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Slaves and Warriors in Medieval Britain and Ireland,800-1200

David Wyatt (Brill) 2009

Slaves and Warriors in Medieval Britain and Ireland,800-1200

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. This book highlights the extreme cultural/social significance of slavery for the societies of medieval Britain c. 800–1200. Concentrating upon the lifestyle, attitudes and motivations of the slave-holders and slave-raiders, it explores the violent activities and behavioural codes of Britain’s warrior-centred societies, illustrating the extreme significance of the institution of slavery for constructions of power, ethnic identity and gender.

David Wyatt, Ph.D. (2003) in History, Cardiff University, is the Co-ordinating Lecturer in History at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning.