Approaches to Poverty in Medieval Europe

In a new book on “Approaches to Poverty in Medieval Europe” Sharon Farmer and a number of medievalists explores different aspects of poverty before and after the late medieval crisis

Approaches to Poverty in Medieval Europe: Complexities, Contradictions, Transformations, c. 1100-1500 
by Sharon Ann Farmer (Ed)
Series: International Medieval Research (Book 22)
Brepols Publishers 2016
Language: English
ISBN-10: 2503555470
ISBN-13: 978-2503555478


The essays in this volume re-examine two major medieval turning points in the relationship between rich and poor: the revolution in charity of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and the era of late medieval crises when the vulnerability of the poor increased dramatically and charitable generosity often declined. Drawing on a variety of sources from England, France, the Low Countries, Italy, and Iberia, the contributors to this volume add new perspectives on the agency of the poor, the influence of gendered forms of devotion, parallels in Christian and Jewish representations of the deserving and undeserving poor, and the effect of mendicant piety on the status of the involuntary poor. A broader implication of the volume as a whole is that medieval studies of poverty and wealth need to pay more attention to the role of rulers, ruling elites, and public policy in shaping the experiences of the poor.


  • Approaches to Poverty in Medieval Europe CoverIntroduction — SHARON FARMER
  • Hospitals, Charity, and the Culture of Compassion in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries — ADAM J. DAVIS
  • Impoverished Free Litigants in Thirteenth-Century Property Disputes — JANICE MUSSON
  • R. Eliezer of Metz’s Twelfth-Century Exclusion from Charity of the Jewish Avaryan B’mezid (‘Deliberate Transgressor’) — ALYSSA M. GRAY
  • From Saint Francis to Salimbene di Adam: Begging in the Early Franciscan World, c. 1210–80 — ALLISON EDGREN
  • Temptation and the Medieval Italian Inquisition — JILL MOORE
  • Rich and Poor in Western Europe c. 1375–1475: The Political Paradox of Material Wellbeing — SAMUEL K. COHN JR.
  • Feeding the Poor in a City at War. The Almoina of Barcelona During the Catalan Civil War (1462–72) —POL SERRAHIMA I BALIUS
  • Rich Master, Poor Master: The Economic Standing of School Teachers in Late Medieval France — SARAH B. LYNCH
  • The Poor and Their Power: Images of Poor Women in Medieval Literature and Art — ANNE M. SCOTT


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