The And Germanic Comitatus : Social Models Of The Early Middle Ages

1275 Words Oct 17th, 2016 6 Pages
The monastery and Germanic comitatus were two social models of the Early Middle Ages. Monasticism is a religious way of life were one removes himself from society, giving up secular possessions and renouncing worldly ties so to fully devote himself to God and spiritual work. The comitatus is the Germanic war-band, a collection of men who give military service to a chieftain or warrior. While outwardly these two concepts appear to be very different, the two social structures share many core ideologies.
Monastic life and the war-band both placed a greater importance on the collective of the group over the individual. The collective sharing of property bound individuals. Monks lived together in poverty on monastic property. These localized, self-sufficient communities provided a remedy for weak government and social organization following the collapse of Roman infrastructure. Rural monasteries provided protection and support. They functioned as agricultural, economic, and production centers as well as a focus for spiritual life, making the monasteries self-sufficient. Members of the comitatus equally shared the plunder gained in battle. For example, Gregory of Tours relates that following the Battle of Soissons, the bishop of Reims writes to Clovis I, begging he return a sacred vase plundered from the church. When Clovis claims the vase has his part of the loot, a solider from the ranks smashes the ewer, declaring, “You shall get nothing here except what the lot fairly bestows…
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