Thursday, January 28, 2010

Council of Meaux vs. Slave Trade (from a book I've been reading some hours by now)

But the public protest of the Council of Meaux is another matter. Not only do these bishops condemn in blanket terms all West Frankish slave dealers ("huius regni"), explicitly including Christians and Jews, but they voice a concern which is striking in terms of the issue of scale. They viewed the export of slaves as a strategic threat to the Frankish kingdom: the numbers were great enough that they might affect the Franks' military competition with the Muslims. A monk at Monte Cassino voiced a like concern a generation later (above n38) ...[p. 774]

As an avid scholar I try to find a date for this Council of Meaux, and failing, I look up note 38 (of same chapter) for a date of "next generation", but first text:

In the words of a Lombard monk of Monte Cassino, the combination of civil war and Arab marauding were devastating southern Italy even as the shipment of Italian slaves had the opposite effect on the enemies of Christendom: "the places across the sea are bolstered by the male and female captivi of our race."

Footnote gives source and Latin original of quotation:

Erchembert, Historia Lang. Ben., 18, 241.11: "ultramarina loca captivis nostrae gentis diversi sexus et aetatis fulciebantur."[p. 736]

I was not avid enough to find the note where these texts are dated, but that I leave to better readers.

Is there an application for us, today? Well, if psychiatry is a place where your young ones may have to confront witches, both discrete ones in parts of personnel and stupid ones among fellow patients, and lots of other doctrinally aberrant people, the loss of Christendom may not be to "transmarina loca" but to something alien to Christendom being bolstered in our very midst - by the wrath of people having a hard time forgetting they were betrayed there by fellow Christians. Indeed, often enough by their family or parish, meaning only well as the phrase goes.

But this is peanuts from a book that has entertained me for hours! Its name is Origins of the European Economy, subtitled Communications and Commerce AD 300 - 900. Its author is Michael McCormick. And it has an Appendix 4 with 120 pages citing briefly original sources, mainly about travel. Last entry being from AD 968.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre, Université Paris X
Archeologie et Ethnologie

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