Haour, A. 2007. Rulers, Warriors, Traders, Clerics: The Central Sahel and the North Sea, 800–1500
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In this volume, Haour takes the bold and unusual step of examining medieval societies of the central Sahel, through the comparative lens of the seemingly distant, early medieval North Sea. This however, is no standard historical comparison. Not only are the communities in questions separated by distance, they are also largely chronologically discrete, with North Sea discussion mainly falling within the 750–1,100 range, and that of the Sahel much later, with written records only beginning to emerge from the C15th (page 3). Given these spatio-temporal differences, the intention here is not to explore parallel medieval societies. Rather, the mechanism of comparison is used as a heuristic device, invigorating discussion of each area, and providing fresh insights into both communities, as they are “fine-tuned to a new key when we consider them side by side” (page 129).
The foundation of Haour’s comparative approach comes from her recognition of structural similarities in the ordering of...