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Dark age economics : a new audit /
Richard Hodges.
London : Bristol Classical Press, 2012.
xiv, 160 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0715636790 (pbk.), 9780715636794 (pbk.)
More Details
London : Bristol Classical Press, 2012.
0715636790 (pbk.)
9780715636794 (pbk.)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-06-01:
Hodges's present work is a response to his earlier book with the same main title (CH, Oct'82), based on then-current archaeological evidence of emporia found in northwest Europe. He had postulated that such emporia would be found elsewhere, and that they provided nuclei for medieval towns. However, subsequent archaeological work has not supported this conclusion, and Hodges (American Univ. of Rome) discusses in depth these later findings and his understanding of the European economy between the fall of Rome and the 11th century. The old Roman towns ceased to be centers of economic activity, and the self-sufficient Roman villa system disappears from the archaeological evidence. Europe dissolved into separated areas economically connected only by gift giving. Medieval trade and towns would develop from two centers: those mostly deserted old Roman towns selected by the emerging kings and their courts, who would need to be supplied; and one from those many monastic centers that grew from gifts of supply and land to centers of trade and landed estates organized into the manorial system. In this late development of the manorial system, the lower ranks of agricultural workers declined to the status of serfs. Extensive bibliography; numerous charts and site drawings. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. K. F. Drew emeritus, Rice University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2013
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Main Description
This timely, concise volume enlarges on the debate that still continues twenty-five years after Richard Hodges' ground-breaking Dark Age Economics was first published. Special attention is given to the archaeological, anthropological and historical models about gift and commodity exchange, pertinent to western Europe during the 7th to 10th centuries, and how these debates shed new light on the evolution of towns. One theme of the book examines the role of the elite in economic practice. Twenty-five years ago archaeologists and historians challenged this; today, paradoxically, as government plays a reduced role in managing our economies, medieval archaeologists and historians concur that the economics of the Early Middle Ages were highly regulated.

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