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Response to Review of The Carolingian World

The authors would like to thank the reviewer for his generous assessment and lucid summary of The Carolingian World. We largely concur with his historiographical comments on economic and social structures. We set out to write an analysis which is accessible and offers a taste of existing approaches, as we believe that there is a real gap here in the available literature. But we also feel that it is vital to move away from the well-worn notion of half-millennial transformation ‘from ancient to medieval’, and from tired debates pitting kings against aristocrats, or long-distance trade against agrarian exploitation. So in writing these sections we aimed to develop a new synthesis by structuring our discussion around the economic interactions between different social groups, and the interface between patterns of landownership and management of the agrarian surplus, showing that the Carolingian world needs to be understood in its own terms rather than as a fleeting moment on a historical railroad ‘from slavery to serfdom’. We therefore welcome the reviewer’s plea for further research located within this analytical framework.