1st Edition

Authorship, Worldview, and Identity in Medieval Europe

Edited By Christian Raffensperger Copyright 2022
    364 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    364 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What did medieval authors know about their world? Were they parochial and focused on just their monastery, town, or kingdom? Or were they aware of the broader medieval Europe that modern historians write about? This collection brings the focus back to medieval authors to see how they described their world. While we see that each author certainly had their own biases, the vast majority of them did not view the world as constrained to their small piece of it. Instead, they talked about the wider world, and often they had informants or textual sources that informed them about the world, even if they did not visit it themselves. This volume shows that they also used similar ideas to create space and identity – whether talking about the desert, the holy land, or food practices in their texts. By examining medieval authors and their own perceptions of their world, this collection offers a framework for discussions of medieval Europe in the twenty-first century.


    1. Introduction – the medieval world then and now

    Christian Raffensperger

    Part 1: A Wider World

    2. The Horizons of Gregory of Tours

    Erin Thomas Dailey

    3. When World Views Collide? The Travel Narratives of Haraldr Sigurðarson of Norway

    Bjørn Bandlien

    4. Concubinage in New Contexts: Interfaith Borrowings and the Rulers of Castile-León in the High Middle Ages

    Stacey E. Murrell

    5. Finding Byzantine-Norman Common Ground:Classics and Christianity in Tzetzes’ Encomium to Loukia

    Hannah Ewing

    6. Imagined Geographies in Early Rus’

    Inés García de la Puente

    7. The Globe in Thirteenth-Century Hispania: Archbishop Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada and his World

    Lucy K. Pick

    8. The World View of Marco Polo’s Devisament dou monde: Commercial Marvels, Silk Route Nostalgia and Global Empire in the Late Middle Ages

    Teresa Shawcross

    9. Treasuries as Windows to the Medieval World: San Isidoro de León and Saint Blaise at Braunschweig

    Jitske Jasperse

    Part 2: Neighbors and Neighborhoods

    10. Adam’s of Bremen view of the Polabian Slavs

    Christian Lübke

    11. Into the Wild West: Two Twelfth-Century Clerics’ View of Medieval Brittany

    Amy Livingstone

    12. An Irish Sea King?: Ethnicity and Legitimacy in the Vita Griffini filii Conani and Historia Gruffud vab Kenan

    Rebecca Thomas

    13. Saxo and the Slavs

    Kurt Villads Jensen

    14. Is there any other world? Imagination of the outside world in the medieval historiography of the Czech lands based on the chronicles Cosmas of Prague, so called Dalimil and Přibík Pulkava of Radenín

    David Kalhous

    15.’Und gras vor spise zeren’: Migration, Fermentation, and the Map of Civilization in the Baltic Crusades

    Paul Milliman

    16. Bulgaria - the new Byzantium: Political ideology and self-perception in a medieval Balkan State

    Panos Sophoulis

    17. Medieval Welsh Ethnic Nicknames and Implications for the Welsh View of their Geopolitical Context, 1050 – 1400

    Frederick Suppe


    Christian Raffensperger is the Kenneth E. Wray Chair in the Humanities at Wittenberg University, as well as a Professor and Chair of History. His work focuses on connecting eastern Europe into the larger medieval European world, as seen in Reimagining Europe: Kievan Rus’ and the Medieval World (2012) and Conflict, Bargaining, and Kinship Networks in Medieval Eastern Europe (2018).

    New Books Network podcast with the author on the book: