Skip Navigation Links
R. Balzaretti
The Lands of Saint Ambrose
Monks and Society in Early Medieval Milan

Add to basket ->
XVII+640 p., 17 b/w ill. + 15 Maps, 28 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2019
ISBN: 978-2-503-50977-8
Languages: English
The publication is available.The publication is available.
Retail price: EUR 130,00 excl. tax
How to order?
Online content:

This book provides a history of early medieval Milan that incorporates the as-yet underestimated role of  the city's Benedictine monastery.

This book is a history of Milan in the early medieval period. It investigates the political, social, and economic aspects of the transformation of the Roman world in one of its major centres. Its main theme is the role of monastic communities in this transformation. In the case of Milan a single monastery can be studied in great detail: the Benedictine community founded by Charlemagne, c. 789, next to the basilica in which St Ambrose himself was buried. Surprisingly, the impact which this important Carolingian foundation had upon the existing society of Milan has been underestimated by historians, partly because the history of the monastery has been studied apart from the history of the city.

The book shows how successive generations of monks helped to change the social organisation of the city and much of its hinterland, largely through their substantial dealings in property as recorded in one of the most important surviving collections of early medieval charters. This thesis challenges the views of earlier generations of scholars who downplayed the role of the monastery in the mechanisms of social change, in favour of a ‘new’ mercantile class.

Ross Balzaretti is Professor of Italian History at the University of Nottingham.


Table of Contents



Part One: Small and Large Worlds

  • Introduction to Part One
  • Chapter 1. Evidence
  • Chapter 2. Interpretation
  • Chapter 3. Roman Milan Transformed
  • Chapter 4. Sant’Ambrogio and its Patrons
  • Chapter 5. Cityscape

Part Two: Dossiers

  • Introduction to Part Two
  • Chapter 6. Campione
  • Chapter 7. Gnignano and Cologno
  • Chapter 8. Valtellina
  • Chapter 9. Limonta and Inzago

Part Three: Conclusion

  • Introduction to Part Three
  • Chapter 10. Hinterland

Select Bibliography



“Anche per dare giusto risalto a queste ricerche il volume è stato pubblicato con i testi in inglese in una prestigiosa collana (The Medieval Countryside) dell’Editore Brepols: una scelta che sicuramente valorizzerà questo libro e darà a esso, e alle ricerche che contiene, una giusta visibilità internazionale.” (Sauro Gelichi, in Archeologia Medievale, XLV, 2018, p. 458 )

“Die Arbeit von Ross Balzaretti bietet einen grundlegenden Überblick über eine der wichtigsten Institutionen der mailändischen Kirche, Gesellschaft und Stadt im Mittelalter, die Abtei von S. Ambrogio, in der ersten Phase ihrer Geschichte.” (Caterina Cappuccio, in Francia-Recensio, 1, 2020)

Interest Classification:
Religion (including History of Religion) & Theology
Christian Church : religious orders
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : auxiliary sciences
Diplomatics & sigillography
Medieval European history (400-1500) : genres & specific topics
Urban history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
Italian Peninsula
Medieval History (400-1500) : subperiods
Merovingian & Carolingian period

This publication is also distributed by: Proquest e-books, ISD, Marston
Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions © 2020 Brepols Publishers NV/SA - All Rights Reserved