The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages


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Since the fifteenth century, when humanist writers began to speak of a “middle” period in history linking their time to the ancient world, the nature of the Middle Ages has been widely debated. Across the millennium from 500 to 1500, distinguished historian Johannes Fried describes a dynamic confluence of political, social, religious, economic, and scientific developments that draws a guiding thread through the era: the growth of a culture of reason.

“Fried’s breadth of knowledge is formidable and his passion for the period admirable…Those with a true passion for the Middle Ages will be thrilled by this ambitious defensio.”
—Dan Jones, Sunday Times

“Reads like a counterblast to the hot air of the liberal-humanist interpreters of European history…[Fried] does justice both to the centrifugal fragmentation of the European region into monarchies, cities, republics, heresies, trade and craft associations, vernacular literatures, and to the persistence of unifying and homogenizing forces: the papacy, the Western Empire, the schools, the friars, the civil lawyers, the bankers, the Crusades…Comprehensive coverage of the whole medieval continent in flux.”
—Eric Christiansen, New York Review of Books

“[An] absorbing book…Fried covers much in the realm of ideas on monarchy, jurisprudence, arts, chivalry and courtly love, millenarianism and papal power, all of it a rewarding read.”
—Sean McGlynn, The Spectator

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674975361
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 05/15/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 632
Sales rank: 635,786
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Johannes Fried was, until his retirement, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Frankfurt.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 Boethius and the Rise of Europe 1

2 Gregory the Great and the New Power of the Franks 23

3 Charlemagne and the First Renewal of the Roman Empire 44

4 Consolidation of the Kingdoms 82

5 The End of Days Draws Menacingly Close 118

6 "The True Emperor Is the Pope" 144

7 The Long Century of Papal Schisms 167

8 The Vicar of God 238

9 The Triumph of Jurisprudence 270

10 The Light of Reason 328

11 The Monarchy 374

12 Waiting for Judgment Day and the Renaissance 449

Epilogue: The Dark Middle Ages? 505

Abbreviations 529

Notes 530

Selected Bibliography 558

Index 569

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