Medieval Households – David Herlihy Harvard

1) Medieval Households – David Herlihy
Harvard University Press | 1985 | PDF

How should the medieval family be characterized? Who formed the household and what were the ties of kinship, law, and affection that bound the members together? David Herlihy explores these questions from ancient Greece to the households of fifteenth-century Tuscany, to provide a broad new interpretation of family life. In a series of bold hypotheses, he presents his ideas about the emergence of a distinctive medieval household and its transformation over a thousand years.

Ancient societies lacked the concept of the family as a moral unit and displayed an extraordinary variety of living arrangements, from the huge palaces of the rich to the hovels of the slaves. Not until the seventh and eighth centuries did families take on a more standard form as a result of the congruence of material circumstances, ideological pressures, and the force of cultural norms. By the eleventh century, families had acquired a characteristic kinship organization first visible among elites and then spreading to other classes. From an indifferent network of descent through either male or female lines evolved the new concept of patrilineage, or descent and inheritance through the male line. For the first time a clear set of emotional ties linked family members.

It is the author’s singular contribution to show how, as they evolved from their heritages of either barbarian society or classical antiquity, medieval households developed commensurable forms, distinctive ties of kindred, and a tighter moral and emotional unity to produce the family as we know it. Herlihy’s range of sources is prodigious: ancient Roman and Greek authors, Aquinas, Augustine, archives of monasteries, sermons of saints, civil and canon law, inquisitorial records, civil registers, charters, censuses and surveys, wills, marriage certificates, birth records, and more. This well-written book will be the starting point for all future studies of medieval domestic life.

Traces the history of family life during the Middle Ages and examines medieval marriages, childhood, motherhood, and fatherhood.

2) Medieval Culture and Society – David Herlihy
Palgrave Macmillan UK | 1968 | PDF

This anthology of judiciously selected sources concerned with medieval society and culture presents an intriguing view of Western society from its emergence as a distinctively “European” culture in the early Middle Ages (ca. 500-1000), to the burgeoning scholarship and literary and artistic expression of the central Middle Ages (ca. 1000-1350), and the dislocations and disasters of the closing Middle Ages (ca. 1350-1500). The documents presented for each period are intended to serve two purposes: an initial selection illustrates the society and the social milieu of the period, while the second group of readings provides examples of the chief forms of literary expression and illuminates some of the characteristic cultural attitudes of the age. Many ideas and ideals of the Middle Ages have exerted a permanent influence upon the culture of the modern world and have been a permanent source of enrichment for it. Readers will come away from this collection moved to a deeper appreciation of this truly fascinating period of history, as well as a wider interest in the rich and still living heritage of the medieval world.