Prosperity and Power in the Age of Bede and Beowulf


in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 117

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262795
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753954 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Prosperity and Power in the Age of Bede and Beowulf

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This chapter considers the evidence for rural wealth in the seventh and eighth centuries in the country which was to become England. It demonstrates that the expansion of international trade and the proliferation of coinage created the conditions for a shift in balance, and for the first time the means became available to turn rural surpluses into something like treasure. The movement of two separate economies towards convergence increased the potentiality of kingship.

Keywords: rural wealth; England; international trade; coinage; kingship; prosperity; power; Bede; Beowulf

Chapter.  11027 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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