A meal made fit by a king : influence of production, trade, tibute, and feasting on anglo-saxon kingship


The rise of Anglo-Saxon kingship has many influences, yet current scholarly discussion tends to focus on a select few. This thesis aims to analyze an oft-ignored factor in the development of kingship in Anglo-Saxon England. By discussing the influences of domestic production, international trade, food-based tribute, and royal feasting on Anglo-Saxon kingship from the fifth to the eleventh centuries, the role of food consumption in the development of kingship can be articulated. This thesis begins with a discussion of the practices of Anglo-Saxon domestic food production. Systems of agriculture and animal husbandry are analyzed, along with the various methods used to procure domestic prestige foods. This chapter explores the links between conceptions of land ownership and the legitimacy of kingly rule. A discussion of international trade in prestige food follows, analyzing the ways in which the developing relationship between Anglo-Saxon England and the European Continent shaped internal and external conceptions of kingship. Following this chapter, a discussion of the variant chronological forms of Anglo-Saxon kingship is pursued. This discussion culminates in a case study of the collection of food-rents throughout the Anglo-Saxon occupation of England, revealing the connections among land ownership, status goods, and long-distance organization in the rise of kingship. An analysis of the development of Anglo-Saxon feasting follows, displaying the links between the use of prestige foods and relationships based on systems of obligations in solidifying Anglo-Saxon kingship. A general discussion follows, during which the combined influences of production, trade, tribute, and feasting on Anglo-Saxon kingship are made manifest. Finally, an overview of this thesis' findings is presented, along with suggestions for further study.


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Thesis Completion



Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program



Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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