Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts with University Honors




Hysell, Jesse


Peasant Economics, Early Medieval Spain, Medieval Studies, Socio-Economic History, Peasant Studies


The early medieval period in Europe (~400-1000 CE) was one of immense political, economic, and social change in Europe, following the collapse of the western Roman Empire and the rise of the post-Roman kingdoms that followed. A consistent question in this period has been the nature of peasant society during this time, and how the changes observed in Europe affected this section of society, which made up the largest portion of society across this period. The study focuses on the condition of peasants in the Iberian peninsula, and how the collapse of the Roman state apparatus, the rise of new political entities, the Arab conquest in the 8th century, and the rise of new monastic and aristocratic institutions all contributed to a dynamic peasant society, that eventually was subdued to the power of a new elite class. These findings are supported by textual and archaeological evidence, as well as through comparisons to findings in other parts of Europe to confirm these conclusions. These findings also contribute to the study of peasant economies more generally, as they conform in many ways to the theories produced by Alexander Chayanov regarding the nature of peasant agriculture and the motivations behind peasant labor.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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