Atlas of the Medieval World

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9780195221589: Atlas of the Medieval World
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Forged in an age of faith and war and tempered by great statesmen, religious leaders and artists, medieval civilizations witnessed remarkable transformations. Far from being a homogeneous world of knights and castles, the era saw a multitude of contrasting and often competing cultures, many of which became the foundation stones for the emergence of modern societies. From the expansion of Islam across the Mediterranean to the appearance of centralized states and Christian monarchies, the Atlas of the Medieval World draws from new archival and archaeological evidence to reveal a period of astonishing cultural vibrancy and political diversity.

Alongside stunning maps covering nearly a millennium of one of the most formative phases in history, hundreds of exquisite pictures of art and architecture accompany expertly written text edited by Rosamond McKitterick, Professor of Early Medieval History at Cambridge University to bring an extraordinary period to life as no reference has before. The Arab invasions of Europe, the empire of Charlemagne, the African kingdoms of Songhai and Mali, the Crusades, the Viking and Mongol invasions, the Delhi sultanate and the T'ang and Ming empires are just a few of the subjects explained in the Atlas of the Medieval World. What's more, cultural and economic trends such as the spread of literacy and the growth of towns receive equal attention alongside the emergence of kingdoms and the march of armies to form a comprehensive history of all major societies outside of the Americas during the Middle Ages.

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About the Author:


Rosamond McKitterick is Professor of Early Medieval History, Cambridge University. She is also the editor of numerous books including The Early Middle Ages: Europe 400-1000, The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 2, and The Frankish Kings and Culture in the Early Middle Ages.

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This exquisite atlas, published in England in 2003 as The Times Medieval World, traces a millennium of historical development ranging from the demise of the Roman Empire to the sixteenth century. Divided into three chronological parts, the volume covers political, religious, and cultural change all over the globe. Editor McKitterick is a leading medieval historian at Cambridge University.

There are close to 100 maps, ranging from photographs and reproductions of medieval maps to contemporary digitally produced maps illustrating migrations, trade routes, paths of marauding armies, ethnic and cultural distributions, and religious affiliations by place. Numerous lavish photographs of places, relics, and works of art are also included. Period quotations by various personages are liberally sprinkled throughout, ranging from King John's "Charter of Liberties for the English," a part of the Magna Carta, to the comments of Benjamin of Tudela, an itinerant, on Italian city-states. Many of the illustrations and maps occupy a full page, making them easy to read and dissect. It is difficult to overstate the elegance of these maps and reproductions, which, in combination with the text, give the atlas a truly extravagant, almost multimedia feel. For example, a portion of the "Towns and Trades in the Early Middle Ages" section depicts a town plan of the medieval commercial center of Dorestad in the upper left corner. Underneath this is a photograph of two Frankish swords, while the entire right-hand page is taken up with a detail photograph of a ninth-century Byzantine silk that had made its way to central Europe. Finally, a quotation from a letter written by Charlemagne to the King of Mercia is centered above the main text.

The progression of time is marked throughout the atlas by a time line running along the bottom of the pages. There are also an index, a glossary of historical terms and names, and a bibliography for each of the three parts of the atlas. Overall, this volume would be a welcome addition to academic, public, and high-school libraries. Michael Tosko
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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