The Civilization of the Middle Ages

A Completely Revised and Expanded Edition of Medieval History: The Life and Death of a Civilization

Norman F. Cantor

Publisher: HarperCollins, 1993, 604 pages

ISBN: 0-06-017033-6

Keywords: History

Last modified: Aug. 1, 2021, 3:35 p.m.

The most readable and imaginative one-volume history of the middle ages in the English language!

  • Preface
  • One The Heritage of the Ancient World
    1. Politics and Society
    2. Philosophy and Religion
  • Two The Foundations of the Middle Ages
    1. From Judaism to Christianity
    2. Decline and Fall
    3. The Roman Destiny
    4. Patristic Culture
  • Three The Age of the Barbarian Invasions
    1. The Germans
    2. The First Century of the Invasions
    3. The Ostrogothic and Frankish Kingdoms
  • Four Justinian and Mohammed
    1. The Nemesis of Byzantine Power
    2. The Impact of Islam on Early Medieval Europe
  • Five The Advance of Ecclesiastical Leadership
    1. The Rise of Monasticism
    2. Gregory the Great and the Early Medieval Papacy
  • Six The Making of Carolingian Kingship
    1. Anglo-Irish Culture and the Colonial Phenomenon
    2. The Carolingian Enigma
    3. Monarchy and Papacy
  • Seven Culture and Society in the First Europe
    1. The Carolingian World
    2. The Feudal Organization of Society
  • Eight Ecclesia and Mundus
    1. The Nature of the Early Medieval Equilibrium
    2. The Norman Feudal State
    3. The Ottonian Empire
    4. The Cluniac Ideal
  • Nine Byzantium, Islam, and the West
    1. The Limitations of Byzantine and Islamic Civilizations
    2. The Rise of Europe
  • Ten Europe in 1050
  • Eleven The Gregorian World Revolution
    1. The Nature and Origin of the Gregorian Reform
    2. The Debate on the Essentials of a Christian Society
    3. The German Investiture Controversy
  • Twelve The Anglo-Norman Monarchy and the Emergence of the Bureaucratic State
    1. The Triumph of William the Bastard
    2. The Significance of the English Investiture Controversy
  • Thirteen The First Crusade and After
    1. Origins of the Crusading Ideal
    2. Crusading Memories
  • Fourteen The Intellectual Expansion of Europe
    1. The Acceleration of Cultural Change
    2. The Legal Constituents of High Medieval Civilization
    3. A Great Generation: Five Leaders of Twelth-Century Thought and Feeling
    4. Literature and Society in the Twelth Century
  • Fifteen Moslem and Jewish Thought: The Aristotelian Challenge
    1. The Problem of Learning
    2. Reason and Revelation in Moslem and Jewish Thought
  • Sixteen Varieties of Religious Experience
    1. Monks and Society
    2. The Dimensions of Popular Heresy
  • Seventeen The Entrenchment of Secular Leadership
    1. Power and Charisma
    2. The Capetian Ascendancy
  • Eigtheen The Peace of Innocent III
    1. The Readirmation of Papal Leadership
    2. The Dominican and Franciscan Ideals
  • Nineteen The New Consensus and Its Limitations
    1. The Cathedral of Intellect
    2. The Moral Authority of the State
    3. The Interests of Society
  • Twenty The Search for Order
    1. An Old Land
    2. The Crisis of the Late Middle Ages
    3. Papacy and Clergy
    4. The European States
  • Twentyone Late ";"Medieval and Renaissance Culture
    1. The Harvest of Medieval Thought
    2. The Italian Renaissance
    3. Medievalism and the Middle Ages
  • The Middle Ages on Film
  • Recommended Reading
    • A Short List
    • The Long List


The Civilization of the Middle Ages

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Excellent ********** (10 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 3:25 a.m.

Sure, it exists errors in this book (some are even obvious), but in all, this is one of the great history books that really covers the later part of the Middle Ages and makes it readable and understandable. Make no mistake, Cantor concentrates on Europe (preferably Mittel-Europe and the Meditterian) and everything else is just some kind of distant back-drop.

If you're into history and haven't read it, it is about time that you did! Greatly recommended, despite its flaws!


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