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The Long Seventh Century

Continuity and Discontinuity in an Age of Transition

Edited By Alessandro Gnasso, Emanuele E. Intagliata and Thomas J. MacMaster

This volume represents a selection of papers presented at the 2013 Edinburgh Seventh Century Colloquium, showcasing the latest scholarship from a rising generation of academics. The volume traverses the globe from Iran to the Atlantic and from Sweden to the Sahara and ranges from the establishment of the early Islamic state to the beginnings of English Christianity. Topics include the transmission of high culture across time, settlement patterns in a rapidly changing world and the formation of new and emerging identities. The essays also bring into dialogue a wide range of disciplinary and methodological perspectives, including archaeology, literature, history, art, papyrology and economics. Together, they generate valuable new insights into the still uncharted territories of the long seventh century.
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Approaches to the Frankish Community in the Chronicle of Fredegar and Liber Historiae Francorum



Notions of community are crucial to how we understand our place in society and our role in the world around us. Of course, very few people consider themselves to belong to just one community, and the interactions between the different communities to which we belong are intrinsic in forming our self-identities. Yet the precise meanings of communal identities can change based on the perceptions of those who identify as part of a community, even when the label used remains the same. A person living in the UK today may identify as British, English, Scottish etc., but these labels do not necessarily mean the same thing as they did in the first half of the twentieth century or in the nineteenth century. This was just as true in the early medieval period as it is today, although the only witnesses we have to notions of identity and community in the pre-modern era are the surviving sources – whether written or archaeological.2 While this means we have a more limited pool of opinions to draw upon, it seems reasonable to assume that our sources generally reflect the prevalent discourses of the ← 61 | 62 → times at which they were produced, even if – as we shall see – each source provides an individual perspective on these discourses.3

The purpose of this paper is to examine the notion of Frankish community – that is, the communal identity of those living within the regnum Francorum – as it emerged, developed and changed during the seventh...

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