Reading the Middle Ages Volume II: From c.900 to c.1500

Reading the Middle Ages Volume II: From c.900 to c.1500

by Barbara H. Rosenwein (Editor)


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The third edition of Reading the Middle Ages retains the strengths of previous editions—thematic and geographical diversity, clear and informative introductions, and close integration with A Short History of the Middle Ages—and adds significant new materials, especially on the Byzantine and Islamic worlds and the Mediterranean region. This volume spans the period c.900 to c.1500. The stunning "Reading through Looking" color insert, which showcases medieval artifacts, has been expanded to include essays on weapons and warfare by medievalist Riccardo Cristiani. New maps, timelines, and genealogies aid readers in following knotty but revealing sources. On the History Matters website (, students have access to hundreds of Questions for Reflection.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442636804
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
Publication date: 05/03/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,098,528
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Barbara H. Rosenwein is Professor Emerita, Department of History, Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of many books, including Generations of Feeling: A History of Emotions (600—1700), What Is the History of Emotions? (with Riccardo Cristiani), The Middle Ages in 50 Objects (with Elina Gertsman), A Short History of the Middle Ages, and Reading the Middle Ages: Sources from Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic World.

Table of Contents

Reading through Looking
Abbreviations and Symbols
Authorized Version of the Bible

IV. Political Communities Reordered (c.900—c.1050)

Regionalism: Its Advantages and Its Discontents
4.1 Fragmentation in the Islamic world: Al-Tabari, The Defeat of the Zanj Revolt (c.915)
4.2 The powerful in the Byzantine countryside: Romanus I Lecapenus, Novel (934)
4.3 Evanescent centralization in al-Andalus: Ibn 'Abd Rabbihi, Praise Be to Him (929—940)
4.4 Donating to Cluny: Cluny's Foundation Charter (910) and various charters of donation (10th—11th cent.)
Genealogy 4.1: The Grossi
4.5 Love and complaints in Angoulême: Agreement between Count William of the Aquitainians and Hugh IV of Lusignan (1028)
4.6 The Peace of God at Bourges: Andrew of Fleury, The Miracles of St. Benedict (1040—1043)

Byzantium in Ascendance
4.7 Patronage of the arts: “Theophanes Continuatus,” Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (before 963)
4.8 The toils of war: The Epitaph of Basil II (1025)
4.9 Imperial rule under two sisters: Michael Psellus, Zoe and Theodora (before 1063)

Scholarship and the Arts across the Islamic World
4.10 Political theory: Al-Farabi, The Perfect State (c.940—942)
4.11 A Jewish poet in al-Andalus: Dunash ben Labrat, There Came a Voice (mid-10th cent.)
4.12 Education: Al-Qabisi, A Treatise Detailing the Circumstances of Students and the Rules Governing Teachers and Students (before 1012)

Kingdoms in East Central Europe
4.13 Hungary as heir of Rome: King Stephen, Laws (1000—1038)
4.14 Coming to terms with Catholic Poland: Thietmar of Merseburg, Chronicle (1013—1018)
4.15 Poland's self-image: Boleslaw's Coin (992—1000)
4.16 Kievan Rus': The Russian Primary Chronicle (c.1113, incorporating earlier materials)

Northern Europe
4.17 An Ottonian courtier-bishop: Ruotger, Life of Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne (late 960s)
4.18 Law: King Æthelred II, Law Code (1008)
4.19 Christianity comes to Denmark: The Jelling Monument (960s)
4.20 The Vikings as enemies: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (c.1048?)
Map 4.1: Southern England
4.21 The Vikings as heroes: Egil's Saga (10th cent./13th cent.)

Timeline for Chapter Four

V. New Configurations (c.1050—c.1150)

The Seljuk Transformation
5.1 The Seljuks as enemies: Abu'l-Fazl Beyhaqi, The Battle of Dandanqan (before 1077)
Map 5.1: The Early Seljuk Empire
5.2 Shi'ites vilified: Nizam al-Mulk, The Book of Policy (1091)

A Profit Economy
5.3 Cultivating new lands: Frederick of Hamburg's Agreement with Colonists from Holland (1106)
5.4 Urban commerce: Ibn 'Abdun, Regulations for the Market at Seville (early 12th cent.)
5.5 The role of royal patronage: Henry I, Privileges for the Citizens of London (1130—1133)

Church Reform
5.6 The pope's challenge: Gregory VII, Admonition to Henry IV (1075)
5.7 The royal response: Henry IV, Letter to Gregory VII (1075)
5.8 The papal view: Gregory VII, Letter to Hermann of Metz (1076)

The Clergy in Action
5.9 Dressing for the liturgy: Vesting Prayers (c.1000?)
5.10 Keeping tabs: A Visitation Record (1268)

