Friday, June 25, 2010

The 2 1/2 orders?

The 2 1/2 Orders?

Following on tenthmedieval's comment on this post, and a conversation at the massive group exam read of last week, I have some thoughts.

The conversation was about the F word at first. A group of us were talking, me, a Late Antique person, a very modern person, and two high school teachers. I mentioned the F word, and one of the high school teachers said, as they often do, "but wait, I always teach the Feudal Pyramid -- it's in the textbook! What am I supposed to tell them?" Me being me, I said, "well, really, that's a model that has been pretty much abandoned. Textbooks tend not to be written by medieval specialists, so the information is often very outdated. If it were a university course, there's a good chance that the first half would be taught by someone who was a pre-modernist, and they'd correct the misrepresentations." So we talked a bit about feudalism and Peggy Brown, and Susan Reynolds, and Chris Wickham, and manorialism, and other such things... like Duby and the Three Orders and how a feudal obligation is between members of the same social group.

Fast forward to the last post.

Because what do you do with the three orders? it doesn't really work unless 'those who pray' are really the low-level monks -- except that in the Early Middle Ages, at least, even monks tend to be not from the lower echelons of society. And if we look at the people who are at the top of the ecclesiastical food chain, so to speak, they are members of the leading families. Their brothers and fathers are comitesand duces -- and even kings. And yet we have a model that is based on lines that we see more and more to be very fluid between the first two orders. By birth, they are largely the same people. And yet, so much of the existing scholarship of the past, oh... hundred years? has created an understanding of society that means that we always seems to express some sort of surprise, or at least forceful assertion, when we find something that indicates that the interests of ecclesiastics and laity were often the same, and were intertwined. And yet, it is only logical. So where do we go from here, to get to where we can start really changing our models? Or should we?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

this confuses me

This confuses me

SO I'm in the British Library, more falling asleep than working (I only got here yesterday morning, and had only three hours' sleep Tuesday night), and read something I've read over and over for years... basically, an author states that lay elites and ecclesiastical elites had similar interests. In this case, we're talking about charters. But really, is this supposed to be a surprise? Because I thought it was pretty clear by now that we are talking about the same people, by and large. Yes, ecclesiastics do have additional interests, because their allegiance is, or should be, somewhat divided.* But hasn't there been enough work done, at least for the Franks, that we can now assume that the two groups are generally related to each other by kinship, and that, especially in the cases of proprietary churches and monasteries (or royal ones), the holders of ecclesiastical office are doing it precisely because they are connected by blood to the lay elites?

Or am I missing something important?

*should be in the sense that they are supposed to be looking out for the church's property and interests, whoever their relatives.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Carnivalesque 63

Carnivalesque 63

Hey everybody!!!1

Carnivalesque 63 is up at The Cranky Professor. It's full of all sorts of fun stuff, so take a break and read!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010



Hey all -- the next Carnivalesque is coming up this coming weekend at Cranky Professor Please, send him links at crankyprofessor AT gmail DOT com!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Regarding my faith in the UK education system

Regarding my faith in the UK education system...

"Professor Rick Trainor has been awarded an honorary knighthood (KBE) for services to higher education. The award is honorary due to his American nationality. Commenting on the award, the Chairman of Council of King’s College London, Lord Douro, said, ‘Rick Trainor has been a tireless advocate for King’s and for British universities more generally. In particular, he has helped to develop the alumni programme and raise significant sums for the College, and has helped improve the estate of King’s, not least through the acquisition of the East Wing of Somerset House. He has also helped shape the improved academic profile of the College and done much to further the student experience at King’s. This award is well deserved.’"

Like f*#k.

'nuff said. Feel free to leave furious comments below.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

back, kinda sorta

back, kinda sorta

So I've done my last deadlined report for work. I'm burnt out. So today is a me, me, me day! It says something about my life lately that this means I am doing one thing for my department, and otherwise cleaning, doing laundry, handling personal finance because it looks like I've bought a house, and getting ready to start a series of posts on my first year with tenure. And going to Target and buying shoes online.

see you soon!