Synopses & Reviews
Covering a thousand years of history, this richly illustrated volume tells the story of the creation of Western civilization in Europe and the Mediterranean. Written by expert scholars and based on the latest research, it offers the most authoritative account of life in medieval Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire to the coming of the Renaissance.
Exploring a period of profound diversity and change, the contributors focus on all aspects of medieval history from the empires and kingdoms of Charlemagne and the Byzantines to the new nations which fought the Hundred Years War; from the expression of religion in the great monasteries and cathedrals to the mixed ambitions of the Crusades; and from the cultural worlds of chivalric knights, popular festivals, and new art forms to the social catastrophe of the Black Death. Depicting both the strange and the familiar, they reveal that the vast upheavals of migration and new institutions of the Dark Ages between 400 and 900 far surpass anything we have endured today. Consequently, the new attitudes and ways of life that developed from 900 to 1500 remain central in modern societies. Our towns and villages, the nation state and democratic forms of government, our commerce and banking, our system of education, our literature, and our concern with the relationship between the physical and the spiritual--these all had their origins in the medieval world.
Divided between the Mediterranean world and northern Europe, the six chapters in this book demonstrate the movement of the center of gravity in European life from the Mediterranean to the north. Lavishly illustrated with over two hundred illustrations, including twenty-four in color, the volume also contains comprehensive reference material in maps, genealogies, a chronology, lists of further reading, and a full index.
About the Author
About the Editor:
George Holmes is a Fellow of St. Catherine's College, Oxford. His previous books include Dante and Florence, Rome, and the Origins of the Renaissance.