The First Crusade
5.11 Calling the crusade: Robert the Monk, Pope Urban II Preaches the First Crusade (1095)
5.12 Jewish martyrs: Solomon bar Samson, Chronicle (c.1140)
5.13 A Westerner in the Holy Land: Stephen of Blois, Letter to His Wife (March 1098)
5.14 The Muslim view: Ibn al-Qalanisi, The Damascus Chronicle of the Crusades (before 1160)

The Norman Conquest of England
5.15 The pro-Norman position: William of Jumièges, The Deeds of the Dukes of the Normans (c.1070)
5.16 The native position: “Florence of Worcester,” Chronicle of Chronicles (early 12th cent.)
5.17 The Conquest depicted: The Bayeux Tapestry (end of the 11th cent.)
5.18 Exploiting the Conquest: Domesday Book (1087)

The Twelfth-Century Renaissance
5.19 Logic: Peter Abelard, Glosses on Porphyry (c.1100)
5.20 Medical science: Constantine the African's translation of Johannitius's Isagoge (before 1098)

Cluniacs and Cistercians
5.21 The Cistercian view: St. Bernard, Apologia (1125)
5.22 The Cluniac view: Peter the Venerable, Miracles (mid-1130s—mid-1150s)

Timeline for Chapter Five

VI. Institutionalizing Aspirations (c.1150—c.1250)

Wars Holy and Unholy
6.1 The Northern Crusades: Helmold, The Chronicle of the Slavs (1167—1168)
6.2 Saladin's jihad: Ibn Shaddad, The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin (1195—1216)
6.3 The Fourth Crusade: Nicetas Choniates, O City of Byzantium (c.1215)

Grounding Justice in Royal Law
6.4 English common law: The Assize of Clarendon (1166)
6.5 The legislation of a Spanish king: The Laws of Cuenca (1189—1193)

Local Arrangements
6.6 A Byzantine monastery on Cyprus: Neophytos, Testamentary Rule for the Hermitage of the Holy Cross (1214)
6.7 Doing business: A Genoese societas (1253)
6.8 Women's work: Guild Regulations of the Parisian Silk Fabric Makers (13th cent.)

Bureaucracy at the Papal Curia
6.9 The growth of papal business: Innocent III, Letters (1200—1202)
6.10 Petitioning the papacy: Register of Thomas of Hereford (1281)
6.11 Mocking the papal bureaucracy: The Gospel According to the Marks of Silver (c.1200)

6.12 Henry II and Becket: The Constitutions of Clarendon (1164)
6.13 Emperor and pope: The Diet of Besançon (1157)
6.14 King and nobles: Magna Carta (1215)

New Literary Forms
6.15 Byzantine romantic fiction: Niketas Eugenianos, Drosilla and Charikles (c.1156)
6.16 Love and propriety in al-Andalus: Anonymous, The Tale of Bayad and Riyad (early 13th cent.)
6.17 A troubadour love song: Bernart de Ventadorn, When I see the lark (c.1147—after 1172)
6.18 A trobairitz love song: La Comtessa de Dia, I have been in heavy grief (late 12th—early 13th cent.)
6.19 A political song from the south of France: Bertran de Born, Half a sirventés I'll sing (1190)
6.20 Fabliaux: The Piece of Shit and The Ring That Controlled Erections (13th cent.)
6.21 Romance: Chrétien de Troyes, Lancelot (c.1177—1181)

Developments in Religious Sensibilities
6.22 Disciplining and purifying Christendom: Decrees of Lateran IV (1215)
6.23 Devotion through poverty: Peter Waldo in The Chronicle of Laon (1173—1178)
6.24 Devotion through mysticism: Jacques de Vitry, The Life of Mary of Oignies (1213)
6.25 The mendicant movement: St. Francis, A Rule for Hermitages (1217—1221) and The Testament (1226)
6.26 Religious feeling turned violent: Chronicle of Trier (1231)

Timeline for Chapter Six

VII. Tensions and Reconciliations (c.1250—c.1350)

The Mongols and the Mamluks
7.1 A spokesman for Mongol rule: Rashid al-Din, Universal History (before 1318)
Genealogy 7.1: The Mongol Khans
7.2 A Mongol reply to the pope: Guyuk Khan, Letter to Pope Innocent IV (1246)
7.3 The Hungarian king bewails the Mongol invasions: Béla IV, Letter to Pope Innocent IV (c.1250)
7.4 An Islamic account of the fall of Acre: Abu'l-Fida, A Short History of Mankind (1318—1319)
7.5 A Christian account of the fall of Acre: “The Templar of Tyre,” Deeds of the Cypriots (before 1343)
7.6 The global economy: Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, The Practice of Trade (c.1340s)
Map 7.1: Place Names from Azov to Hangzhou

New Formations in Eastern Europe
7.7 Poland as a frontier society: The Henryków Book (c.1268)
7.8 The Lithuanian duke flirts with Christianity: Duke Gediminas, Letter to Pope John XXII (1322) and Letter to the townspeople of Lübeck, Rostock, Stralsund, Greifswald, Stettin, and Gotland (May 26, 1323)
7.9 Pagan Lithuania in Christian Europe: Peter of Dusburg, Chronicle of the Prussian Land (c.1320—1326)
7.10 Bulgaria claims a saint: The Short Life of St. Petka (Paraskeve) of Tarnov (13th cent.)

