Book Series The Medieval Countryside, vol. 6

Scale and Scale Change in the Early Middle Ages

Exploring Landscape, Local Society, and the World Beyond

Julio Escalona, Andrew Reynolds (eds)

  • Pages: xii + 316 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:9 b/w
  • Language(s):English, Spanish, Italian
  • Publication Year:2011

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53239-4
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53977-5
  • E-book
  • Available

This book aims to draw attention to the potential of concepts of scale and scale change in explaining and comparing socio-spatial processes in early medieval societies.


Kings, aristocrats, peasants, and the Church are among the shared features of most early medieval societies. However, these also varied dramatically in time and space. Can petty regional kings, for instance, be compared to those in charge of a whole empire? Scale is a crucial factor in modelling, explaining, and conceptualizing the past. Furthermore, many issues that historians and archaeologists treat independently can be theorized together as processes of scale decrease or increase: the appearance of complex societies, the rise and collapse of empires, changing world-systems, and globalization. While a subject of much discussion in fields such as ecology, geography, and sociology, scale is rarely theorized by archaeologists and historians. This book highlights the potential of the concepts of scale and scale change for comparing and explaining medieval socio-spatial processes. It integrates regional and temporal variations in the fragmentation of the Roman world and the emergence of medieval polities, which are often handled separately by late antique and early medieval specialists. The result of a three-year research project, the nine case studies in this volume offer fresh insights into early medieval rural society while combining their individual subjects to generate a wider explanatory framework.



List of Illustrations


The Early Middle Ages: A Scale-Based Approach - JULIO ESCALONA

Part I: Territories, Landscape, and Settlement

Early Medieval Rural Societies in North-Western Spain: Archaeological Reflections of Fragmentation and Convergence - ALFONSO VIGIL-ESCALERA GUIRADO AND JUAN ANTONIO QUIRÓS CASTILLO

Debating Scale and Scale Change in the English Landscape: Four Case Studies from the Late Roman Period into the Middle Ages - ANDREW REYNOLDS

Changing Scales of Local Power in the Early Medieval Iberian North-West - MARGARITA FERNÁNDEZ MIER

Part II: Local Society and the World Beyond

Changes in Scale in the Italian Countryside from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages - ALEXANDRA CHAVARRÍA ARNAU

On Suretyship in Tenth-Century Northern Iberia - WENDY DAVIES

Scale Change on the Border: The County of Castile in the Tenth Century - JULIO ESCALONA AND FRANCISCO REYES

Part III: Large-Scale Systems in Local and Regional Perspective

Tributa and Historiae: Scale and Power at a Turning Point in Post-Roman Spain - SANTIAGO CASTELLANOS

Circuits of Power in a Fragmented Space: Gold Coinage in the Meseta del Duero (Sixth–Seventh Centuries) - IÑAKI MARTÍN VISO

Exchange, Coinage, and the Economy of Early Medieval England - GRENVILLE ASTILL