chapter  5
Unfreedom and religious migration
WithCourtney Luckhardt
Pages 31

For unfree travelers, migration entailed changes in political, social, and, geographical movement. Unfree migrants’ movement could include changes in both religious and political status, increasing the unfree traveler’s spiritual power. A simple focus on the economic duties and legal rights obscures the way that unfreedom defined social relationships between different members of society. Unfree people played a role in the economy beyond their production, as they were a major trade item between northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Religious travelers, like slaves, blended into the larger milieu of people on the move in the early medieval period. During the course of the early medieval period, there was a transformation between Roman-style chattel slavery and the diversity and multiplicity of the practices of unfree labor in Francia. Early medieval unfreedom often stemmed from captivity; prisoners-of-war, hostages, and captured people were taken as slaves regularly as a part of raiding, warfare, and other conflicts.