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The World before Domesday; The English aristocracy, 871-1066. (reprint 2008).


The World before Domesday; The English aristocracy, 871-1066. (reprint 2008)

Williams, Ann.

Continuum Publishing Group


240 pages



In her introduction Williams notes that Anglo-Saxon society is often imagined as unchanging from the sixth century to the Norman Conquest of 1066. To rectify this erroneous impression, her study covers aristocracy in England in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Using primary sources as much as possible, including data from archaeological sites and numismatics, she describes the strata of aristocracy. For each of three levels she emphasizes two or three individuals to personalize the historical records and then investigates the ways in which status was identified by property, birth, and power among the groups. The ways in which social standing was displayed, from clothing and other possessions to the endowing of churches and monasteries, is another topic, not often treated on its own. The final chapter, on the "aristocratic pursuits" of hunting, hawking and feasting, is full of fascinating detail. The focus of the work is on aristocratic laymen, and it succeeds in bringing them to life. The neglect of powerful Anglo-Saxon women might lead the reader to believe they had little influence at that time. In all other regards, Williams has done an excellent job. This is a paperbound reprint of the 2008 clothbound edition.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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