Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce, AD 300-900 / Edition 1

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This is the first comprehensive analysis of the economic transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages in over sixty years. It brings fresh evidence to bear on the fall of the Roman empire and the origins of the medieval economy. The book uses new material from recent excavations, and develops a new method for the study of hundreds of travelers to reconstitute the communications infrastructure that conveyed those travelers—ship sailings, overland routes—linking Europe to Africa and Asia, from the time of the later Roman empire to the reign of Charlemagne and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" erudite corpus of information, this book is impressive..." SPECULUM

"One of the most appealing aspects of the book is McCormick's diffidence. He marshals enormous collections of evidence, makes insightful deductions....No serious academic library supporing upper level history research can be without this outstanding, if 'provisional,' survey of a topic which is now more clear to us." Catholic Library World

"McCormick has produced a large and ambitious work whose substantive objective is to establish that travel and trade developed significanlty earlier in Europe...than some medival historians have been prepared to believe... The book is...important, addressing as it does a difficult period in economic history....Recommended for academic and research collections, upper-division undergraduate through faculty." Choice

"McCormick has written a Decline and Fall for the twenty-first century. This big book...should transform our view of pre-modern history and the ways in which it may be studied....his brilliant book will shatter most people's conceptions of the Dark Ages." The Times Literary Supplement

"The book is rich with practical details of early medieval travel, the storms, fevers, delays, miracles and pirates...Unlike some of his European counterparts amongst historians, McCormick is also archaelogically literate, recognizing the huge advances of the last thirty years, but accurately hitting upon many of the remaining lacunae, both in Mediterranean urban archaelogy and in northern Europe...The maps are consistent, clear and accurate...strategy, endurance, organization and resources win wars. McCormick has all of these things, and this is indeed a monumental and inspiring achievement. Cambridge University Press is to be congratulated on a polished and well-edited production." EH.NET

"An awesome book... The results are little short of extraordinary. McCormick has established a benchmark for what, as he rightly points out, has been a virtual world lost between those studying East and West, and North and South. Time will show what a massively useful work this is." Agrarian History Review

"Indisputably a monumental study." International Journal of Maritime History

"McCormick's book is a masterpiece of craft … McCormick, like Bloch and Pirenne, is writing a different kind of economic history: 'economic history as cultural history' … McCormick has carried the best work of the early twentieth century on into the twenty-first - not just by adding more lanes, but by carving out a whole new route." The New Republic

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521661027
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/11/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1130
  • Sales rank: 1,014,862
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 2.36 (d)

Table of Contents

Commerce, communications and the origins of the European economy; Part I. The End of the World: 1. The end of the ancient world; 2. Late Roman industry: case studies in decline; 3. Land and river communications in late antiquity; 4. Sea change in late antiquity; The end of the ancient economy: a provisional balance sheet; Part II. People on the Move; 5. A few western faces; 6. Two hundred more envoys and pilgrims: group portrait; 7. Byzantine faces; 8. Easterners heading west: group portrait; 9. Traders, slaves, and exiles; People on the move; Part III. Things that Travelled: 10. Hagiographical horizons: collecting exotic relics in early medieval France; 11. 'Virtual' coins and communications; 12. 'Real money': Arab and Byzantine coins around Carolingian Europe; Things on the move; Part IV. The Patterns of Change: 13. The experience of travel; 14. Secular rhythms: communications over time; 15. Seasonal rhythms; 16. Time under way; 17. 'Spaces of sea': Europe's western Mediterranean communications; 18. Venetian breakthrough: Europe's central Mediterranean communications; 19. New overland routes; The patterns of change; Part V. Commerce: 20. Early medieval trading worlds; 21. Where are the merchants?: Italy; 22. Merchants and markets of Frankland; 23. Connections; 24. Where are the wares?: eastern imports to Europe; 25. European exports to Africa and Asia; At the origins of the European economy; Appendices; Bibliography.

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