208 pages, b/w illustrations
Water and Society in Early Medieval Italy, AD 400-1000 offers an original discussion of an element – water – and its relationship with people. In particular it shows how early medieval Italian societies coped with the problems of having too much or too little water, and analyses their use of it. Such treatment illuminates the workings both of post-classical societies and of the environments in which these societies lived. Domestic usage, bathing, irrigation and drainage, fishing, and milling all receive full coverage. This is an original, interdisciplinary study which proves that even after the 'fall' of Rome, people continued a dialectical relationship with the natural resources that shaped their experiences just as decisively as their efforts redesigned the waterscape. It will be of interest not only to Italianists: historians of technology, agrarian, social, and cultural historians, and environmental historians will all find much that is stimulating.
"[...] a fascinating book [...] Squatriti masterfully uncovers an astonishing array of textual information [...] Water offers an excellent window from which to observe the supposed transition from Roman to medieval."
- Bryn Mawr, Classical Review
"[...] a concise but penetrating study of the ecological, technological, institutional, and cultural factors that shaped the perceptions and use of water in early medieval Italy"
- Economic History Review
1. Water for everyday use
2. Water, baths, and corporeal washing
3. The wet and the dry: water in agriculture
4. Water, fish, and fishing
5. Water and milling in early medieval Italy
6. Conclusion: the hydrological cycle in the early Middle Ages
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