Publication – Paul Oldfield, « Documenting the Past in Medieval Puglia, 1130-1266 »

Documenting the Past in Medieval Puglia, 1130-1266 explores the production of historical memory in the region of Puglia after it was subsumed within the new Kingdom of Sicily in 1130. It assesses the significance of the apparent disappearance of more traditional forms of Pugliese historical writing after 1130, and explores the existence of other historical discourses (beyond those solely preserved in the few ‘royal-centred’ high-status chronicles) which were embedded in surviving local documentation. The volume incorporates an extensive examination of charters and correspondence, an evidence-type yet to be fully utilised for this purpose in the study of medieval Puglia. Closely analysing the corpus of extant Pugliese charters and correspondence for the period of Norman-Staufen rule (1130-1266) in the kingdom reveals the existence of embedded ‘histories’.

One of the book’s key aims is to examine the role of both Pugliese individuals and communities, and ‘central agents’ (monarchy, papacy), in producing local historical memory, especially across phases of political upheaval and socio-cultural transformation. The charter evidence demonstrates the preservation and creation of multiple, intersecting public and private historical narratives and remembrances, developed to protect the past, present, and future. These ‘histories’ were the product of repeated encounters between local communities and centralised superstructures. We can, therefore, identify the vibrant production of local historical narratives and memories claimed by monastic, episcopal, professional, urban, and familial communities. As such this book contributes to a broader understanding of ‘use’ of the past and of the nuanced inter-relationship between ‘Centre’ and ‘Periphery’ in medieval polities.

Paul Oldfield’s research focuses primarily on the Medieval Mediterranean between 1000 and 1300, and specifically on southern Italy and Sicily. The main themes within his research revolve around urban communities, memory and saints’ cults, and pilgrimage. H has written numerous articles, and book chapters, co-edited two volumes, and produced three monographs, including Urban Panegyric and the Transformation of the Medieval City, 1100-1300 (OUP, 2019). Oldfield has been awarded research fellowships by the AHRC, British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust, and he is currently a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Manchester.

Information pratiques :

Paul Oldfield, Documenting the Past in Medieval Puglia, 1130-1266, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2023 ; 1 vol., 240 p. ISBN : 978-0-19287-090-2. Prix : GBP, 70,00.

Source : Oxford University Press

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