Medieval Europe: A Short History / Edition 11

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Medieval Europe: A Short History is justly renowned for its accessible, humane, and humorous style. It tells how the peoples of the medieval West built, understood, and changed their world. Never losing sight of the neighboring civilizations of Byzantium and Islam, it has its feet firmly planted in the medieval West, from whence it gives ample consideration to such subjects as women's lives, Jewish communities, ordinary people, and the experiences of Europeans in the often-neglected centuries of the Later Middle Ages.

New to the Eleventh Edition:

Streamlined early chapters allow students to delve more quickly into Europe after 500 C.E.

Updated and focused discussion of the political history of the Holy Roman Empire.

More images than ever before provide visual aids to enhance comprehension and enrich the main text.

A separate and consolidated treatment of the medieval papacy.


Chapters are enlivened by visual images, maps, and timelines that summarize key trends and highlight important issues.

Clear, straightforward, and carefully organized chapters aid students in a full and exciting exploration of medieval Europe.

Up-to-date scholarship, especially incorporating the history of women and Jews, gives this text the advantage of being complete and seamless.

Now complemented by a robust, open-access, regularly updated website,, Medieval Europe: A Short History directly engages students outside the classroom.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780073385501
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Publication date: 1/20/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 11
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 129,934
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith M. Bennett teaches medieval history and women's history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is Martha Nell Hardy Distinguished Professor. Educated at Mount Holyoke College, the University of Toronto, and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, she is the author of numerous books and articles about peasants, women, and families in the Middle Ages. Professor Bennett's research has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and numerous other agencies. She has held lectureships in Australia and England, as well as the United States. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London, she has held offices in such professional organizations as the Medieval Academy of America, the North American Conference on British Studies, the Coordinating Council for Women in History, and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. Professor Bennett has received several awards for her scholarly books and articles, and she is also an acclaimed teacher at UNC-CH, where she has won a top teaching award and is now a fellow of the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars.
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Conventions xi

Biographical Sketches xii

Medieval Myths xiii

Timelines xiv

Maps xv

List of Figures xvi

Preface xix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Romans, Christians, and Barbarians 4

The Early Middle Ages 4

The Roman Peace (31 B.C.E-180 C.E.) and After 5

Christianity 8

Barbarians and the Western Empire 19

The Decline of the Western Empire 25

Conclusion 27

Chapter 2 Early Western Christendom, c. 500-700 28

Introduction 28

Early Medieval Society 28

Early Medieval Politics 33

The Early Medieval Church 40

Intellectual Life 48

Conclusion 50

Chapter 3 Neighbors: Byzantium and Islam, c. 500-1000 51

Introduction 51

From Eastern to Byzantine Empire 52

The Byzantine Centuries 59

The Ascent of Islam 65

The Islamic Empire 70

Islamic Culture 77

Conclusion 79

Chapter 4 Carolingian Europe, c. 700-850 80

Introduction 80

The Early Carolingians 82

Charlemagne (r. 768-814) 83

Intellectual Revival 95

Conclusion 100

Chapter 5 Division, Invasion, and Reorganization, c. 800-1000 102

Introduction 102

Division: The Later Carolingians 102

Invasion: Muslims, Magyars, and Vikings 104

Reorganization: New Polities 111

Conclusion 130

Chapter 6 Economic Takeoff and Social Change, c. 1000-1300 131

The Central Middle Ages 131

Agricultural Revolution 139

Rural Society 141

The Commercial Revolution 150

Urban Society 156

The Landholding Aristocracy 162

Feudal Society 163

Conclusion 166

Chapter 7 Popes and the Papacy, c. 1000-1300 167

Introduction 167

Papacy, Clergy, and Laity, c. 1000-1122 168

The Reformed Papacy and Its Church 175

Innocent III and the Papacy Ascendant 184

The Papacy after 1250 187

Conclusion 189

Chapter 8 New Paths to God, c. 1000-1300 190

Introduction 190

Judaism 190

The Evolution of Christian Piety 191

Orthodoxy and Heresy 197

Changes in Monastic Life 199

The Mendicant Orders 205

Conclusion 210

Chapter 9 Conquests, Crusades, and Persecutions, c. 1100-1300 211

Introduction 211

Conquests and Territorial Expansion 212

Crusades 221

Persecutions 231

Conclusion 235

Chapter 10 States Made and Unmade, c. 1000-1300 236

Introduction 236

The Holy Roman Empire: Disintegration 237

England: King and Parliament 248

France: The Monarchy Triumphant 258

Iberia: Some Consolidation 267

The States of Northern and Eastern Europe 268

Conclusion 268

Chapter 11 Literature, Art, and Thought, c. 1000-1300 269

Introduction 269

Byzantine and Islamic Influences 270

Intellectual Trends 271

Literature 283

Architecture and Sculpture 290

Conclusion 296

Chapter 12 Famine, Plague, and Recovery, c. 1300-1500 297

The Later Middle Ages 297

Economic Woes and Demographic Crisis (1300-1350) 301

Adjustment and Recovery (1350-1500) 306

Late Medieval Christianity 313

Conclusion 321

Chapter 13 Toward the Sovereign State, c. 1300-1500 322

Introduction 322

England, France, and the Hundred Years' War 323

England: Parliament, Civil War, and Tudor Monarchy 327

France: Constitutional Crisis, War, and the Spider King 329

The Iberian Slates: Consolidation through Homogenization 332

New Powers on the European Periphery 335

The Heritage of the Holy Roman Empire 338

Conclusion 341

Chapter 14 Diversity and Dynamism in Culture, c. 1300-1500 344

Introduction 344

Literacy and Vernacular Languages 345

Humanist Education 347

Literature 350

Art and Architecture 352

Philosophy 354

Political Thought 359

Conclusion 360

Glossary G-1

Photo Credits P-1

Index I-1

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