Do ut des
Do ut des, or ‘I give so you may give’, is the adage that constitutes the principle of reciprocal relations in past and present societies. This social mechanism is a crucial agent of social bonding and power, which is at the heart of the issues explored in this volume: gift giving, memoria (or liturgical commemoration), and conflict management in the medieval Low Countries. Gift giving established and sustained socio-political and religious networks. The liturgical commemoration of the living and the dead by monks, canons, nuns, and other clerics likewise resulted from reciprocal gifts and agreements between laymen and the religious. Even the management of disputes in the Central Middle Ages was based, above anything else, on giving each other one’s due. Reciprocity, therefore, as expressed by the phrase do ut des, strings together the contributions in this volume.