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05/12/2021 02:00 PM Online
Headshot of Alice Rio

Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: As If: Fiction, Make-Believe, and the Legal World of Early Medieval Francia, 5th-9th Centuries AD

Lecture II: Procedure: Heroic Fantasy and Bureaucratic Fancies

Alice Rio

This lecture will take place online. Registration is required, click through for the registration link. Zoom information will be provided via confirmation email to registered participants. One of the areas on which surviving legal evidence provides some of the most contradictory views is the legal and administrative framework itself. I will take the written word and feuding as examples. Surviving texts can give very different impressions of the importance of written documents, and it is possible to read early medieval evidence either to support a literate, almost bureaucratic vision of legal rights, or to view literate forms as a distorting sideshow. I suggest this shows that the importance of the written word depended not on stable assumptions about the value of writing, but instead on a collective agreement about how important it was going to be in any particular case.
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