7th-century Coptic and Greek ostraca from Thebes account for the flight of Egyptian Christians from the Sasanian rule to Egypt’s remote areas. The letters reveal fiscal or religious issues. This is particularly intriguing considering the Sasanian conquest of the Byzantine provinces as the prime agent for change in the east. While much attention has been recently paid to the Sasanian attempt to integrate, continue, and renew the Byzantine legal and fiscal systems, there is a need for a greater insight into the religious policy of the Sasanians. In spite of several late Sasanian martyrdoms known usually of individuals from high-born Zoroastrian families such as Anastasius, one of the most tenacious views is the notion that after the 5th century there were no persecutions. The epistolary evidence from Thebes should not blind us to a range of possibilities that transcended a purely instrumental reason of taxation. Appreciating the complexities surrounding this topic, this paper examines the documentary material to allowing for a re-appraisal of the relationship between the Sasanian state and its subject. It will suggest that the exodus of secular and ecclesiastic men and women was the natural locus of resistance to tyranny and a long-standing part of the Byzantine-Sasanian political renewal.
Monastic and urban scholars have firmly established that religious communities and urban society were often inextricably linked in Angevin England. Utilising on-going research into the cartularies of St Mary’s Abbey in York and Holy Trinity, Aldgate in London, I aim to highlight several intricacies of lay-religious relationships and monastic activity through in-depth case studies. Specifically, I will examine efforts made by institutions to record not only grants, but also wider proprietary history of their own, and surrounding, lands. So doing allows observation of the development, change, and renewal of urban networks from the perspective of two powerful monastic houses.
Chaucer’s Franklin in the Canterbury Tales appears as the embodiment of the ‘new man’, who has feudal origins as a freeholder but presents himself as a member of landed gentry, which problematises his social status. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to discuss the Franklin’s desire for social reform, which would grant him a social status as a money-made man, who has held many administrative duties such as justice of peace and knight of the shire and thus claims ‘gentillesse’. Hence, his concern with display of food and hospitality at his home and his tale will be analysed as the products of the Franklin’s desire for social acceptance, which might come only through a social reform.