This clear and comprehensive text covers the Middle Ages from the classical era to the late medieval period. Distinguished historian John Riddle provides a cogent analysis of the rulers, wars, and events-both natural and human-that defined the medieval era. Taking a broad geographical perspective, Riddle includes northern and eastern Europe, Byzantine civilization, and the Islamic states. Each, he convincingly shows, offered values and institutions-religious devotion, toleration and intolerance, laws, ways of thinking, and changing roles of women-that presaged modernity. In addition to traditional topics of pen, sword, and word, the author explores other driving forces such as science, religion, and technology in ways that previous textbooks have not. He also examines such often-overlooked issues as medieval gender roles and medicine and seminal events such as the crusades from the vantage point of both Muslims and eastern and western Christians. In addition to a thorough chronological narrative, the text offers humanizing features to engage students. Each chapter opens with a theme-setting vignette about the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people.
The book also introduces students to key controversies and themes in historiography by featuring in each chapter a prominent medieval historian and how his or her ideas have shaped contemporary thinking about the Middle Ages. Richly illustrated with color plates, this lively, engaging book will immerse readers in the medieval world, an era that shaped the foundation for the modern world.
John M. Riddle is Alumni Distinguished Professor of History emeritus at North Carolina State University. Winston Black is assistant professor of history at Assumption College.
List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgments Introduction Part I: Slow Transition from Classical to Medieval World Chapter 1: The Transformation of Classical Civilization: The Political and Economic Story through the Fifth Century ce Chapter 2: The Transformation of Classical Civilization: Religion and Culture through the Fifth Century ce Chapter 3: Warriors, Farmers, and Saints in the Barbarian Kingdoms (200-600) Chapter 4: Byzantine Empire: A Struggle for Unity and Regaining Past Glory (451-630) Chapter 5: Islam: The Religion, Politics, and Culture (570-1000) Part II: Central Middle Ages Chapter 6: Chapter 7: The Age of Charlemagne (750-814) Chapter 8: Europe: Disunited, Assaulted, and Saved (814-1024) Chapter 9: New Devotion, Growth of Towns, and Commerce (950-1100) Part III: High Middle Ages Chapter 10: The Era of the First Crusade (1071-1097) Chapter 11: The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century Chapter 12: The Flowering of the Middle Ages (ca. 1150-1300) Part IV: The Transition from the Medieval to Modern Periods Chapter 13: Falcons, Swords, Occam's Razor, and Germs: From Bouvines to the Black Death (1214-1347) Chapter 14: Conformity, Creativity, and Authority (1350-1500) Chapter 15: The Medieval Twilight in Europe and Western Asia: Decay and Discovery Epilogue Chronology 1: Roman Empire to 500 Chronology 2: 500 to 1500 Index About the Author