Siria's Reviews > The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300

The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300 by Theodore Evergates
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's review
Oct 08, 10

bookshelves: european-history, french-history, history, nonfiction
Read from October 06 to 08, 2010

This is a really fascinating, authoritative analysis of the lives of aristocrats and their families in the Champagne during the High Middle Ages. Evergates builds a prosopographical picture of their lives and examines how family relationships were changed by, and helped to influence, the political development of the county. Chapter 4, which looks at the centrality of the 'conjugal unit'—of the married couple—to social relationships, is the most interesting and perhaps the most controversial of the book. Evergates rejects Duby's influential theory as to the internal relationships of noble families, arguing that patrilineal/agnatic descent was not predominant in the Champagne during this period—bilaternal/cognatic inheritance was rather the order of the day. It's a convincing thesis, and one which I think provides a good departure point for future, similar regional studies of familial relationships during this time period.

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