antiquity, the nature of the transition from it to the mediaeval world, and the resultant structure and evolution of feudalism in Europe; regional divisions, both of. all 50% off! 1 day left. Passages-from-antiquity-to-feudalismst by Perry Anderson. Part of the Verso Paperback with free ebook. $$%. Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism (Verso World History Series) (): Perry Anderson: Books.

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Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, the companion volume to Perry Anderson's highly acclaimed and influential Lineages of the Absolutist State, is a . Developing considerations advanced in Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, this book situates the Absolutist states of the early modern epoch against the. Read "Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism" by Perry Anderson available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. The rise of the.

In fact he says that the elite used its political power to create huge estate at the expense of the poor and since the poor were also soldiers these developed loyalty to particular generals ready to take care of their interests rather than to a state something rather similar to what eventually destroyed Byzantium. A combination of resulting instability and the continuously raising taxes among other things, in order to support the apparatus of the Christian Church created an opening for Germanic tribes which conquered Rome.

While these tribes initially did not have large-scale unfree labor, their political leadership quickly perceived its advantages. With time large estates became the norm. Unlike in Rome though and unlike in Byzantium , the new states did not possess a highly developed bureaucracy and required a different way to run the state. The way eventually adopted was feudalism - a pyramidal structure in which everybody was dependent on somebody all the way up to the king.

The church, which at that time was the only body attempting to retain some of the culture of the classical world, was part of this in the sense that it employed unfree labor and owned land. The unusual component of Wstern feudal societies were the cities, where there was an assumption of social equality. The cities though were extremely important for encouraging trade and technological innovation.

Basically Anderson claims that feudalism was a mix of Roman and Germanic notions on how a society should look like, which could work in a framework where the level of culture was much lower than in Rome.

Perry Anderson

Anderson also says that the dynamism of Feudal societies, especially the more urbanized ones, created constant social tensions and, in many places, especially after the Black Death, the initially crushed peasant rebellions succeeded in freeing the peasantry to a large extent. White however argues that few inventions have been as simple as the stirrup, but few have had a catalytic effect on history. His theory also known as the Pirenne Thesis is one of his major contributions concerning the origins of the middle ages in reactive state formation and shifts in trade.

Pirenne dealt with the mechanisms of transformation in history. Rather, the barbaric invaders preserved Roman institutions in order to take advantage of them. Towns survived as the centers of cultural, ecclesiastical and administrative life, as well as the terminals of long-distance exchange systems.

Only with the Islamic invasions, says Pirenne, did this unity begin to dissolve. The West was separated from the East, from which until that time it had derived not only commodities, but more general cultural impulses. Trade became impossible, and this determines the extinction of markets based in towns and, consequently, the dissolution of the economic basis of urban life. The fundamental premise of this reconstruction is the concept of a strict relationship between town, market and long distance trade that Pirenne had formulated and believed that none could exist without the other.

The transition is described as the consequence of two concomitant processes, one of evolution, the other of disruption. For Pirenne, the Roman civilization, and with it the organization of the economy, society and administration of late Antiquity, was not interrupted by the Germanic invasions. Rather, they survived them for the simple reason that the invaders did not possess a different, equally effective, system So, Pirenne explained the structural change through two distinct, though inter-connected, circumstances: gradual transformation generated from within; and eventual collapse dealt by external forces.

The role of the latter was decisive, though its great consequence derives from its fusion with a pre-existing and independently activated process of decline. Of social relations and institutions, with which to replace them. According to Pirenne, the Mediterranean functioned no longer as a channel of commercial and intellectual communication between the east and the west, but rather as a barrier between two strikingly distinct, civilizations.

This was, according to Pirenne, the founding moment of feudalism in Europe. The West was forced to live upon its own resources.

Starting from this point, Pirenne starts to draw analogy, by stating that in the course of the eighth century, the urban life and the professional merchants disappeared, credit and contracts were no longer in use, the i porta e of riti g de reased, a d the for er e ha ge e o o as su stituted by an economy without markets.

This was in fact an economy of regression, occupied solely with the cultivation of the soil and the consumption of its products by the owners, where payments were largely rendered in kind and each estate aimed at supplying all its own needs.

