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Title: Peasants, patronage and taxation c.280-c.480
Author: Grey, C. A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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Relations between aristocratic landowners and agriculturalists in the late Roman period were part of systems of vertical alliance that were fluid, ambiguous and flexible. This thesis moves beyond theories of Patrocinium and the 'colonate of the late Roman Empire' to reconstruct those alliance systems. Three basic types of vertical interaction in rural contexts may be identified: tenancy, patronage and slavery. Peasants also interacted with aristocratic landowners in relations of casual or periodic labour, estate management and legal agency. It is argued that patronage for the purposes of tax evasion and registered tenancy were merely elements in these systems of vertical alliance. Chapter 1 addresses the attitudes of late Roman legislators and authors to patronage and registered tenancy through the language they employed in describing these phenomena. It will be demonstrated that these concepts continued to be analytically fluid, and did not crystallise into the institutions that have been labelled Patrocinium and the 'colonate' in the historiographical literature. In Chapter 2, late Roman rural labour relations are explored. It is argued that the analytical distinctions between the three categories of vertical alliance identified above mask a reality of blurred boundaries and elision of various relationships of dependence. In Chapter 3, those systems of vertical alliance are further contextualised within the social and economic world of the fourth and fifth centuries. It is argued that that world was characterised by 'landscapes of diversity', within which particular systems of interaction between peasants and aristocrats were necessarily adaptable and disparate. Those systems of interaction complemented and competed with patterns of horizontal organisation within individual rural communities, and between communities. It is upon these patterns of competition and complementarity that the tax system of the late Roman period was imposed in the late third century. Chapter 4 focuses upon the tax system, and the elements of it that contributed to the high visibility of structures of rural social organisation in the period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available