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Exile in the Post-Roman Successor States, 439 – c.650

Mawdsley, Harold (2018) Exile in the Post-Roman Successor States, 439 – c.650. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis constitutes the first sustained attempt to examine the penalty of exile in the post-Roman west during the fifth, sixth, and early seventh centuries. Exile had long been a punishment under Roman Law and was frequently imposed in the various polities that replaced the Western Roman Empire. Previous scholarship that has discussed the topic of exile has generally taken a biographical approach, focusing on the impact of the penalty upon specific individuals’ lives, careers, and literary outputs. By contrast, this thesis keeps the subject of exile at the heart of the analysis and looks more closely at the broader legal, political, and social realities of the punishment. One of the central questions that this thesis addresses is why post-Roman kings banished their subjects, arguing that exile’s flexibility and, in particular, its capacity to remove individuals from the political sphere without bloodshed gave the penalty considerable utility. In addition, this thesis looks at the legal aspects of exile, reconstructing the ways in which legislators discussed the penalty in their laws and judges imposed it ‘on the ground’. In doing so, this thesis establishes that there was a high degree of consistency between the theory and practice of exile, whilst at the same time demonstrating that the penalty was often pragmatically adjusted to suit contemporary circumstances. This thesis also examines the lives of the banished to determine the extent to which their experiences corresponded with what the authorities wanted them to suffer. It contends that, although exile proved effective as a judicial punishment and political tool, the penalty was rather less useful as an instrument of religious coercion. Ultimately, by establishing the whys and wherefores of exile through a systematic analysis of the legal and literary evidence, this thesis demonstrates the significance of the penalty to the legal, political, and religious histories of the post-Roman successor states.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Harold Mawdsley
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 08:07
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2019 08:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24564

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