The Companion to Medieval Society

Overview

Presenting one thousand years of Medieval European society through its pivotal political events and representative art works, The Companion to Medieval Society is the most comprehensive and richly illustrated overview of the period to date. Offering an extraordinary historical synthesis, Franco Cardini, one of Italy's foremost experts in medieval studies, distills a lifetime's worth of knowledge into this compelling and accessible work. Cardini skillfully draws readers into a complex and intriguing world of ...
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Overview

Presenting one thousand years of Medieval European society through its pivotal political events and representative art works, The Companion to Medieval Society is the most comprehensive and richly illustrated overview of the period to date. Offering an extraordinary historical synthesis, Franco Cardini, one of Italy's foremost experts in medieval studies, distills a lifetime's worth of knowledge into this compelling and accessible work. Cardini skillfully draws readers into a complex and intriguing world of diverse traditions, languages, and social groups, showcasing their representative features, differences, and their points of conflict and alliance. Over the course of time, the ruins left in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire were replaced by Christendom and monasticism, the feudal courts, and the reawakening of Europe's prominent cities. Cardini debunks the oversimplification of the medieval period, illustrating a continuum of shared cultures, powerfully crystallized social differences, and the formation of the scientific and social ideologies of a complex time. Spanning political, cultural, and ideological issues, as well as explorations of topics dealing with women, foreigners, inter-city relations, and the transmission of knowledge, The Companion to Medieval Society traces the development of a civilization over the centuries.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"While it offers a comprehensive examination of the era, it's also highly accessible to the layman, and the reproductions are eye-poppingly good." The Globe & Mail
Library Journal
The biggest question to ask about Cardini's (Medieval history, Univ. of Florence, Italy) summary of European history from the fourth century to the 15th is: who is its audience? It will please neither the neophyte nor the scholar. Sumptuous illustrations complement the text, but that text is too dense in spots and cursory in others for the reader to gain much insight. A chapter on women in the Middle Ages, for example, devolves into anecdote; the careers of Matilda of Canossa, Hildegard of Bingen, and Eleanor of Aquitaine tell us little about the status of average women in the Middle Ages. The discussion of the evolution of monarchies in eastern and northern Europe, and of relations between the West and Byzantium, are at once overcomplicated and superficial. Too many of the books listed in the selected further reading list are in Italian; they should have been replaced or supplemented with English-language studies in this English translation. Moreover, many of the authors discussed in the text are not even noted in the bibliography. VERDICT A disappointing book with stunning illustrations but an anemic text.—David Keymer, Modesto, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780773541030
  • Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Franco Cardini is professor of Medieval history at the University of Florence.
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