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Medieval Europe

A Short History

Twelfth Edition

Judith M. Bennett and Sandy Bardsley

Publication Date - July 2020

ISBN: 9780190064617

496 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The leading Medieval Europe history textbook, now proudly published by Oxford University Press


For five decades, Medieval Europe: A Short History has been the best-selling text for courses on the history of Medieval Europe. This acclaimed book has long been applauded for both its scholarship and its engaging narrative. Oxford University Press is pleased to continue this tradition of excellence with a new, affordable, and streamlined twelfth edition featuring a new coauthor, Sandy Bardsley. The new edition offers increased coverage of race and ethnicity, more incorporation of archaeological data, an overall streamlining of the text, and more.

New to this Edition

  • Covers the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Empire in two separate chapters
  • Treats the social and economic changes of the Central Middle Ages in two chapters (7 and 8)
  • Two new biographical sketches: Constantine the African in Chapter 4 and Cecilia Penifader in Chapter 7
  • Incorporates student learning outcomes into the beginning of each chapter
  • The price of the text has been reduced considerably, making it more accessible to students


  • For decades, this volume has set the standard for textbooks on the history of the Middle Ages
  • Chapters are enlivened by visual images, maps, and timelines that summarize key trends and highlight important issues
  • Clear, straightforward, and carefully organized chapters aid students in a full and exciting exploration of medieval Europe
  • Up-to-date scholarship, especially on the history of women and the history of the Jewish people, gives this text the advantage of being complete and seamless
  • A robust set of digital resources, including primary sources, quizzes, flashcards, and animated timelines and maps, will be available at www.oup.com/he/bennett12e

About the Author(s)

Sandy Bardsley is Professor of History at Moravian College.

Judith M. Bennett is Professor of History Emerita at University of Southern California and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


"Medieval Europe is readable, engaging, and highly informative, but still accessible. It provides the right balance of detailed information within an interpretive framework." --Adrianna Bakos, University of the Fraser Valley

"This is the best short textbook out there. It's balanced nicely between chronology and trends; it's well organized and inclusive, especially of gender; and it's written in a no-nonsense colloquial voice." --Lisa Bitel, University of Southern California

"Medieval Europe: A Short History is a concise, readable text that is perfect for college students. It provides essential background, including information about peasant and town life, instead of just a recitation of the political highlights." --Kristen Geaman, University of Toledo

"Sandy Bardsley's additions and modifications to the text are built on the latest scholarship, and she maintains the friendly tone that previous generations of readers came to appreciate." --Cullen Chandler, Lycoming College

Table of Contents

    Abbreviations and Conventions
    Biographical Sketches
    Medieval Myths
    List of Figures

    Chapter 1: Romans, Christians, and Barbarians
    The Early Middle Ages
    The Roman Peace (31 B.C.E.-180 C.E.) and After
    Barbarians and the Western Empire
    The Decline of the Western Empire

    Chapter 2: Early Western Christendom, c. 500-700
    Early Medieval Society
    Early Medieval Politics
    The Early Medieval Church
    Intellectual Life

    Chapter 3: The Byzantine Empire, c. 500-1000
    Byzantine Government
    Byzantine Christianity
    Byzantine Economy and Society
    Byzantine Culture
    The Course of Byzantine Politics

    Chapter 4: The Islamic Empires, c. 571-1100
    Arabia and Muhammad (c. 571-632)
    The Islamic Empires
    Islamic Culture
    Religion, Race, and Difference

    Chapter 5: Carolingian Europe, c. 700-850
    The Early Carolingians
    Charlemagne (r. 768-814)
    Intellectual Revival

    Chapter 6: Division, Invasion, and Reorganization, c. 800-1000
    Division: The Later Carolingians
    Invasion: Muslims, Magyars, and Vikings
    Reorganization: New Polities

    Chapter 7: Economic Takeoff and Social Change in the Countryside, c. 1000-1300
    The Central Middle Ages
    Agricultural Revolution
    Rural Society

    Chapter 8: Economic Takeoff and Social Change in Town and Court, c. 1000-1300
    The Commercial Revolution
    Urban Society
    The Landholding Aristocracy
    Feudal Society
    The Expansion of Education

    Chapter 9: Popes and the Papacy, c. 1000-1300
    Popes, Clergy, and Laity, c. 1000-1122
    The Reformed Papacy and its Church
    Innocent III and the Papacy Ascendant
    The Papacy after 1250

    Chapter 10: New Paths to God, c. 1000-1300
    The Evolution of Christian Piety
    Orthodoxy and Heresy
    Changes in Monastic Life
    The Mendicant Orders

    Chapter 11: Conquests, Crusades, and Persecutions, c. 1100-1300
    Conquests and Territorial Expansion

    Chapter 12: States Made and Unmade, c. 1000-1300
    The Holy Roman Empire: Disintegration
    England: King and Parliament
    France: The Monarchy Triumphant
    Iberia: Some Consolidation
    The States of Northern and Eastern Europe

    Chapter 13: Literature, Art, and Thought, c. 1000-1300
    Byzantine and Islamic Influences
    Intellectual Trends
    Architecture and Sculpture

    Chapter 14: Famine, Plague, and Recovery, c. 1300-1500
    The Later Middle Ages
    Economic Woes and Demographic Crisis (1300-1350)
    Adjustment and Recovery (1350-1500)
    Late Medieval Christianity

    Chapter 15: Toward the Sovereign State, c. 1300-1500
    England, France, and the Hundred Years' War
    England: Parliament, Civil War, and Tudor Monarchy
    France: Constitutional Crisis, War, and the Spider King
    The Iberian States: Consolidation through Homogenization
    New Powers on the European Periphery
    The Heritage of the Holy Roman Empire

    Chapter 16: Diversity and Dynamism in Culture, c. 1300-1500
    Literacy and Vernacular Languages
    Humanist Education
    Art and Architecture
    Political Thought

    Photo Credits