ISBN-10:
0393059758
ISBN-13:
9780393059755
Pub. Date:
02/22/2010
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade

The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade

by Susan Wise Bauer
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Overview

A masterful narrative of the Middle Ages, when religion became a weapon for kings all over the world.


From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T’ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled.


In her earlier work, The History of the Ancient World, Susan Wise Bauer wrote of the rise of kingship based on might. But in the years between the fourth and the twelfth centuries, rulers had to find new justification for their power, and they turned to divine truth or grace to justify political and military action. Right thus replaces might as the engine of empire.


Not just Christianity and Islam but the religions of the Persians and the Germans, and even Buddhism, are pressed into the service of the state. This phenomenon—stretching from the Americas all the way to Japan—changes religion, but it also changes the state.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393059755
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/22/2010
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 746
Sales rank: 50,748
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

Susan Wise Bauer is a writer, educator, and historian. Her previous books include the Writing With Ease, Writing With Skill, and Story of the World series from Well-Trained Mind Press, as well as The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, Rethinking School, The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory, and the History of the World series, all from W. W. W. Norton. She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, as well as an M.A. in seventeenth-century literature and a Master of Divinity in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature. For fifteen years, she taught literature and composition at the College of William and Mary.

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From the Publisher

"[A] witty and well-written examination of world history...that is rich in detail and intriguing in anecdotal information." —-Publishers Weekly

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The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Cradlow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A tremendous book, which included more than just Europe in its scope. Well worth the time to read.
Zommbie1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I really like about this book is the accessible language. Wise Bauer does not, like many academics, pepper the text with words that, once you look them up, turn out to mean something really simple. This is something I often find annoying with academics (and I have been a student for more years than I care to admit). The accessibility of the text is one of its clear strengths. That said this is definitely a book you need to study rather than read. You need to have a notebook at hand and keep a personal timeline (there are timelines in the book but for your own reference I suggest making one for yourself when people are mentioned). You need the maps and you need to be able to flip back a forth to different maps to keep people, places and armies apart. Each chapter has a short summary (two to three indented lines). I am in two minds about these. On the one hand it is helpful to know what the chapter is about. On the other hand I like finding that out for myself. Part of me is left to wonder if the author things she should do my job for me. Although the book contains several parts about religions other than Christianity but I find that Christianity is the main focus of the book. Although I know that there are reasons for this, much of the politics in Europe were tied to the church at this time I wish that especially the first two sections had been a bit more balanced with regards to Europe-Asia. As a Scandinavian I also wish that there had been more information about the Vikings and not just them sacking Europe. Overall I found this book to be a fair introduction to this period in time but I would want to read other sources as well.
HowardG2 More than 1 year ago
Reads like a good medieval thriller, hardly like dry history at all. The book balances intricate detail well (it even includes a bit about Good King Wenceslas) portraying decisive historical movements and political rises and falls in western and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, the Far East, Central and South Asia. Human emotion, ambition, religion used genuinely and in the most cynical ways, drive the narrative vigorously so we never forget these are human beings and not just names, cruel, weak, kind, courageous, every kind of shade and nuance.
jmgallen More than 1 year ago
I had read relatively little about the Medieval World so I decided to broaden my horizons with “The History of the Medieval World”. It did more than I had anticipated. I had expected it to concentrate on Europe but it truly is a world history. It covers Europe from the decline of the Roman Empire through the rise of the first nation states. It also includes the histories of the Middle East, China, India, Japan, Korea and even the Americas. I found the sections on Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Americas to be of interest, largely because they tended to tie together trends and events of which I was aware in isolation. I found the process by which peoples morphed and coalesced to be informative. The Asian sections were of less interest because I lacked frames of reference to which I could relate what I was hearing. Author Susan Wise Bauer is skilled at weaving the interesting religious movements into the overall story. The shifting political alignments during the Middle Ages began to make sense. I am glad that I listened to this book but would have enjoyed it more had the Asian sections been omitted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting book, especially fascinating parts detailing the role religion had in holding back change in thinking. Lots of detail about famous people of the era, from Martin Luther and the Borgia and Medici popes to historical figures in general -
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