As a result of su h o er ial paral sis, the possessio of la d ega to deter i e the ature and modes of social existence. This was termed by Pirenne as localization or ruralisation of economy. I prese t da defi itio it a e ter ed as a autark , ut histori all speaki g it would prove to be a misnomer. Many historians refused to admit that the growth of Islam had played such a decisive factor in the development of feudalism in Europe.

The studies of M. Sabbe on the commerce in precious commodities attempted to show that the Mediterranean trade was interrupted less completely than Pirenne had thought. Lopez Birth of Europe and Francisco Louis Ganshof The Carolingians and the Frankish and Feudalism demonstrated that there was still a considerable degree of commerce in the Mediterranean ports between the eighth and the tenth centuries. Their hypothesis is based on the findings of gold coin hoards and papyrus which were possibly imported from Egypt and surrou di g regio s.

Ga shof s apprehe sio here is that if trade had de li ed as is propounded by Pirenne then how these products reached Europe. Ho e er, Pire e s ork certainly inaugurated a closer scrutiny of the economic evidence, widened the field of historical inquiries and stimulated research in several new directions.

Moreover, in his later work History of Europe, Pirenne stated that due to the crusades between the Christians and the Muslims in the year , there was a noticeable revival in trade and which again led to a rise in the economic stature of Europe.

It is here that Pirenne contradicts his prior statement. Robert Brenner argues against Pirennes hypothesis since one entity, in this case trade, cannot be the sole cause of both decline in the economy ruralisation and opening up of the economy.

Furthermore, Brenner is of the view that Pirenne focuses too much on the trade aspect and due to this leaves out the various socio-economic factors that were working in order to fuel the transition. Largely moving away from both the restrictive legalistic view and the economic deterministic conceptualization of feudalis , the Fre h historia Mar Blo h hose to e plai the phe o e o e plori g the various for s of, hat he alled, the ties et ee a a d a.

He noticed that Western Europe was subjected to a number of foreign invasions. In the fifth century, for instance, the Germanic tribes had barged into the regions and had brought the grand edifice of the Roman Empire to pieces. This was followed by the Arab invasions. The Arabs in turn were follo ed the Mag ar s of Hungary and the series culminated into the Scandinavian raids in the tenth century.

All these invasions, according to Bloch created social chaos, political insecurity, and subsistence crisis.

Thus, everyone in Western Europe during the middle ages was searching for security and 7 subsistence. This search led to the formation of what Marc Bloch calls as the ties of i terdepe de e.

The group founded on blood relationship functioned both as a springboard of help and protection for the individual since it was during these times that the power of the state to provide such protection declined. In spite of several social and regional variatio s, Blo h argued, the pri iple of a hu a e us where one individual rendered himself as a subordinate to another permeated the whole life of feudal society.

Bloch did not consider the manor to have been a feudal organization in itself, though he agreed that it had positively assisted in extending the grip of feudalism over a much larger population. All sections of society entered into these ties; peasants surrendered their lands and resources to the local lord who promised them security and subsistence and returned the lands to them on condition of their cultivating his fields without being paid wages.

The local lord in turn, similarly, sought security and subsistence from the one more powerful than him by surrendering his lands etc.

The smaller lord thus became the vassal of the bigger lord. The process went on until everyone became the lord of some and the vassal of others except the king who was the vassal of none and the peasant who was the lord of none. These ties of interdependence also produced corresponding religious ideology and cultural ethos.

In all these views, the emergence of feudal society was attributed to some or the other dramatic event or events. Historia s ha e poi ted out that hile Blo h s ri h des riptio is extremely well aware of the constant though slow changes in the feudal society, there is no identification of a driving force of change or its decline.

Bloch describes, but often does not account for, the inner dynamism of the social process. Bloch has also been criticized on the grounds of a loose chronology, an inflexible conception of state and a dated conception of lineage. Also, Marc Bloch has been blamed to see serfdom as a voluntary process, although it as t so.

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The peasants had o other hoi e tha to surre der their i depe de e a d a ept their lord s sovereignty in the time of crisis. Moreover, Chris Wickham and others find that Bloch has neglected the socio-cultural reasons and the use of violence for the ties to take pla e.

This transition was a non-violent one would be entirely wrong to say, since any social change does not occur without the use of force or violence. A derso s a al sis contradicted the conventional characterization of feudalism as an economy of regression or an era of decline and disintegration.

