IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1305: Myths of Manumission: Comparative Perspectives on 'Social Rebirth'

Wednesday 8 July 2015, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Organiser:David Wyatt, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Moderator/Chair:Jonathan Shepard, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford
Paper 1305-a'For the redemption of his father's soul and his own': Cultural and Symbolic Perspectives on Manumission in Anglo-Saxon Society
(Language: English)
David Wyatt, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Lay Piety, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 1305-bReborn or Reformed: Forms of Manumission and Forms of Freedom from the Ancient to the Early Modern Times
(Language: English)
Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz, Department of Classics, Tel Aviv University
Index terms: Anthropology, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 1305-cTied to St John: Conditions on Manumission by the Knights of St John
(Language: English)
Nicholas McDermott, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Index terms: Crusades, Mentalities, Monasticism, Social History
Abstract

There is an established historiographical orthodoxy that manumission documents constitute evidence for a decline in slavery in the medieval context. This assumes that slave numbers were diminishing through ecclesiastical influence; that medieval churchmen actively encouraged slave owners to free slaves. Yet, there is no evidence that the Church campaigned for the abolition of slavery or even that slavery was viewed as immoral. Moreover, cross-cultural studies have revealed that manumission constitutes a vital component underpinning many slave-holding societies across time. Taking a comparative approach and employing economic and cultural perspectives, this session will examine whether manumission perpetuated slavery rather than ending it.