The Lands of Saint Ambrose: Monks and Society in Carolingian Milan [Hardback]

Ross Balzaretti (Author)

ISBN: 9782503509778 | Published by: Brepols | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English

The Lands of Saint Ambrose


This book provides a history of early medieval Milan that incorporates the as-yet underestimated role of the city's Benedictine monastery. This book is a history of Milan in the early medieval period. It investigates the political, social, and economic aspects of the transformation of the Roman world in one of its major centres. Its main theme is the role of monastic communities in this transformation. In the case of Milan a single monastery can be studied in great detail: the Benedictine community founded by Charlemagne, c. 789, next to the basilica in which St Ambrose himself was buried. Surprisingly, the impact which this important Carolingian foundation had upon the existing society of Milan has been underestimated by historians, partly because the history of the monastery has been studied apart from the history of the city. The book shows how successive generations of monks helped to change the social organisation of the city and much of its hinterland, largely through their substantial dealings in property as recorded in one of the most important surviving collections of early medieval charters. This thesis challenges the views of earlier generations of scholars who downplayed the role of the monastery in the mechanisms of social change, in favour of a ‘new’ mercantile class.

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