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Peasants in the Middle Ages

by Werner Rosener

  • ISBN: 9780252062896
  • ISBN10: 0252062892

Peasants in the Middle Ages

by Werner Rosener

  • List Price: $21.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1992
  • ISBN: 9780252062896
  • ISBN10: 0252062892
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Description: This book is a lively refutation of preconceptions that medieval peasants existed either in idyllic rural conditions or in unmitigated oppression and poverty. Werner Rosener redresses the balance of history in favor of the peasantry, illustrating that their lives were as complex and interesting as those of the nobility. Rosener considers the social, economic, and political foundations of peasant life, particularly the way in which occupational and land divisions determined the rural population's relative freedom. At the height of the Middle Ages, the peasant condition improved as tenant farming replaced the seigneurial system and progress in agricultural technology increased productivity. Peasants left overcrowded villages to farm less fertile or barely populated land. Forms of village settlement gradually diversified, and relationships among the peasants developed into more complex communal networks. The quality and variety of clothing and the design of farmhouses and farmyards changed. The author also sheds new light on successful peasants who owned land and began to form 'peasant republics' independent of the nobility. Peasants in the Middle Ages is sure to become a standard work on the history of peasant life. It will be welcomed by medievalists and by sociologists and anthropologists interested in the Middle Ages or comparative studies.
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