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This study concerns the Benedictine monastery of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan, a unique and important institution because it was the first monastery in Italy to be founded under the aegis of the Carolingian family (c. 879). It is the first book-length study in English of one of the most important groups of early Italian charters, a type of document now widely acknowledged to be full of information about the social history of what were once imagined to be the Dark Ages. Using detailed evidence of some 300 charters, the book develops the thesis that Sant'Ambrogio played an essential part in the development and expansion of a complex urban society at Milan in the Carolingian period because the monks touched the lives of both 'great men' and the 'new society' of notaries, merchants, judges and moneyers. By writing monastic history as the history of a relationship between monastery and society the study demonstrates that it was the monastery of Sant'Ambrogio, as much as any other institution or individual, which gave birth to a genuinely urban society. The book therefore challenges the widely-held view that urban monasteries were less important in ninth-century political history than the great rural houses such as Fulda, St Gallen, Bobbio and San Vicenzo al Volturno, and contributes a new thesis to explain the revival of towns in this period. Finally, The Lands of Saint Ambrose provides a fully-documented example of how early medieval social history can be written from a major charter group.
Buy The Lands of Saint Ambrose Monks and Society in Carolingian Milan (Studies in the Early Middle Ages) by R. Balzaretti from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9782503509778 & 2503509770
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