grierson (London, 1952).

Geary, Patrick J., The Myth of Nations : The Medieval Origins of Europe (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2002)

Hallam, Elizabeth, Capetian France, 987–1328 (2001).

Head, T., and R. Landes (eds), The Peace of God: Social Violence and Religious Response in France Around the Year 1000 (Ithaca, NY, 1992)

Innes, Matthew, 'Economies and Societies in Early Medieval Western Europe' in C. Landing and E. English eds., A Companion to the Medieval World (Oxford, 2009)

Leyser, Karl, Medieval Germany and its Neighbours, 900–1250 (1982).

Linehan, Peter, Spain, 1157–1300: A Partible Inheritance (2008).

Reynolds, Susan, Kingdoms and Communities, 900–1300 (1997).

Reynolds, Susan, Fiefs and Vassals (Oxford, 1994).

Reynolds, Susan, 'Nations, Tribes, Peoples and States', Medieval Worlds 1.2 (2015), 79-88.