The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade

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Overview

A masterful narrative of the Middle Ages, when religion became a weapon for kings all over the world.
From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T’ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled.
In her earlier work, The History of the Ancient World, Susan Wise Bauer wrote of the rise of kingship based on might. But in the years between the fourth and the twelfth centuries, rulers had to find new justification for their power, and they turned to divine truth or grace to justify political and military action. Right thus replaces might as the engine of empire.
Not just Christianity and Islam but the religions of the Persians and the Germans, and even Buddhism, are pressed into the service of the state. This phenomenon—stretching from the Americas all the way to Japan—changes religion, but it also changes the state.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bauer (The History of the Ancient World) continues her witty and well-written examination of world history with a volume that is rich in detail and intriguing in anecdotal information. In describing dramatic events (such as the worldwide –impact of the eruption of Krakatoa in 535 C.E., or civil war among the descendants of Charlemagne), near-legendary individuals (like the great general turned mercenary El Cid), and decisive historical movements from the fourth century C.E. to the beginnings of the 12th century, attention is effectively paid not only to western and eastern Europe but to North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Far East, South Asia, and the Americas. The political and military rise and fall of rulers or would-be rulers and the prominence of religion in matters of conscience and state give force and power to the narrative as does the constant impact of simple human emotion and ambition on the flow of history. A bit overwhelming in its scope, Bauer’s work nevertheless proves perfectly, and entertainingly, that the “more things change, the more they stay the same.” 20 illus., 85 maps. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"[A] witty and well-written examination of world history...that is rich in detail and intriguing in anecdotal information." —-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393059755
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/22/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 746
  • Sales rank: 116,581
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Wise Bauer is the best-selling author of the Story of the World series,
The Well-Educated Mind, and The Well-Trained Mind, among other books. She lives in Virginia where she teaches at the
College of William and Mary.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps

List of Illustrations

Pt. 1 Unity 1

1 One Empire, Under God: The Roman empire, 312-330 3

2 Seeking the Mandate of Heaven: China, 313-402 13

3 An Empire of the Mind: India, 319-415 21

4 The Persian Threat: The Roman empire, the Persian empire, eastern Africa, and Arabia, 325-361 28

5 The Apostate: The Roman empire and the Persian empire, 361-364 36

6 Earthquake and Invasion: The Roman empire, the islands of Britain, and the Germanic territories, 364-376 41

7 Refounding the Kingdom: The kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla, 371-412 51

8 The Catholic Church: The Roman empire, 378-382 56

Pt. 2 Fractures 61

9 Excommunicated: The Roman empire, the islands of Britain, and the Persian empire, 383-392 63

10 Cracked in Two: The Roman empire, 392-396 72

11 The Sack of Rome: The western Roman empire and the eastern Roman empire, 396-410 77

12 One Nature versus Two: The eastern Roman empire and the Persian empire, 408-431 85

13 Seeking a Homeland: The western Roman empire and the Germanic territories, 410-418 91

14 The Gupta Decline: India, 415-480 95

15 Northern Ambitions: China, 420-464 100

16 The Huns: The western Roman empire, the eastern Roman empire, the Germanic territories, the lands of the Huns, Hispania, and North Africa, 423-450 106

17 Attila: The western Roman empire, the eastern Roman empire, the Germanic territories, and the lands of the Huns, 450-455 115

18 Orthodoxy: The eastern Roman empire and the Persian empire, 451-454 120

19 The High Kings: The islands of Britain, 451-470 125

20 The End of the Roman Myth: The western Roman empire andthe Germanic territories, 454-476 132

Pt. 3 New Powers 141

21 The Ostrogoths: The eastern Roman empire and Italy, 457-493 143

22 Byzantium: The eastern Roman empire and the Persian empire, 471-518 150

23 Aspirations: China and the kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla, 471-527 159

24 Resentment: China, 479-534 165

25 Elected Kings: The kingdoms of the Franks, the Visigoths, the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, and the British, 481-531 172

26 Invasion and Eruption: India and the southeastern islands of Sumatra and Java, 497-535 180

27 The Americas: Mesoamerica, c. 500-600 186

28 Great and Holy Majesty: Eastern Africa, Arabia, the Persian empire, and the Byzantine empire, 510-529 193

29 Pestilence: The Persian empire, the Byzantine empire, North Africa, and Italy, 532-544 203

30 The Heavenly Sovereign: The kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje, Silla, and Yamato Japan, 536-602 215

31 Reunification: China and Goguryeo, 546-612 223

32 The South Indian Kings: India, 543-620 231

33 Two Emperors: Italy, the kingdom of the Visigoths, the eastern Roman empire, the Persian empire, and Arabia, 551-579 237

34 The Mayors of the Palaces: The kingdom of the Franks, 558-656 246

35 Gregory the Great: Italy and the islands of Britain, 572-604 255

36 The Persian Crusade: The eastern Roman empire, the Persian empire, and various kingdoms of Slavs, Bulgars, Avars, and Khazars, 589-632 261

