The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History

The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History

by Barbara A. Hanawalt
     
 

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A brisk narrative of battles and plagues, monastic orders, heroic women, and knights-errant, barbaric tortures and tender romance, intrigue, scandals, and conquest, The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History mixes a spirited and entertaining writing style with exquisite, thorough scholarship. Barbara A. Hanawalt, a renowned medievalist, launches her story with the

Overview

A brisk narrative of battles and plagues, monastic orders, heroic women, and knights-errant, barbaric tortures and tender romance, intrigue, scandals, and conquest, The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History mixes a spirited and entertaining writing style with exquisite, thorough scholarship. Barbara A. Hanawalt, a renowned medievalist, launches her story with the often violent amalgamation of Roman, Christian, and Germanic cultures following the destruction and pillaging of the crown jewel of the Roman Empirethe great city of Rome. The story moves on to the redrawn map of Europe, in which power players like Byzantium and the newly-established Frankish kingdom begin a precarious existence in a "sea of tribes" (in the words of a contemporary). Savage peoplesthe bloodthirsty Germans, the wild Visigoths and Ostrogoths, the fierce Anglo-Saxons, and the Slavs to the Eastas well as the sophisticated and ever-expanding Arabs threaten each others borders, invade cities and have their own cities sacked, fight victorious battles and get conquered in turn. Hanawalt charts the spread of Christianity in Europe, maps out the trail of misery and mayhem the Crusades left in their wake, explains feudalism and Church reform, familiarizes us with the astrolabe and the masterpieces of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, tracks the progress of the Hundred Years' War, and brings great historical figures—such as Charlemagne, King Henry II, Joan of Arc, Dante, and Justinian—to life.
Spanning the millennium between the fifth and the fifteenth centuries, The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History captures the major historical and political events in great depth and clarity, but never loses sight of the plain and often-overlooked facts of lifelife as lived by peasants and townsfolk, kings and monks, men and women. Hanawalt offers fascinating tidbits on diverse facets of medieval society, from herbal medical cures to table etiquette and drinking habits, from tabloid-worthy court scandals to a unique listing of the rules of a monastic order. She examines rare textsfrom illuminated manuscripts to Carolingian minusculeand takes us inside the awe-inspiring Hagia Sofia in Constantinople.
Barbara Hanawalt makes use of eclectic source material, including inscriptions, chronicles, artifacts, and literature, from the Koran to the Scriptures, and from Omar Khayam to the Goliardic poems. Fascinating stories—like that of the discovery of the burial site of an Anglo-Saxon chieftain which contained, among other treasures, an entire 86-foot long shipare interspersed among the chronicles of great historical upheavals. The author takes a sweeping approach to the subject, building a comprehensive, animated portrait of every aspect of life in that period by including material on women's place in medieval society, agriculture, art and literature, religion and superstitions, philosophy, and weaponry. Lavishly illustrated with art, photographs, documents, artifacts, and maps, The Middle Ages also includes a glossary, index, chronology, and suggestions for further reading.

A collection of lavishly illustrated single-volume histories, Oxford Illustrated Histories present well-documented chronologies on topics like Britain, theater, Greece, opera, English literature, modern Europe, and more. Each history includes color and black and white illustrations, as well as photographs, and is compiled by a taskforce of leading scholars in its respective field of interest. These titles are ideal for any casual reader and also, because of the scholarship, serve as companions to any budding researcher's reference collection.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hanawalt paints a broad picture of this period with all of the diversity and excitement that is too often left out. From Clovis and Charlemagne to Vladimir and Harun al-Rashid, this account successfully weaves together the complexities of competing and merging interests and the cultural and social upheavals that resulted... Illustrations are varied, appropriate, and often dazzlingly effective... This history is accurate, flowing, and fun. The appended chronology, glossary, and further reading sections successfully cap an ambitious and effective effort. This work is a godsend for young adults."—School Library Journal

"The detail is rich... A valuable supplement for students researching midieval topics. Amply and well illustrated, the handsome, oversize volume includes engaging sidebars and captions, an extensive bibliography, a glossary, and a chronology."—Booklist