The ost striki g feature of A derso s theor hi h o od else had atte pted to stud , although it was in front of their eyes all this time, was this theory which was termed by A derso as parcelizatio of so ereig ty. Under this hypothesis the class of feudal lords extracted the surplus from the peasants or the primary producers in various forms of labor services, rents in kind or customary dues. Its necessary result was a juridical amalgamation of economic exploitation with political authority; in Marxist terminology it is known as extra- economic coercion.

The peasant was subjected to the jurisdiction of his lord. At the same time, the property rights of the lord over his land were not absolute. His right in land was mediated at both ends through a lord who was his superior to whom he owed military obligations, and a vassal who was subordinate to him, who in turn owed him services and dues of various kinds.

The chain of such dependent tenures linked to military service extended upwards to the summit of the system — in most cases, a monarch — who in principle held all lands as his domain. The consequence of such a system was that political sovereignty was never focused on a single center. Anderson contended that while the functions of the State were thus disintegrated in a vertical allocation downwards, at each level the political and the economic relations were integrated.

In this way, according to him, the parcelization of sovereignty was constitutive of the whole feudal mode of production. Perry Anderson rather than basing on the classical Marxist approach, emphasizes on the political aspect of feudalism. Earlier the more a lord ould e pa d the e pire s territory, the more he came close to the influence of the monarch. But now due to the disintegration of the vertical allocation, as argued by Anderson, the king was no longer a strong entity and later became absent from the day to day ruling of the empire and whichever area the lord conquered was kept to himself.

And therefore the lord became the sole owner of his land. Here we see the emergence of small pockets of power. Also now the peasant was wholly under the rule of his lord and no one else, i.

Here we see that the ties of dependence as argued by Marc Bloch became strong and there was a shift from vertical ties to horizontal ones.

Anderson concentrated on a concept of labor debasing ideology. He says that due to decline of the Roman Empire the Germanic invaders started interacting with a much more civilized class and as a result large tracts of land were provided to them in order to feed their large armies. Gradually these army generals started to impose their rule over these tracts of land. It is for this reason, argues Anderson, that we see an uneven start of feudalism.

At first it co-existed with the ancient mode of production and was scattered around Europe. However he insists that the coming of a new mode of produ tio does t ea the disappearance of the old one. Both co-existed for some time and with time this balance shifted toward the feudal mode of production in 6th-7th century A. A derso hose to see the phe o e o as a s thesis of ele e ts released the concurrent dissolution of primitive-communal and slave modes of production.

In the real 10 historical scene, he insisted, the mode of production never existed in a pure state anywhere in Europe. He talked about the clash between the two modes of production, namely tribal mode and the slave mode.

With such convergence, a new mode of production arose which largely translated into the feudal mode of production. This theor largel rese le Hegel s theor of thesis- antitheses-synthesis.

The tribal mode of production is the thesis and which develops in to a comparatively advanced slave mode of production or anti thesis since it is the quite opposite of the tribal mode. After further development both these modes of production disappear and their characteristics fuse together form a synthesis or in this case the feudal mode of production.

The main point here is the continuous progression or development from one mode to the other which forms the basic crux of Hegelian triads. While he i sists o the atastrophi ollisio or lass struggle as the driving force which brings about both feudal society and its demise, his concentration on this single aspect leaves out the larger and more diverse picture of the feudal societies.

Gary blank believes that the central methodological failing of historical materialist analyses of Anderson is his refusal to o e e o d the lassi al modes of production that Marx and Engels identified. The problem here is not simply the number of modes available for consideration, but the way in which modes themselves have ee ide tified a d deli eated a ordi g to differe tial relatio s of produ tio. However the theory of other transitions propounded by Chris Wickham deals with all those things that have never been taken up.

Be it the mode of exploitation or the tilting balance between modes of productions, all these which have been researched by several scholars were not touched upon. This is the main beauty of this hypothesis offering something that has never been tried before. Although e here o t e dis ussi g o l the part e tio ed Wi kha ut e ould also delve into the other of the other tra sitions.

This theory was first inspired by the terming of feudalism as a sort of revolution. Major proponents of this theory included Georges Duby, T. They all term it as feudal revolution although afterwards they come under heavy criticism.

The contrast as he depicts it is not a simple one between peace before and violence after the millennium A. Unconstructive or not, Bisson depicts lords and their armed gangs as holding an ideology of violence.

Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism

The second set of problems raised by the 'feudal revolution' in its various guises is geographical and historiographical in nature. For the past fifteen years at least medievalists have listened to a debate about the mutation or revolution fe'odale conducted almost exclusively among French and English-speaking historians of France. The frontrunner in this debate was Guy Bois, who first termed the feudal transition from antiquity as a revolution. A major limitation in his study was that it was based on the facts collected from a small town in France called Lournand.

However Guy Bois gradually retreated from his hypothesis of terming it as a revolution. Gary Blank on the other hand offers a problem with the traditional Marxist terms. He believes that the ter s ode of produ tio a d relatio s of produ tio are pro le ati pre isel because they obscure the mutually constitutive nature of the political and the economic, suggesti g that the politi al superstru ture is so ethi g separate, a d deri a le, from the e o o i relatio s of produ tio.

Taking issue with classical Marxist discussions of feudalism, Benno Teschke and George Comninel have pointed to three social relations of lordship, not all of which were present at any given time during the medieval period. Firstly, personal or do esti lordship i. Secondly, the form of lordship which was over land, particularly the o ership of e te si e la ded estates. Thirdl a d ost i porta tl , banal laws or territorial power which denotes sovereign political powers of jurisdiction and command, enabling taxation of rural producers and aristocratic landowners alike.

This is precisely why the events associated with the feudal revolution were of such dramatic importance. Lords who previously relied only upon domestic and proprietary lordship significantly expanded their exploitative powers by instituting a host of new banal exactions, reducing the remaining free peasants to semi-servile status, argues Comninel.

Coming back to Chris Wickham, he deems to look at the term feudalism in broader sense. He takes help from Barry Hindess and Paul Hirst who in their book, Pre-Capitalist Modes of Production draw a distinction between the ancient mode of production and the slave mode.

The ancient mode, according to them, was non- exploitative and characterized by the control of a city-based citizen body over the immediate countryside. As Rome expanded, two major developments occurred.

But also, as Rome conquered the countryside and cities of Italy and the 12 Mediterranean, the ancient mode itself changed in type, becoming an exploitative mode; the public wealth of the city, initially in land, came to be in tribute or tax taken from proprietors in the subject countryside and, in the case of Rome itself, other subject cities.

This gradually developed into a wholesale taxation network. The feudal mode, has in much traditional Marxist analysis been seen as based on serfdom and the coercive political authority over tenants constituted by the seigneurie.

Hindess and Hirst regard this as too narrow and show that feudal relations are represented simply by tenants paying rent to a monopolistic landowner class; such landowners will always while the system is stable have the non-economic coercive powers necessary to enforce their control, whether informally or through their control of public or private justice, but these powers do not have to be formally codified in the seigneurial to exist. An important to note is that Feudalism here has nothing to do with military obligations, vassalage or the fief.

However Hindess and Hirst later reje ted this a al sis for its la k of rigor. The one breakthrough analysis that others failed to comprehend was provided by Wickham when he said that between one mode and another there is a break point; something cannot be, for instance, half-feudal and half-capitalist; feudal economic processes actually work differently from capitalist ones.Because of such narrow based definitions, present day historians thi k it e essar to restri t the use of feudalis o l to the spe ifi all voluntary and personal bonds of mutual protection, loyalty and support among the members of the administrative, military or ecclesiastical elite in medieval Europe, to the exclusion of the involuntary obligations attached to the unfree tenures.

Thus, everyone in Western Europe during the middle ages was searching for security and 7 subsistence. Brunner claimed that the switch to mounted warfare was first seen in the Battle of Poitiers in A. Although e here o t e dis ussi g o l the part e tio ed Wi kha ut e ould also delve into the other of the other tra sitions.

Therefore as far as the other i other transitions is concerned, Wickham is credited to shown a shift from rent to tax as means of surplus extraction, shift from mode of production to mode of exploitation, top-down approach to bottom-up approach and shift from the classical Marxist approaches to a more nuanced and holistic approaches inculcating economic as well as politico-social and cultural aspects.

Chris Wickham also blames Marxists since they failed to understand the internal and external factors and focused only on the external factors. Also now the peasant was wholly under the rule of his lord and no one else, i. The second part of the work sketches a comparative prospect of Absolutism in Eastern Europe.

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