The period from the late tenth to the early fourteenth centuries was one of the most dynamic in European history. Latin Christendom found a new confidence which has left its mark upon the landscape in the form of the great cathedrals and castles, while thousands of new towns and villages were founded. The continent was carved up into dynastic kingdoms and principalities from which the European state system would evolve.
An age of great religious enthusiasm, it developed a darker side in the form of the Crusades and the persecution of heretics and Jews. In this book seven experts in the field examine how Europe was transformed in the Central Middle Ages. Thematic chapters analyse the political, social, economic, religious and intellectual history of Latin Christendom, and trace its expansion to the north, south and east.
As well as many familiar topics the authors discuss less well known aspects of the period such as the popular experience of religion or the new kingdoms of east-central Europe. The book includes a chronology of developments, a glossary, maps, illustrations and guidance for further reading.
List of Maps List of Contributors Introduction Why the ‘central Middle Ages’? Europe in the central Middle Ages: climate and environment The faultlines of European culture The political divisions of Europe Europe around the year 1000: a continent transformed? An age of expansion
1 Society Scholarly discourses versus social realities The castellan aristocracy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries A ‘nobility of privileges’ in the thirteenth century The peasantry: servitude and freedom Proud to be merchants The poor and marginalized The family The village and the lordship
2 Economy The first phase of rural economic expansion (to c.1180): an agricultural revolution? The towns and the development of a market economy The expansion of the rural economy: the second phase (c.1180 - c.1330) The coinage revolution The commercial changes of the thirteenth century The situation of Italy Credit and banking The fairs The ‘commercial revolution’ of the late thirteenth century?
3 Politics The political geography of Europe Qualifications for kingship The theory and practice of kingship The community of the realm The means and ends of political communication
4 Religion Sources The Church’s ancien régime: bishops and ritual c.1000 The process of transition Law and the Church hierarchy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries The lay experience of religion Monks, nuns, regular canons, and friars Heretics Jewish communities Muslims in Spain
5 Intellectual and Cultural Creativity Education and learning: the schools Education and learning: the universities Historians and (auto)biographers at work Vernacular culture A twelfth-century Renaissance?
6 The Expansion of Latin Christendom Christianization in Scandinavia and central Europe The new polities of central Europe The new polities of northern Europe Iberia Crusades Travels, mission, and discoveries
Conclusion Further Reading Chronology Glossary Maps Index