The Village World of Early Medieval Northern Spain

The Village World of Early Medieval Northern Spain

Local Community and the Land Market

Robert Portass


Royal Historical Society



The pattern of rural life in early medieval Spain is here vividly brought to life through careful examination of contemporary documents.
In the early eighth century, the Muslim general Tariq ibn Ziyad led his forces across the Straits of Gibraltar and conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula. However, alongside the flourishing kingdom of al-Andalus, the small Christian realm of Asturias-León endured in the northern mountains. This book charts the social, economic and political development of Asturias-León from the Islamic conquest to 1031. Using a forensic comparative method, which examines the abundant charter material from two regions of northern Spain - the Liébana valley in Cantabria, and the Celanova region of southern Galicia - it sheds new light on village society, the workings of government, and the constant swirl of buying, selling and donating that marked the rhythms of daily life. It also maps the contact points between rulers and ruled, offering new insights on the motivations and actions of both peasant proprietors and aristocrats.

Robert Portass is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Lincoln.


May 2017
6 line illustrations
239 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series
ISBN: 9780861933440
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Royal Historical Society
BISAC HIS037010, HIS045000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The making of medieval Iberia, 711-1031
Cantabria after Rome
Local society in the ninth century
The emergence of a village elite
Kings, counts and courts
Galicia after Rome
Before Celanova
Rosendo, Celanova and the village world, 936-1031
Magnates, monasteries and the public framework

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