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Cultures in Motion$
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Daniel T. Rodgers, Bhavani Raman, and Helmut Reimitz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159096

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159096.001.0001

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From Patriae Amator to Amator Pauperum and Back Again

From Patriae Amator to Amator Pauperum and Back Again

Social Imagination and Social Change in the West Between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Ca. 300–600

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter 3 From Patriae Amator to Amator Pauperum and Back Again
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Cultures in Motion
Author(s):

Peter Brown

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691159096.003.0004

This chapter examines the ways in which classical, Christian, and Jewish practices of public-spirited gifts, justice, and civic charity converged in European cities between late antiquity and the early middle ages, ca. 300–600. More specifically, it looks at changes in the social imagination of populations of the Roman and post-Roman, Latin West throughout these centuries. It shows how the forms and recipients of gift-giving practices were altered: the poor displaced the citizenry; the horizons of charity expanded out beyond the locality; its social terms grew bleaker even as its spirit grew more exalted. The chapter considers how these shifting practices gave rise to new forms of “pastoral” power and an understanding of wealth, poverty, and society that heralded the beginnings of Western modernity and displaced a “classical,” pointedly civic notion of society.

Keywords:   justice, civic charity, social imagination, Latin West, gift-giving, pastoral power, wealth, poverty, society, modernity

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