37 The Prophet: Arabia, 590-622 273

38 Tang Dominance: China, Japan, the Turkish Khaghanates, and the kingdoms of Tibet, Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla, 622-676 282

38 The Tribe of Faith: Arabia, 622-642 291

40 Intersection: India and Sri Lanka, 640-684 302

41 The Troubles of Empire: Arabia, 643-661 307

Pt. 4 States and Kingdoms 317

42 Law and Language: Italy, the Byzantine empire, the First Bulgarian Empire, and the empire of the Umayyad caliphs, 643-702 319

43 Creating the Past: Japan, 661-714 327

44 The Days of the Empress: China, the kingdom of Tibet, and the Eastern Turkish Khaghanate, 683-712 333

45 Paths into Europe: The Byzantine empire, the Umayyad caliphate, the kingdoms of the Khazars, Bulgarians, and Visigoths, and the lands of the Franks, 705-732 341

46 The Kailasa of the South: The Umayyad caliphate and India, 712-780 351

47 Purifications: The Umayyad caliphate, the Byzantine empire, and Italy, 718-741 357

48 The Abbasids: The Umayyad caliphate, the kingdom of the Khazars, and al-Andalus, 724-763 363

49 Charlemagne: Italy, the kingdom of the Franks, the lands of the Saxons, and al-Andalus, 737-778 371

50 The An Lushan Rebellion: China, the nomadic north, and the kingdoms of Tibet, Nanzhao, Balhae, and Unified Silla, 751-779 380

51 Imperator et Augustus: The Byzantine and Abbasid empires, the First Bulgarian Empire, Italy, and the kingdom of the Franks, 775-802 387

52 The New Sennacherib: The Byzantine and Abbasid empires, the First Bulgarian Empire, and the kingdom of the Franks, 786-814 396

53 Castle Lords and Regents: Silla and Japan, 790-872 405

54 The Triumph of the Outsiders: China and Silla, 806-918 413

55 The Third Dynasty: The Abbasid empire, 809-833 423

56 The Vikings: The kingdoms of the Franks, the Byzantine empire, al-Andalus, and the lands of the Rus, 813-862 427

57 Long-Lived Kings: India and the southeastern islands of Sumatra and Java, 814-900 437

58 Foreign and Domestic Relations: The Byzantine empire, the kingdom of Louis the German, Moravia, and Bulgaria, 856-886 442

59 The Second Caliphate: The Abbasid empire and North Africa, 861-909 450

60 The Great Army of the Vikings: The islands of Britain, 865-878 458

61 Struggle for the Iron Crown: Italy and the kingdoms of the Franks, 875-899 466

62 Kampaku: Japan, 884-940 472

63 Basileus: The Byzantine and Bulgarian empires, 886-927 479

64 The Creation of Normandy: Italy and Western Francia, 902-911 488

65 The Kingdom of Germany: Eastern Francia and Bohemia, 907-935 492

66 The Turn of the Wheel: India and Sri Lanka, 907-997 498

67 The Capture of Baghdad: Al-Andalus, the Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates, and the dynasties to the east of Baghdad, 912-945 504

68 Three Kingdoms: Goryeo and China, 918-979 511

69 Kings of England: The Scandinavian kingdoms and the islands of Britain, 924-1002 518

70 The Baptism of the Rus: The Byzantine empire, Bulgaria, and the lands of the Rus, 944-988 530

Pt. 5 Crusades 539

71 The Holy Roman Emperor: Germany, Italy, and Western Francia, 950-996 541

72 The Hardship of Sacred War: India, Sri Lanka, Srivijaya, and the dynasties east of Baghdad, 963-1044 550

73 Basil the Bulgar-Slayer: The Byzantine, Abbasid, and Fatimid empires, Bulgaria, and the Rus, 976-1025 560

74 Defending the Mandate: China, 979-1033 568

75 The New Found Land: Greenland and the Americas, 985-1050 574

76 Schism: Germany, Italy, Hungary, and the Byzantine empire, 1002-1059 584

77 Danish Domination: England, Scotland, the Scandinavian kingdoms, Hungary, and Normandy, 1014-1042 596

78 The Norman Conquest: England, Norway, and Normandy, 1042-1066 604

79 The Kings of Spain: Spain and North Africa, 1016-1108 613

80 The Arrival of the Turks: The Byzantine empire and the lands of the Turks, 1025-1071 625

81 The Loss of the Song: China, Goryeo, and the peoples to the north and west, 1032-1172 634

82 Repentance at Canossa: Germany, Western Francia, and Italy, 1060-1076 641

83 The Call: The Byzantine empire, Italy, Germany, and the lands of the Turks, 1071-1095 648

84 Fighting for Jerusalem: The Byzantine empire and the lands of the Turks, 1095-1099 656

85 Aftershocks: Spain and Jerusalem, 1118-1129 664

Notes 669

Works Cited 703

Permissions 719

Index 721

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Interesting book, especially fascinating parts detailing the rol

    Interesting book, especially fascinating parts detailing the role religion had in holding back change in thinking.
    Lots of detail about famous people of the era, from Martin Luther and the Borgia and Medici popes to historical figures in general -

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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