Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History, 500-1000

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9780192892638: Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History, 500-1000
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Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000 is the first single-author study in more than fifty years to offer an integrated appraisal of the early Middle Ages as a dynamic and formative period in European history. Written in an attractive and accessible style, the book makes extensive use of original sources in order to introduce early medieval men and women at all levels of society--from slave to emperor--and allows them to speak to students in their own words. It overturns traditional narratives and instead offers an entirely fresh approach to the centuries from c.500 to c.1000.
Rejecting any notion of a dominant, uniform early medieval culture, Europe after Rome argues that the fundamental characteristic of the early middle ages is diversity of experience. To explain how the men and women who lived in this period ordered their world in cultural, social, and political terms, it employs an innovative methodology that combines cultural history, regional studies, and gender history. Ranging comparatively from Ireland to Hungary and from Scotland and Scandinavia to Spain and Italy, the analysis highlights three themes: regional variation, power, and the legacy of Rome. In the context of debates about the social, religious, and cultural meaning of "Europe" in the early twenty-first century, this book seeks the origins of European cultural pluralism and diversity in the early Middle Ages.

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Review from previous edition This book is a masterpiece of condensed exposition. It is also a break-through - a truly New Cultural History - in the quiet determination of the author to approach very old themes from angles refreshingly different from those from which they have usually been approached ... It is, above all, the first complete account of the early middle ages as a civilisation in its own right. It catches the living texture of western Europe, from Rome to the Hebrides, for a half millennium of its history. It is truly the study of a civilization in its entirity ... Reading Europe After Rome I was constantly reminded of another synthesis of genius which now lies at the root of the modern study of the high middle ages - that is, Richard Southern's The Making of the Middle Ages ... It was a 'Portrait of an Age'. Julia Smith has done the same for the half millennium which preceded Southern's Middle Ages. (Professor Peter Brown, Princeton University)

Synopsis:

This is the first single-author study in over fifty years to offer an integrated appraisal of the early Middle Ages as a dynamic and formative period in European history. Written in an attractive and accessible style, it makes extensive use of original sources to introduce early medieval men and women at all levels of society from slave to emperor, and allows them to speak to the reader in their own words. It overturns traditional narratives and instead offers an entirely fresh approach to the centuries from c.500 to c.1000. Rejecting any notion of a dominant, uniform early medieval culture, it argues that the fundamental characteristic of the early middle ages is diversity of experience. To explain how the men and women who lived in this period ordered their world in cultural, social, and political terms, it employs an innovative methodology combining cultural history, regional studies, and gender history. Ranging comparatively from Ireland to Hungary and from Scotland and Scandinavia to Spain and Italy, the analysis highlights three themes: regional variation, power, and the legacy of Rome.

The book's eight chapters examine the following subjects: Speaking and Writing; Living and Dying; Friends and Relations; Men and Women; Labour and Lordship; Getting and Giving; Kingship and Christianity; Rome and the Peoples of Europe. Collectively, they establish the complex cultural realities which distinguished Europe in the period between the end of the central institutions of the western Roman empire in the fifth century and the emergence of a Rome-centred papal monarchy from the late eleventh century onwards. In the context of debates about the social, religious and cultural meaning of 'Europe' in the early twenty-first century, this books seeks the origins of European cultural pluralism and diversity in the early Middle Ages.

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9780199244270: Europe After Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000

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ISBN 10:  0199244278 ISBN 13:  9780199244270
Publisher: OUP Oxford, 2005
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