Sociability and sense of belonging. Community interaction in the work of Valerius of Bierzo (pdf)
(*En Portugués aquí; En Español aquí; En français ici)
The work of Valerius of Bierzo −along with other documents that can give an account of immediate realities, such as the Vita Fructuosi, the monastic rules of the Fructuosian environment, the minutes of Council III of Braga, or the news of other councils that, although assembled in Toledo, could have approached the problems of Gallaecia − offers a picture of a profoundly complex social reality; a society of horizontal and vertical relationships, a world of rigid hierarchies but likewise a world of occasional and more or less reified coexistences that can lead us to get a glimpse of a certain sense of sociability. The sources under examination have some elements in common, such as a coherent geographical space and a chronological range that spans only two generations; therefore, the understanding of phenomena is not distorted by time discordances and dissimilar contextualizations. These sources allow us also to value a society which is predominantly peasant on the one hand, but that revolves around nuclei of power − be they cities, monasteries, episcopal sees or large estates − regarding which survival strategies have been designed. In this sense, reality seems to be overlapping a world of legal or doctrinal impositions, presenting a society of undoubted dynamism; a society that probably generates its own identification links, its sense of group belonging. However, these links are not always easy to identify, and there is no doubt that collective group sentiment can be distorted by representations of prestige.