PAUVRETE. Economies of poverty in the Middle Ages in Mediterranean Europe (9th-15th centuries)

  • Section: Middle Ages
  • Directors: Sandro Carocci , Università di Roma Tor Vergata ; Laurent Feller , University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Ana Rodriguez, Investigadora Científica en el Instituto de Historia, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CSIC-Madrid.  
  • Réseau des EFE: in collaboration with Casa de Velázquez


The purpose of this project is to revisit the issue of poverty in the Middle Ages between the 9th and 15th centuries, focusing on its relationship with the economy, so looking at the question through work, social mobility and economic conditions. The question of assistance and its institutions will be in the background: the current research directions in the humanities and social sciences put the focus, in studies of poverty, on the dynamics related to work and social processes linked to the evolution of the economic situation, particularly at the end of the Middle Ages.

Poverty, work, social mobility and economic conditions

Three lines of enquiry have emerged. The question of work is first. It links the question of income to that of poverty and brings to light some important correlates: coercion, employment and forced labour; wage earners, whether urban or rural; debt and credit; the organization of work and related regulations. The mechanisms of economic growth generate pauperism and signify the appearance of processes of downgrading, social disqualification and, ultimately, disaffiliation and exclusion. The economic dynamics and the social transformation processes which they generate are the object of this research.    



Campania; Medieval painting; Illumination; Miniatures; Atlas; Pigment analysis; Benevento; Mont-Cassin; Lombards; Benedictines; Early Middle ages.



The programme is coordinated by Sandro Carocci (University Rome 2), Laurent Feller (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Ana Rodriguez (CCHS-CSIC). It is part of the network of French Schools abroad and relies on the Casa de Velázquez and the École française de Rome. The main partners are the Università degli Studi in Milan (Pr. P. Grillo); the University of Valladolid (Pr. Martinez Sopena); the University of Zaragoza (Pr. C. Laliena). 


Calendar of events

Two workshops were organised, the first in February 2017 on the theme “Work and poverty”, in Rome, at the École française, the second in June 2018 in Madrid, at the Casa de Velázquez, on the theme of impoverishment. A third is planned for October 2019, “Poverty, material culture and consumption”. A final session devoted to female poverty is planned for 2020 in Milan.    




Page translated from French, 2020/11/16

Laboratoire International Associé (LIA)