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The Later Middle Ages

Edited by Isabella Lazzarini

Publication Date - June 2021

ISBN: 9780198731634

320 pages
8.5 x 5.4 inches

In Stock


Of all the sub-periods in which European medieval history has been divided over time, the later middle ages is possibly the one on which the burden of past and current grand narratives weighs the most. Its chronological and geopolitical boundaries are shaped by a heavy narrative of decline or transition, and consequently this period is often interpreted through the lenses of previous or following developments, becoming in turn the tail-end of the 'feudal', 'communal', 'imperial versus papal' era or the announcement of modernity. The Later Middle Ages addresses the urgent need to revise and rewrite the story of this period, forging new critical and technical vocabularies not derived from the study of other periods. By adopting a conscious approach towards temporal and spatial variety, and by breaking the traditional and unitary narrative of decline and transition into one of many changes and continuities, it charts the principal developments of late medieval Europe while opening up to different political cultures and societies, throwing new light on older concepts, and revealing analogies and differences with other geopolitical contexts.

Including maps, illustrations, a detailed chronology and a rich range of reading suggestions, The Later Middle Ages aims at providing a first introduction to a very complex, dynamic, and fascinating period for Europe and beyond.


  • Chapters authored by leading experts offer focused, innovative, and syntheric insights into a major theme
  • Covers a broad range of issues, including politics, culture, spirituality, economiocs, society, gender, and global history
  • Includes maps, images, a detailed chronology, and further reading

About the Author(s)

Isabella Lazzarini, Professor of Medieval History, University of Molise

Isabella Lazzarini (Mantova, 1964), studied at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, and qualified as Professor of Medieval History in 2013; she teaches at the University of Molise. Her research interests focus on the political, social, and cultural history of late medieval Italy, with an emphasis on Renaissance diplomacy and the growth of different political languages in documentary sources. She has been a Leverhulme Trust visiting professor (Jan.-June 2011) and a Marie Curie COFUND senior research fellow at the University of Durham (Jan.-March 2012); a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford (Sept.-Dec. 2012) and a professeur invité at the Ecole Nationale des Chartes, Paris (Feb. 2014) and at the Sorbonne (Chaire Dupront, Feb. 2020).

Table of Contents

    Introduction, Isabella Lazzarini
    1. Principalities, Powers, and Political Life, John Watts
    2. The Economy, Stephan R. Epstein (Christopher Dyer)
    3. The Church and Religious Life, Robert Swanson
    4. Culture and the Arts, Alexander Lee
    5. Space, Time, and the World, Matthew Kempshall
    6. Society, Family, and Gender, Catherine Kovesi
    7. Global Middle Ages: The East, Catherine Holmes
    Conclusion: Into the Sixteenth Century, Isabella Lazzarini