Issue 10 (84)
Dynamic Middle Ages: Legal and Social Mechanisms of Change in Medieval Europe
Volume: 10
Publication date: 15.12.2019
1000 RUB / 10.0 SU


The researchers have long stopped considering the medieval society “stagnant” or halted in its development. On the contrary, the changes that took place in West European society during the medieval and early modern periods prevent us from characterising it as a “traditional society”. But the nature of the dynamics that the West assumed during the Middle Ages remains unstudied yet.

The articles of the issue “Dynamic Middle Ages” are trying to answer this question, each in its own way. They discuss the peculiarities of information transmission between different regions, countries, and institutions; features of a personal choice of an individual in a difficult situation that calls for decisions hardly within the existing norms; interaction of cultural traditions which combination could produce an unexpected effect. Often an individual or collective choice that seemed to be dictated by momentary circumstances could lead to far-reaching consequences that consolidated the change of the norm and sometimes changed the trajectory of the society’s development.

The section “Outside of Own Territory: Reflection of Law in Non-Legal Texts” contains articles prepared on the basis of reports presented at the conference of the series “Law in the Medieval World” in autumn 2018.

The authors focus on the features of the description (understanding) in medieval non-legal texts of such elements of the legal system as the protection of justice, lawmaking, litigation, ensuring rights, formalizing a legal act, as well as the symbolism of legal norms. Researchers try to analyze whether they were recognized as parts of something in common or existed in different areas of “social representations”, and how “individual” or, on the contrary, “collective” were these ideas? Several articles also deal with knowledge of legal norms in those periods when their fixation was very limited and unsystematic. The relationship of legal sources of a certain period and region, we most often find, studying the extralegal issues.

As studies in this section show, the description of situations related to law system in non-legal texts allows you to get closer to understanding the social role of law in medieval society, and also expand the range of sources for studying the history of law.

Issue publications 10 (84)
Dynamic Middle Ages
Outside of Own Territory: Reflection of Law in Non-Legal Texts
Scholarly Life