This book is aimed at students coming to the study of western European medieval history for the first time, and also graduate students on interdisciplinary medieval studies programmes. It examines the place of the Middle Ages in modern popular culture, exploring the roots of the stereotypes that appear in films, on television and in the press, and asking why they remain so persistent. The book also asks whether 'medieval' is indeed a useful category in terms of historical periodization. It investigates some of the particular challenges posed by medieval sources and the ways in which they have survived. And it concludes with an exploration of the relevance of medieval history in today's world.
Author: Celia Chazelle,Simon Doubleday,Felice Lifshitz,Amy G. Remensnyder
The word "medieval" is often used in a negative way when talking about contemporary issues. Why the Middle Ages Matter refreshes our thinking about this historical era, and our own, by looking at some pressing concerns from today’s world, asking how these issues were really handled in the medieval period, and showing why the past matters now. The contributors here cover topics such as torture, marriage, sexuality, imprisonment, refugees, poverty, work, the status of women, disability, race, political leadership and end of life care. They focus on a variety of regions, from North Africa and the Middle East, through Western and Central Europe, to the British Isles. This collection challenges many negative stereotypes of medieval people, revealing a world from which, for instance, much could be learned about looking after the spiritual needs of the dying, and about integrating prisoners into the wider community through an emphasis on reconciliation between victim and criminal. It represents a new level of engagement with issues of social justice by medievalists and provides a highly engaging way into studying the middle ages. All the essays are written so as to be accessible to students, and each is accompanied by a list of further readings.
Scholars and analysts seeking to illuminate the extraordinary creativity and innovation evident in European medieval cultures and their afterlives have thus far neglected the important role of religious heresy. The papers collected here - reflecting the disciplines of history, literature, theology, philosophy, economics and law - examine the intellectual and social investments characteristic of both deliberate religious dissent such as the Cathars of Languedoc, the Balkan Bogomils, the Hussites of Bohemia and those who knowingly or unknowingly bent or broke the rules, creating their own 'unofficial orthodoxies'. Attempts to understand, police and eradicate all these, through methods such as the Inquisition, required no less ingenuity. The ambivalent dynamic evident in the tensions between coercion and dissent is still recognisable and productive in the world today.
The title of this book indicates at once its aim and its limitations. It makes no pretence to be a complete history of the early industrial life of England, but at the same time it does claim to be an introduction to the study of that subject. It is my hope, and indeed my belief, that from it the general reader, equipped with interest in the history of his country rather than with technical knowledge, will obtain something more than a bare outline of industrial conditions in pre-Elizabethan days. The student who is anxious to go more deeply into the subjects here treated may use this book as a road map and the footnotes as finger-posts to guide him to the heights of completer knowledge. From the nature of my subject it was inevitable that the book should be full of technicalities, figures, and statistics, but it has been my endeavour to render the technicalities intelligible, and to prevent the significance of the statistics being obscured by an excess of detail. The scheme which I have adopted is to treat the leading medieval industries one by one, showing as far as possible their chief centres, their chronological development, the conditions and the methods of working. With the disposal of the finished products through intermediaries, merchants, or shopkeepers, I have not concerned myself, deeming such matters rather to belong to the realms of trade and commerce than of industry; and for this same reason, and also because it has been dealt with by other writers, I have not dealt with the great source of England's wealth—wool. Agriculture, also, and fishing I have excluded from my definition of industry. A more culpable omission, which I think calls for a word of explanation, is shown in the case of building. This, however, is not omitted by an oversight, nor yet through any desire to save myself trouble. I had collected a great mass of material for an intended section on the Building Industry, but after careful consideration I came to the conclusion that the material available was so exceedingly technical, and the obscurity of the details so greatly in excess of their value when elucidated, as to render such a section rather a weariness and a stumbling-block to the student than a help. The subjects treated in the several sections are thoroughly representative, if not completely exhaustive, of English industrial life, and a general survey of the subject is contained in my last chapter, where I have outlined as broadly as possible the general principles that governed the Control of Industry—the typical regulations made by, or for, the craftsmen in the interest of the employer, the workman, or the consumer. This last section might, of course, easily have been extended to cover more pages than this whole volume, but it is questionable whether multiplicity of detail tends to ease of assimilation. A single typical instance of a prevalent custom or regulation is as significant as a list of a dozen local variations, and far easier to remember. A rule is more easily remembered by one example than by a score, and with such a wealth of material as exists the risk of obscurity is greater from amplification than from concentration.