"A scholarly but involving history of the Middle Ages... Richly illustrated with black-and-white medieval maps, drawings, illustrations, photographs, documents, and artifacts, this impressive history captures an era—its glory and its breadth."—Kirkus Reviews (bulleted review)

"[Hanawalt] covers a broad spectrum of cultures and classes, and large political movements as well as stories of individual men and women. Excerpts from letters, poetry, and other primary sources enliven her narrative, and boxed illustrations and text allow her to delve into the details of medieval life.... Hanawalt writes for an intelligent audience of adults and older teens... This book would enhance both high school and public libraries."—VOYA

"Well-illustrated..., this should be a very useful...addition for any study of the Middle Ages."—Christian Schools International

Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
Covering roughly the years between 400 to 1500, the author (a British history professor) briskly covers aspects of the period beginning with the amalgamation of Roman, Christian, and Germanic cultures after the pillaging of Rome. Separate chapters treat the Old Empire, three other cultures including Carolingian, Byzantine, and Arab, and the flowering of medieval Europe. Common life, architecture, the development of technology, the rise of education, and the discoveries of medicine are covered in readable prose arranged in three columns for easier reading. Occasional boxed text focuses attention on incidents such as Marco Polo's trips in China, the cure for a certain disease, a Viking ship burial discovery, or the food served at a medieval feast. Well-captioned illustrations taken from primary sources are exceptionally reproduced, some in color, others in black and white. A chronology, glossary, further reading arranged by topic, and an index are included in this attractive history.
VOYA - Rebecca Barnhouse
Many broad surveys of the medieval period focus on the High Middle Ages, the age of Chaucer, and set their gaze exclusively on England and Italy. Hanawalt, on the other hand, presents the entire Middle Ages, from its roots in Roman civilization to its end in the fifteenth century. She covers a broad spectrum of cultures and classes, and large political movements as well as stories of individual men and women. Excerpts from letters, poetry, and other primary sources enliven her narrative, and boxed illustrations and text allow her to delve into the details of medieval life. Particularly impressive is her discussion of Arab culture and learning, which strongly influenced Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages--yet are often excluded from books about the medieval period. In the first two chapters, Hanawalt demonstrates the melding of Romano-Christian and Germanic cultures, as well as the rise of Islam and the Arabic expansion into Spain. Subsequent chapters, each covering approximately one century, deal with material more often associated with the Middle Ages: for example, Charlemagne, Vikings, feudalism, the Crusades, the Plague, the Hundred Years' War. Hanawalt writes for an intelligent audience of adults and older teens already interested in the Middle Ages. This book would enhance both high school and public libraries. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Further Reading. Chronology. VOYA Codes: 5Q 2P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult).
VOYA - Susan H. Levine
Part of The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations series, designed to give "up to-date, concise, and analytical histories of many of the nations of the contemporary world," The History of Israel stresses the events of the past thirty years. Each volume in the series provides the history as well as an "overview of the country's geography, political institutions, economic structure, and cultural attributes." Starting with a description of life in modern Israel, Blumberg (Professor of History at Towson University in Towson, Maryland) quickly covers Israel's early history, from 3,500 years ago to World War I. In a textbook style attractively arranged in short sections with subheadings (pleasing to the eye and helpful for absorbing information), the author looks more in-depth at the political events in Israel and the influences of the ruling Ottoman Turks and English, ethnic groups, neighboring nations, and world organizations and events. The battles leading to independence, the isolation of Israel, conflicts within Israel, the Suez Crisis and subsequent wars, the Intifada, the development of the PLO, and the Peace Process are described in a manner that enables readers to have a much better understanding of the events happening in Israel now. A listing of the "Notable People in the History of Israel," containing a short paragraph for each person, and a "Selected Annotated Bibliography" are included. Schroeter, the Teller Family chair in Jewish History at the University of California, Irvine, takes a broad look at Israel's history. Starting with events from over 3,000 years ago he briefly describes the beginnings of Judaism and then continues through the centuries, focusing on the major historical events taking place in the land variously known as Canaan, Israel, Judah (Judea), Palestine, and the State of Israel; influential people; changes in Judaism; international and regional influences; and the three major conflicts Israel currently faces-between Arabs and Jews, between secular and religious Jews, and between different Jewish ethnic groups. This An Illustrated History series title contains