The Charisma of Distant Places : Travel and Religion in the Early Middle Ages book cover
1st Edition

The Charisma of Distant Places
Travel and Religion in the Early Middle Ages

ISBN 9780367137359
Published July 29, 2019 by Routledge
248 Pages 1 Color & 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This cultural history of early medieval travel and religion reveals how movement affected society, demonstrating the connectedness of people and regions between 500 and 850 CE. In The Charisma of Distant Places, Courtney Luckhardt enriches our understanding of migration through her examination of religious movement. Vertical links to God and horizontal links to distant regions identified religious travelers – both men and women – as holy, connected to the human and the divine across physical and spiritual distances. Using textual sources, material culture, and place studies, this project is among the first to contextualize the geographic and temporal movement of early medieval people to reveal the diversity of religious travel, from the voluntary journeys of pilgrims to the forced travel of Christian slaves. Luckhardt offers new ways of understanding ideas about power, holiness, identity, and mobility during the transformation of the Roman world in the global Middle Ages. By focusing on the religious dimensions of early medieval people and the regions they visited, this book addresses probing questions, including how and why medieval people communicated and connected with one another across boundaries, both geographical and imaginative.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations




 1 Practicalities of early medieval travel

 2 Contested space, sacred space in the Holy Land

 3 The pull of Rome

 4 Monastic migration and social motion

 5 Unfreedom and religious migrations





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Courtney Luckhardt is Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, USA.


‘The breadth of the analysis—discussing both the physical as opposed to just the spiritual aspects of travel—makes the book a valuable contribution to understanding the period... Summing Up: Highly recommended’ – CHOICE May 2020.