The Middle Ages was a critical and formative time for Western approaches to our natural surroundings.ãeeAn Environmental History of the Middle Ages is a unique and unprecedented cultural survey of attitudes towards the environment during this period. Humankindâe(tm)s relationship with the environment shifted gradually over time from a predominantly adversarial approach to something more overtly collaborative, until a series of ecological crises in the late Middle Ages. With the advent of shattering events such as the Great Famine and the Black Death, considered efflorescences of the climate downturn known as the Little Ice Age that is comparable to our present global warming predicament, medieval people began to think of and relate to their natural environment in new and more nuanced ways. They now were made to be acutely aware of the consequences of human impacts upon the environment, anticipating the cyclical, "new ecology" approach of the modern world. Exploring the entire medieval period from 500 to 1500, and ranging across the whole of Europe, from England and Spain to the Baltic and Eastern Europe, John Aberth focuses his study on three key areas: the natural elements of air, water, and earth; the forest; and wild and domestic animals. Through this multi-faceted lens, An Environmental History of the Middle Ages sheds fascinating new light on the medieval environmental mindset. It will be essential reading for students, scholars and all those interested in the Middle Ages
Medieval literature is separated from us by so many centuries that it may seem completely foreign, both in its concerns and its techniques. However, this literature has much to say to 21st century readers and Steinberg’s book demonstrates its continuing relevance and appeal. This introduction to medieval literature provides some of the cultural context that readers need to know in order to understand the literature, such as the religious orientation of the people, often deep and sincere but sometimes treated casually or subjected to intense scrutiny. The first chapter provides a brief explanation of medieval religious thought, cosmology and intellectual history. The remaining chapters provide introductions to a number of individual works ranging from Beowulf to the works of Chaucer. Avoiding the tendency to regard the Middle Ages as an era dominated by Christian men, these discussions include works by women writers and Jewish writers and a chapter on the medieval Japanese masterpiece The Tale of Genji. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Publisher: London, England : H. Miller Publishers ; Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press
Written by a world-renowned authority on the subject, this lavishly illustrated introduction to book illumination--one of the most significant art forms of the Middle Ages--is a unique account of facts and ideas gathered during a lifetime of teaching and research.
This Handbook shows the links between medieval and contemporary philosophy. Topic-based essays on all areas of philosophy explore this relationship and introduce the main themes of medieval philosophy. They are preceded by the fullest chronological survey now available of the different traditions: Latin and Greek, Islamic and Jewish.
The Middle Ages spanned the period between two watersheds in the history of the biblical text: Jerome's Latin translation c.405 and Gutenberg's first printed version in 1455. The Bible was arguably the most influential book during this time, affecting spiritual and intellectual life, popular devotion, theology, political structures, art, and architecture. In an account that is sensitive to the religiously diverse world of the Middle Ages, Frans van Liere offers here an accessible introduction to the study of the Bible in this period. Discussion of the material evidence - the Bible as book - complements an in-depth examination of concepts such as lay literacy and book culture. This introduction includes a thorough treatment of the principles of medieval hermeneutics, and a discussion of the formation of the Latin bible text and its canon. It will be a useful starting point for all those engaged in medieval and biblical studies.
The Middle Ages in Texts and Texture is an introduction to medieval Europe unlike any other. These 26 essays, written by accomplished scholars all trained at the University of California, Berkeley, reflect on medieval texts and the opportunities they present for exploration of the Middle Ages. Introduced in a foreword by Thomas N. Bisson (Harvard University), these essays present a textured picture of the medieval world and offer models for how to reflect fruitfully on medieval sources. To help orient the reader, three maps, the editor's introduction, and an index are provided.
Dramatic social and economic change during the middle ages altered the lives of the people of Britain in far-reaching ways, from the structure of their families to the ways they made their livings. In this economic history, Christopher Dyer provides a new account of British medieval life from the Viking invasions through the Norman conquest to the colonial expansion of the sixteenth century.
