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09 June 2009
What were the lifestyles, attitudes and motivations of the slave-holders and slave-raiders during the medieval period?
Dr David Wyatt, Co-ordinating Lecturer at the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning, answers this question in his new book, Slaves and Warriors in Medieval Britain and Ireland, 800 - 1200, which was launched recently. The publication is the first of its kind and features interesting revelations of slavery in the medieval period that throws a new perspective into the research arena of this specialist subject.
Dr Wyatt says: "Modern sensibilities have clouded historical views of slavery, perhaps, more so than any other medieval social institution. Anachronistic economic rationales and notions about the progression of European civilisation have immeasurably distorted our view of slavery in the medieval context. As a result historians have focussed their efforts upon explaining the disappearance of this medieval institution rather than seeking to understand it."
Colleagues from the Centre for Lifelong Learning, School of History and Archaeology, and representatives from academic institutions across the region, as well as family and friends, joined Dr Wyatt at the University Council Chambers to launch his book that showcases his expertise.
Speaking at the book launch, Professor Peter Coss, Head of the School of History and Archaeology, said: "Dave Wyatt has written a startling reinterpretation of the history of slavery in Britain emphasising cultural factors rather than the traditional economic ones."
Slaves and Warriors in Medieval Britain and Ireland, 800 - 1200 highlights the extreme cultural/social significance of slavery for the societies of medieval Britain and Ireland. Concentrating upon the lifestyle, attitudes and motivations of the slave-holders and slave-raiders it explores the violent activities and behavioural codes of Britain and Ireland's warrior-centred societies illustrating the extreme significance of the institution of slavery for constructions of power, ethnic identity and gender.
Copies of the book can be ordered on-line via Brill Academic Publishers at www.brill.nl/.
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