The Worlds of Medieval Europe

The Worlds of Medieval Europe

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Deftly written and beautifully illustrated, The Worlds of Medieval Europe, Second Edition, presents a distinctive and nuanced portrayal of a western world that was sharply divided between its northern and southern aspects. By integrating the histories of the Islamic and Byzantine worlds into the main narrative, author Clifford R. Backman offers an insightful, detailed, and often witty look at the continuum of interaction-social, cultural, intellectual, and commercial-that existed among all three societies. Filled with relevant primary documents, this compelling volume surpasses traditional textbook representations of the Middle Ages by balancing the conventional focus on political affairs, especially those of northern Europe, with equally detailed attention to medieval society as it developed in the Mediterranean. In addition, Backman describes the ways in which the medieval Latin West attempted to understand the unified and rational structure of the human cosmos, which they believed existed beneath the observable diversity and disorder of the world. This effort to re-create a human ordering of "unity through diversity" provides an essential key to understanding medieval Europe and the ways in which it regarded and reacted to the worlds around it. Thoroughly updated and redesigned, the second edition features an inviting and accessible layout and integrates captivating new illustrations-nearly twice as many as in the previous edition-to stimulate students' engagement with the material. Moreover, it offers a sophisticated analysis of gender, along with an intriguing examination of the tumultuous relationship between the Mediterranean and Islam. An invaluable resource for both students and instructors, The Worlds of Medieval Europe, Second Edition, is ideal for undergraduate courses in medieval history, Western civilization, the history of Christianity, and Muslim-Christian relations. It also serves as an excellent supplement on the history of a specific country in the medieval period, the history of medieval art, or the history of the European economy.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 608 pages
  • 170 x 240 x 32mm | 959.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 59 black and white halftone, 22 line illustrations
  • 0195335279
  • 9780195335279
  • 1,675,371

Review quote

This fresh and often iconoclastic survey acknowledges the diversity of medieval experiences-from era to era, region to region, class to class. The solid and traditional political narrative is enriched with an energetic discussion of environmental and technological issues, while social history, fascinating in itself, is successfully integrated into these contexts. Important intellectual themes of religion and philosophy are particularly accessible to students through a clear and focused examination of broader issues. James W. Brodman, University of Central Arkansas This text is written in a lively, engaging, and sometimes deliberately provocative manner-a refreshing alternative to standard textbook style. I felt throughout that Backman was really considering his audience and having a conversation as much as writing a textbook. Jennifer Kolpacoff Deane, University of Minnesota, Morrisshow more

About Clifford R. Backman

Clifford R. Backman is Professor of History at Boston University. He is author of The Decline and Fall of Medieval Sicily: Politics, Economy, and Religion in the Reign of Frederick III, 1296-1327 (1995). He is currently writing a biography of James II of the Crown of Aragon.show more

