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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1202: 'Melior est subjecta servitus': Looking for Slaves in the Early Medieval West

Wednesday 8 July 2015, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Centre for Renaissance & Medieval Studies, University of Edinburgh
Organiser:Thomas J. MacMaster, School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Moderator/Chair:Marek Jankowiak, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
Paper 1202-aDiscerning Slaves in Early Medieval British and Irish Sources
(Language: English)
Janel M. Fontaine, Department of History, King's College London
Index terms: Archives and Sources, Charters and Diplomatics, Daily Life, Economics - General
Paper 1202-b'British' Slaves and the Remaking of West Saxon Elite Landscapes in the Reign of King Ecgberht
(Language: English)
Robert Briggs, Independent Scholar, London
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Geography and Settlement Studies, Local History, Social History
Paper 1202-cMerchants and Conquerors?: The Trade in British Slaves to the Continent in the Early Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Thomas J. MacMaster, School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Daily Life, Demography, Economics - Trade, Historiography - Medieval

Each of these three papers presents a new path in studying the ubiquity of slavery in Early Medieval Britain, a subject that has, until recently, been largely ignored. The first paper re-examines literary sources from the British Isles to determine the distinctions between chattel slaves, captives for ransom, and hostages and to discover to what extent raiding was intended for the creation of slaves. The second paper uses a different methodology, seeking through the spatial and material context of place-names to search for evidence of the presence of slaves in Wessex. The last paper will then examine evidence for the presence of slaves from these Isles exported to the continent.