‘The best short introduction to medieval sexuality that I have read: a remarkable book.’ -Vern Bullough, Reviews in History 'Undergraduate and graduate students will find in Karras’ book an extremely helpful guide to what can be a confusing and perplexing body of scholarship. Even established scholars are likely to find it enlightening as well as enjoyable.' - James Brundage, Journal of Ecclesiastical History ‘An impressively synthetic and highly readable survey of current scholarship on medieval sexuality that will be of considerable use in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.’ - Emma Campbell, Signs Sexuality in medieval Europe has become a vital scholarly field that is now recognized as central to the study of the Middle Ages. Using a wide collection of evidence from the late Antique period up until the fifteenth century, this new edition of the standard overview on the topic demonstrates that medieval culture developed sexual identities that were quite different from the identities we think of today, yet that were still in some ways ancestral to our own. Challenging the way the Middle Ages have been treated in general histories of sexuality, Ruth Mazo Karras shows how views at the time were conflicted and complicated; there was no single medieval attitude towards sexuality any more than there is one modern attitude. The well-known lusty priest and the ‘repressed’ penitent have their roles to play, but set here in a wider context these figures take on fascinating new dimensions. Focusing on acceptable marital sexual activity as well as what was seen as transgressive, the chapters cover such topics as chastity, the role of the church, and non-reproductive activity. Combining an overview of research on the topic with original interpretations, now updated with the latest scholarship and additional material from medieval Christian Europe, Jewish medieval culture and the Islamic world, Sexuality in Medieval Europe is essential reading for all those who study medieval history and culture, or who have an interest in the way sexuality and sexual identity have been viewed in the past.
A companion to the medieval papacy' brings together an international group of experts on various aspects of the medieval papacy. Each chapter provides an up-to-date introduction to and scholarly interpretation of topics of crucial importance to the development of the papacy?s thinking about its place in the medieval world and of its institutional structures. 0Topics covered include: the Papal States; the Gregorian Reform; papal artistic self-representation; hierocratic theory; canon law; decretals; councils; legates and judges delegate; the apostolic camera, chancery, penitentiary, and Rota; relations with Constantinople; crusades; missions. The volume includes an introductory chapter by Thomas F.X. Noble on the historiographical challenges of writing medieval papal history.
This volume surveys the interpretation of St. Paul by patristic and medieval exegetes. It also examines the use of Paul by medieval reformers, canon lawyers, and spiritual teachers and Paul’s portrayal in medieval literature and art.
This is the first comprehensive study of an ingenious number-notation from the Middle Ages that was devised by monks and mainly used in monasteries. A simple notation for representing any number up to 99 by a single cipher, somehow related to an ancient Greek shorthand, first appeared in early-13th-century England, brought from Athens by an English monk. A second, more useful version, due to Cistercian monks, is first attested in the late 13th century in what is today the border country between Belgium and France: with this any number up to 9999 can be represented by a single cipher. The ciphers were used in scriptoria - for the foliation of manuscripts, for writing year-numbers, preparing indexes and concordances, numbering sermons and the like, and outside the scriptoria - for marking the scales on an astronomical instrument, writing year-numbers in astronomical tables, and for incising volumes on wine-barrels. Related notations were used in medieval and Renaissance shorthands and coded scripts. This richly-illustrated book surveys the medieval manuscripts and Renaissance books in which the ciphers occur, and takes a close look at an intriguing astrolabe from 14th-century Picardy marked with ciphers. With Indices. "Mit Kings luzider Beschreibung und Bewertung der einzelnen Funde und ihrer Beziehungen wird zugleich die Forschungsgeschichte - die bis dato durch Widerspruechlichkeit und Diskontinuität geprägt ist - umfassend aufgearbeitet." Zeitschrift fuer Germanistik.
The Song of Songs in Western Medieval Christianity
Author: E. Ann Matter
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
The Song of Songs, eight chapters of love lyrics found in the collection of wisdom literature attributed to Solomon, is the most enigmatic book of the Bible. For thousands of years Jews and Christians alike have preserved it in the canon of scripture and used it in liturgy. Exegetes saw it as a central text for allegorical interpretations, and so the Song of Songs has exerted an enormous influence on spirituality and mysticism in the Western tradition. In the Voice of My Beloved, E. Ann Matter focuses on the most fertile moment of Song of Songs interpretation: the Middle Ages. At least eighty Latin commentaries on the text survive from the period. In tracing the evolution of these commentaries, Matter reveals them to be a vehicle for expressing changing medieval ideas about the church, the relationship between body and soul, and human and divine love. She shows that the commentaries constitute a well-defined genre of medieval Latin literature. And in discussing the exegesis of the Song of Songs, she takes into account the modern exegesis of the book and feminist critiques of the theology embodied in the text.