Cover: Medieval Households in PAPERBACK

Medieval Households

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$37.50 • £30.95 • €34.00

ISBN 9780674563766

Publication Date: 01/01/1985

Short

272 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

2 line illustrations, 3 halftones, 9 tables

World

How should the medieval family be characterized? Who formed the household and what were the ties of kinship, law, and affection that bound the members together? David Herlihy explores these questions from ancient Greece to the households of fifteenth-century Tuscany, to provide a broad new interpretation of family life. In a series of bold hypotheses, he presents his ideas about the emergence of a distinctive medieval household and its transformation over a thousand years.

Ancient societies lacked the concept of the family as a moral unit and displayed an extraordinary variety of living arrangements, from the huge palaces of the rich to the hovels of the slaves. Not until the seventh and eighth centuries did families take on a more standard form as a result of the congruence of material circumstances, ideological pressures, and the force of cultural norms. By the eleventh century, families had acquired a characteristic kinship organization first visible among elites and then spreading to other classes. From an indifferent network of descent through either male or female lines evolved the new concept of patrilineage, or descent and inheritance through the male line. For the first time a clear set of emotional ties linked family members.

It is the author’s singular contribution to show how, as they evolved from their heritages of either barbarian society or classical antiquity, medieval households developed commensurable forms, distinctive ties of kindred, and a tighter moral and emotional unity to produce the family as we know it. Herlihy’s range of sources is prodigious: ancient Roman and Greek authors, Aquinas, Augustine, archives of monasteries, sermons of saints, civil and canon law, inquisitorial records, civil registers, charters, censuses and surveys, wills, marriage certificates, birth records, and more. This well-written book will be the starting point for all future studies of medieval domestic life.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: A Brief History of Equality, by Thomas Piketty, from Harvard University Press

Five Reasons Why You Should Read Thomas Piketty’s A Brief History of Equality

In his surprising and powerful new work, A Brief History of Equality, Thomas Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality. We asked him about his impassioned new book: why he wrote it, how it’s optimistic, and what we need to do to continue making progress on creating an equitable world.