Legal Role­Playing and Storytelling in Early Medieval Francia

Date / time
Date(s) - 1 December
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


GHIL Lecture by Professor Alice Rio (London)

Alice Rio is Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London. An enduring problem in early medieval history is what to make of the legal material, which is abundant relative to the total surviving evidence (legislation, acts of prac-tice, models, old texts, new texts), and paints extremely contradictory pictures of contemporary legal practices both within and across legal genres. The lecture will try to show that this level of contradiction results from people calling on many different legal and cultural frameworks for representing their own actions, all potentially valid provided that they could be sold successfully to one’s audience: what mattered was success in getting others to play along through scene-setting and role-play. Alice Rio has written two books on early medieval legal and legal-ish practices: Legal Practice and the Written Word in the Early Middle Ages: Frankish Formulae, c.500–1000 (2009); and Slavery After Rome, 500–1100 (2017).

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