The Economic and Social Foundations of European Civilization

By Alfons Dopsch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X THE DEVELOPMENT OF TOWN LIFE

NO aspect of early medieval civilization has received so little attention from social and economic historians as town life. This is chiefly due to the prevailing theory that the Roman dries had entirely perished at the time of the migrations, and that even after the migrations the Germans hesitated to settle in towns,1 On the basis of recent archaeological investigations, I have, earlier in this book, demonstrated in detail the fallacies of this theory. We saw that at an early date the Germans settled in the old Roman dries themselves. Proof of this is found in particular in the cemeteries of the early German period, and in the continuity evinced by inscriptions on tombstones, e.g. in Mainz,2 Worms,3 and elsewhere.

There remains to be answered the objection raised by Sombart to the theory of a continuous development. It is, he says, "thoughtless" to speak of a close connection between Roman and early medieval town life, since even where an external continuity seems apparent no sort of internal continuity of development is perceptible.4 This is indeed a surprising statement from a scholar who has so stoutly opposed the dependence of economic history on legal history, and has stated that the former should aim at describing conditions as they actually were.5 Research work in this field, however, has been grossly inadequate.

The methodological error, from which the dogma of the continual decline of the Roman urban system in the Frankish kingdom has suffered, has aptly been pointed out in the following passage: "Scholars again and again have confined their study to the one or two Roman dries in Germany and have naturally found no proofs there of a continuance of Roman methods; we, in Germany, have never gone on to examine the much richer material of the West, but have tried to conceal the uncertainty of our position by proclaiming it to be the natural and scientific one. Instead of proofs, the names of those holding identical views have been invoked."6

The development of research has been most significant in France. There, while earlier scholars were almost all united in their belief in the continuity of Roman urban types, others declared that in the absence of reliable sources for the early development of towns in the Middle Ages nothing could be certain; a number of modern scholars have now challenged this theory.7

The old Roman municipal constitution was not maintained in its original form. Changes no doubt took place, but these had already started in late Roman times. Certainly there was no room for the Roman constitution in the founding of the new German kingdoms. Royal authority brought the dries, too, into

____________________
1
See above, 70 ff.
2
See above, 74 ff.
3
See above, 75 ff.
4
Der moderne Kapitalismus, 2nd edit., 1, 145 ( 1916).
6
E. Mayer, Deutsche u. französ., VG., 1, 284 f. ( 1899).
7
See Germ. edit., ii2, 345 ff.

-303-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Economic and Social Foundations of European Civilization
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 406

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.