Transformations in the Cities
7.11 The popolo gains power: The Ghibelline Annals of Piacenza (1250)
7.12 The Hanseatic League: Decrees of the League (1260—1264)
7.13 Too big to fail? A Great Bank Petitions the City Council of Siena (1298)

Heresies and Persecutions
7.14 Inquisition: Jacques Fournier, Episcopal Register (1318—1325)
7.15 Jews in England: Statute of the Jewry (1275) and Petition of the “Commonalty” of the Jews (shortly after 1275)

Rulers and Ruled
7.16 The Spanish Cortes: Alfonso X, Cortes of Valladolid (1258)
7.17 The commons participate: Summons of Representatives of Shires and Towns to Parliament (1295)
7.18 A charismatic ruler: Joinville, The Life of St. Louis (1272)
7.19 The papal challenge: Boniface VIII, Unam sanctam (1302)

Modes of Thought, Feeling, and Devotion
7.20 Scholasticism: Thomas Aquinas, On Love (1271)
7.21 The vernacular comes into its own: Dante, Inferno, Canto V (Paolo and Francesca) (1313—1321)
7.22 Medieval drama: Directions for an Annunciation Play (14th cent.)

Timeline for Chapter Seven

VIII. Catastrophe and Creativity (c.1350—c.1500)

The Black Death
8.1 The effects of the plague: Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron (1348—1351)
8.2 Warding off the plague through processions: Ibn Battuta, Travels (before 1368)
8.3 Warding off the plague through prayer: Archbishop William, Letter to His Official at York (July 1348)
8.4 Blaming the Jews for the Black Death: Heinrich von Diessenhoven, On the Persecution of the Jews (c.1350)

The Ottomans
8.5 A Turkish hero: Ashikpashazade, Othman Comes to Power (late 15th cent.)
8.6 Diplomacy: Peace Agreement between the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II and the Signoria of Venice (January 25, 1478)

Byzantium: Decline and Fall
8.7 Before the fall: Patriarch Anthony, Letter to the Russian Church (1395)
8.8 The fall bewailed: George Sphrantzes, Chronicle (before 1477)
8.9 Byzantine culture persists: Petitions from the Greek Community at Venice (1470—1511)

War and Social Unrest
8.10 Chivalric and non-chivalric models: Froissart, Chronicles (c.1400)
8.11 National feeling: Jeanne d'Arc, Letter to the English (1429)
8.12 The woolworkers (ciompi) revolt at Siena: Donato di Neri and his son, Chronicle of Siena (1371)
8.13 The commons revolt: Wat Tyler's Rebellion (after 1381)

Crises and Changes in the Church and Religion
8.14 The conciliarist movement: Jean Gerson, Sermon at the Council of Constance (1415)
8.15 The Hussite program: The Four Articles of Prague (1420)

The Renaissance
8.16 Re-evaluating antiquity: Cincius Romanus, Letter to His Most Learned Teacher Franciscus de Fiana (1416)
8.17 A new theory of art: Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting (1435—1436)
8.18 Defending women: Christine de Pisan, The Book of the City of Ladies (1404—1407)

Finding a New World
8.19 Mapping the New World: Juan de la Cosa, World Chart (1500)
8.20 Taking Mexico: Hernán Cortés, The Second Letter (1520)

Timeline for Chapter Eight

Index of Names, Places, and Readings

What People are Saying About This

Cullen Chandler

"This volume is outstanding in its wide variety of source texts. Not only does Rosenwein provide sources from Byzantium, Islam, and the West, but there are texts of almost every conceivable type—from laws to mundane records to hagiography and poetry. Instructors and students will be able to reconstruct something of the rich texture of medieval life."

Maya Soifer Irish

"Just as my dog-eared copy of the second edition of Reading the Middle Ages has begun to look shabby from overuse, Barbara H. Rosenwein brings us a new version of her indispensable sourcebook. Having challenged a whole generation of college students and their instructors to study the medieval period in a comparative, global context, this classic collection of primary sources from Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia remains unsurpassed in its breadth. Grouped thematically and chronologically, the readings are carefully selected and edited to hold students' interest and inspire lively discussions. With new documents from the Islamic world and Byzantium, as well as a set of color illustrations on medieval weapons and warfare, the third edition is certain to find avid readers in an even wider array of college classrooms than before."

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