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Deftly written and beautifully illustrated, The Worlds of Medieval Europe, Third Edition, presents a distinctive and nuanced portrayal of the Greater West during its medieval millennium. 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.
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 recreate 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.
Clifford R. Backman is Associate Professor of History at Boston University. He is the author of The Cultures of the West (OUP, 2013) and The Decline and Fall of Medieval Sicily: Politics, Economy, and Religion in the Reign of Frederick III, 1296-1327 (1995).
Table of Contents
List of maps Preface to the Third Edition Acknowledgments 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 Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
3. Early Germanic Society Germanic Life Migrations And Invasions Europe's First Kingdoms Germanic Christianity And The Fourth "Doctor Of The Church" Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
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? Suggested Reading
8. Revolutions on Land and Sea Changes on The Land A Peasant Society Emerges Changes on The Sea a maritime society emerges suggested reading
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 Suggested Reading
10. The Reform Of The Church The Origins Of The Reform The Papal Revolution Christendom And The East Monastic Reforms Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
14. Art and Intellect in the Thirteenth Century Scholasticism From Romanesque to Gothic Vision Science And Technology Aspects of Popular Culture Suggested Reading
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) Suggesting Reading
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 Suggested Reading
17. The Crises of the Fourteenth Century Economic Difficulties The Great Famine The Black Death War Everywhere Challenges To Church Unity Suggested Reading
18. Signs of a New Era William of Ockham Marsilius of Padua Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer Christine de Pizan Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
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 Suggested Reading
Appendix A: The Medieval Popes Appendix B: The Carolingians Appendix C: The Capetians Appendix C: France: The Valois Appendix E: England: The Norman and Plantagenet Dynasties Appendix F: England: The Lancastrian and Yorkist Dynasties Appendix G: Germany: The Ottonian, Salian, and Hohenstaufen Dynasties Appendix H: Germany: The Late Medieval Emperors Appendix I: The Spanish Kingdoms, 1000-1250 Appendix J: The Spanish Kingdoms, 1250-1500 Appendix K: The Emperors in Constantinople Glossary Index