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German Ocean : Medieval Europe Around the North Sea (Hardcover) (Brian Ayers)
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"The German Ocean examines archaeological and historical evidence for the development of economies and societies around the North Sea from the beginning of the 12th century until the end of the 16th century. It draws in material from Scandinavia to Normandy and from Scotland to Kent. While largely concerned with the North Sea littoral, when necessary it takes account of adjacent areas such as the Baltic or inland hinterlands. The North Sea is often perceived as a great divide, divorcing the British Islesfrom continental Europe. In cultural terms, however, it has always acted more as a lake, supporting communities around its fringes which have frequently had much in common. This is especially true of the medieval period when trade links, fostered in the two centuries prior to 1100, expanded in the 12th and 13th centuries to ensure the development of maritime societies whose material culture was often more remarkable for its similarity across distance than its diversity. Geography, access to raw materialsand political expediency could nevertheless combine to provide distinctive regional variations. Economies developed more rapidly in some areas than others; local solutions to problems produced urban and rural environments of different aspect; the growth,and sometimes decline, of towns and ports was often dictated by local as much as wider factors"--Provided by publisher.