many photographs and illustrations of historical people, objects, and places, as well as quotations from primary sources such as Nehemiah, William of Tyre, the Churchhill White Paper, and Palestinian refugee and writer Fawaz Turki. Sidebars of related information cover such topics as the Second Temple, "Manya Shohat: A Revolutionary Zionist Pioneer," and Anatoly Sharansky. A list of prime ministers and presidents is given, but incorrectly gives 1998 as the ending date for both Netanyahu and Weizman. Schroeter gives a broader view of Israeli history and culture, progressing through the centuries at a slower pace. Blumberg gives a more detailed political look at Israel, moving rapidly through the early years and providing greater detail about the more recent years. The two authors' accounts about Count Bernadotte illustrate their differences: Blumberg describes who Bernadotte was, his role in a plan to bring peace to the area, the results of the plan's failure, and the effects of his assassination (all in about a page and a half). Schroeter sums up the events in one paragraph, the vast majority being a quotation by an eyewitness detailing the assassination. Because Blumberg's book is more political, he writes with more of a point of view. He appears conservative (more supportive of the Likud Party) and more critical of Labor, particularly Shimon Peres. Schroeter provides readers with a little more understanding of Arab and Palestinian actions. There are a few errors in the Blumberg book. It states the Peel Partition recommended that the Negev region was to be Arab, but the corresponding map shows the Negev area to be part of the Jewish state (the Negev is not labeled on the map). One sentence states that Peres became prime minister "only after Rabin was assassinated," yet he was prime minister from 1984-86. Additionally, the narrative outline style of Blumberg's book is easier to read than Schroeter's lighter print and more daunting three-column pages. The information for both books ends with 1997. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Further Reading. Chronology. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: The History of Israel and Israel: An Illustrated History. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Beginning with three major influences on the Middle Ages-Roman, Christian, and barbarian-Hanawalt paints a broad picture of this period with all of the diversity and excitement that is too often left out. From Clovis and Charlemagne to Vladimir and Harun al-Rashid, this account successfully weaves together the complexities of competing and merging interests and the cultural and social upheavals that resulted. Discussions of the Vikings as well as the increasing power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church emphasize key players and establish important trends and events. The importance of local communities and the varied roles that women played in the period are also developed. The black-and-white and full-color illustrations are varied, appropriate, and often dazzlingly effective as manuscripts and reproductions are used to depict topics such as courtly love and warfare. The text is laced with side panels that address in brief but sufficient detail such areas of interest as "Chain Mail and Knight's Weapons" and "Romanesque Cathedrals." This history is accurate, flowing, and fun. The appended chronology, glossary, and further-reading sections successfully cap an ambitious and effective effort. This work is a godsend for young adults who have graduated from "Eyewitness" books (DK) and are not ready for Norman Cantor's The Civilization of the Middle Ages (HarperCollins, 1994).-Steve Matthews, Foxcroft School, Middleburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A scholarly but involving history of the Middle Ages, roughly covering the 5thn15th centuries. Hanawalt aptly sets the stage with an introduction that outlines the importance of "emperors, kings, battles, crusades, feudalism, manorialism, the rise of towns, the growth of parliament, universities, and the Church," as well as "how average people experienced life in the Middle Ages." She discusses the three prominent cultures (Roman, Christian, German), the first autobiography ever written (Augustine's Confessions), three empires (Carolingian, Byzantine, Arab), architecture, ideas, monastic orders, bubonic plague, Magna Carta, Abelard's romance with Heloise, as well as various communities and their members. Richly illustrated with black-and-white medieval maps, drawings, illustrations, photographs, documents, and artifacts, this impressive history captures an eranits glory and its breadth. (chronology, glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12+)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195103595
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/04/1999
Series:
Oxford Illustrated Histories (Y/A) Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
1,181,943
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
1180L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Barbara A. Hanawalt is the George III Professor of British History at Ohio State University. She was previously professor of history at the University of Minnesota and the director of its Medieval Studies Center. She is the author of Growing Up in Medieval London: The Experience of Childhood in History, The Ties that Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England, and 'Of Good and Ill Repute': Gender and Social Control in Medieval England.

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