Family, Friends and Followers: Political and Social Bonds in Early Medieval Europe

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 3, 2004 - History - 195 pages
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Political life in the middle ages was influenced heavily by the bonds people had to one another. Among these, the bonds of kinship, friendship and lordship were by far the most important. Ritual was also often used to create and strengthen these bonds, and conduct and behaviour within social groups was shaped by unwritten rules. People bound in these ways had a right to expect help and support from one another. Such bonds were both a fact and a necessity of life in the middle ages. Over time, however, these bonds and relationships changed, as did the rules and norms which governed them. The aim of this book is to document and describe the history of these crucial bonds, and the ways in which they shaped political life in Europe in the early and high middle ages.

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About the author (2004)

GERD ALTHOFF is Professor of Medieval History, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany.

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