Table of contents

Each Chapter ends with Suggested Reading. ; Introduction: Why the Middle Ages Matter ; PART ONE. THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES: THE THIRD THROUGH NINTH CENTURIES ; 1. THE ROMAN WORLD AT ITS HEIGHT ; The Geography of Empire ; The Role of the Military ; Roman Society ; Roman Government ; The Challenges of the Third Century ; Reform, Recovery, Persecution, and Favor ; 2. THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY ; Before Christ ; The Growth of the New Religion ; The Problem of Persecution ; The Problem of Heresy ; Constantine and Theodosius: An Imperial Church ; Responses to Imperialization ; 3. EARLY GERMANIC SOCIETY ; Germanic Life ; Migrations and Invasions ; Europe's First Kingdoms ; Germanic Christianity and the Fourth "Doctor of the Church" ; 4. CLOISTER AND CULTURE ; The Rise of Monasticism in the East ; The Rise of Monasticism in the West ; Cultural Life in the West: Cassiodorus, Boethius, and St. Benedict ; 5. THE EMERGENCE OF THE MEDIEVAL WORLDS ; Continuity and Change in Northern Europe ; Continuity and Change in the Mediterranean ; The Rise of Islam ; A Tripartite World ; 6. THE CAROLINGIAN ERA ; The "Do-Nothing" Kings and the Rise of the Carolingians ; The Carolingian Monarchy ; Carolingian Administration ; Carolingian Society ; The Carolingian Cultural Renewal ; PART TWO. THE CENTRAL MIDDLE AGES: THE TENTH THROUGH TWELFTH CENTURIES ; 7. THE TIME OF TROUBLES ; Trouble from Within ; Trouble from the North ; Trouble from the East ; Trouble from the South ; The End of the World? ; 8. REVOLUTIONS ON LAND AND SEA ; Changes on the Land ; A Peasant Society Emerges ; Changes on the Sea ; A Maritime Society Emerges ; 9. A NEW EUROPE EMERGES: NORTH AND SOUTH ; The Rise of Feudal Society ; The First German Empire ; The Rise of Capetian France ; The Anglo-Norman Realm ; The Spanish Kingdoms ; The Italian Scene ; 10. THE REFORM OF THE CHURCH ; The Origins of the Reform ; The Papal Revolution ; Christendom and the East ; Monastic Reforms ; 11. THE RENAISSANCES OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY ; Aristotle, Anselm, Abelard, and Ibn Rushd ; Law and Canon Law ; The Recovery of Science ; The Rise of the Universities ; Courtly Life, Love, and Literature ; 12. THE PAPAL MONARCHY ; Church against State Once More ; The Consolidation of Papal Authority ; The Revival of Heresy ; The Albigensian Crusade and the Origins of the Inquisition ; PART THREE. THE LATE MIDDLE AGES: THE THIRTEENTH AND FOURTEENTH CENTURIES ; 13. POLITICS IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY ; The Rise of Representative Institutions ; England and France ; Germany, Italy, and the Papacy ; The New Mediterranean Superpowers ; Byzantium and Islam in the Thirteenth Century ; 14. ART AND INTELLECT IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY ; Scholasticism ; The Gothic Vision ; Science and Technology ; Aspects of Popular Culture ; 15. DAILY LIFE AT THE MEDIEVAL ZENITH ; Economic Changes ; Peasants' Lives ; Townsfolks' Lives ; The Question of Literacy ; Sex and the City (and the Town, and the Village) ; 16. CHANGES IN RELIGIOUS LIFE ; The Importance of Being Penitent ; The Importance of Being Poor ; The Humanization of Christ and the Cult of the Virgin ; Mysticism ; 17. THE CRISES OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY ; Economic Difficulties ; The Great Famine ; The Black Death ; War Everywhere ; Challenges to Church Unity ; 18. SIGNS OF A NEW ERA ; William of Ockham ; Marsilius of Padua ; Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer ; Christine de Pizan ; PART FOUR. TWO EPILOGUES ; 19. CLOSINGS IN, CLOSINGS OUT ; The Last Years of Byzantium ; The Search for a New Route to the East ; Closing In on Muslim Spain ; The Expulsions of the Jews ; Closing In Forever: The Forced Cloistering of Women Religious ; 20. THE RENAISSANCE IN MEDIEVAL CONTEXT ; Economies New and Old circa 1400 ; The Meaning of Humanism ; The Canonization of Classical Culture ; The Rejection of the Middle Ages ; APPENDICES ; A. The Medieval Popes ; B. The Carolingians ; C. The Capetians ; D. France: The Valois ; E. England: The Norman and Plantagenet Dynasties ; F. England: The Lancastrian and Yorkist Dynasties ; G. Germany: The Ottonian, Salian, and Hohenstaufen Dynasties ; H. Germany: The Late Medieval Emperors ; I. The Spanish Kingdoms, 1000-1250 ; J. The Spanish Kingdoms, 1250-1500 ; K. The Emperors in Constantinopleshow more

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127 ratings
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3 24% (30)
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1 2% (3)
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