In the growth of towns and the revival of commerce, historians have seen the development of a bourgeois and capitalist Europe, but Pierre Riche reminds us that Carolingians saw a world of forest and wasteland, in which scattered castles and villages were outposts against the savagery of nature, bands of outlaws, and a myriad of pagan superstitions. Daily Life in the World of Charlemagne gives us a vivid and deeply textured picture of the fear and insecurity that drove people, great and humble alike, to draw together with one ather, with their stronger neighbors, and with God and His saints, in search of protection and sustenance. Riche makes extensive use of modern social history techniques and the tools of new studies on nutrition, disease, demography, and climatology, as well as art history and archaeology, to comprehend the Carolingian mentality and reconstruct the material culture of the early European world.
Pierre Riche is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at the University of Paris X (Nanterre) and Former Director of the Center for Research in Late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages. He is the author of The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.