Saint Denis- Royal Precedence

At Lattes you can see the development of a new system where people are able to inhabit an area which has established security and well-being for the first time. These new towns and communities were primarily founded and maintained through trade, because it was geographically beneficial, along with the fact that these communities were interacting with each other for the first time.

Fast forward to the 4th century, just north of present-day Paris, and there is the beginnings of one the most industrialized areas in France today. Saint Denis’ origin is that of a small necropolis, which has been an integral part of the founding and construction of the town and abbey. Having already been in use for burial purposes , the Franks chose Saint-Denis for their “Royal Abbey”.

Saint Denis was built and modified upon several times, as it grew in political and societal importance it was expanded, and it was even supplied with running water by an aqueduct. By the 7th century it had become a “Royal Abbey”, after having created more prestigious accommodations for the guests they were hosting at the time. In the 11th and 12th century, the Abbey was now trying to create a village that was more favorable for all the inhabitants. Unfortunately by that time the inequality that had been established by this system would be forever irreversible.

Although established with every intention to improve the community and its inhabitants, abbeys soon became a very important asset to the church in the medieval era in terms of demonstrating power. The church was the dominant landowner throughout most of Europe at these times and they even had incomes that exceeded much of Europe’s nobility. In addition to the ever expanding technology that was increasing agriculture production, they began to reinvest profits in the abbeys themselves. Soon they began to diversify in economic activities by lending money at interest, which led to the development of ‘mortgage’ which literally translates to ‘dead pledge’. They had the capacity to lend money with land for security, collecting the ‘rent’ from the land during the term of the loan. Capitalism in its most basic form was formed by these monastic estates, and it was with the control of capital and the ties to the church that the town was able to flourish, that is until the inequality became to much for those being oppressed..


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