1st Edition

Contesting the Middle Ages
Debates that are Changing our Narrative of Medieval History

ISBN 9780415729307
Published September 17, 2018 by Routledge
362 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

Contesting the Middle Ages is a thorough exploration of recent arguments surrounding nine hotly debated topics: the decline and fall of Rome, the Viking invasions, the Crusades, the persecution of minorities, sexuality in the Middle Ages, women within medieval society, intellectual and environmental history, the Black Death, and, lastly, the waning of the Middle Ages.

The historiography of the Middle Ages, a term in itself controversial amongst medieval historians, has been continuously debated and rewritten for centuries. In each chapter, John Aberth sets out key historiographical debates in an engaging and informative way, encouraging students to consider the process of writing about history and prompting them to ask questions even of already thoroughly debated subjects, such as why the Roman Empire fell, or what significance the Black Death had both in the late Middle Ages and beyond.

Sparking discussion and inspiring examination of the past and its ongoing significance in modern life, Contesting the Middle Ages is essential reading for students of medieval history and historiography.

Table of Contents

1. If a German Migrates into your Empire, Do Not Be Alarmed: The Decline and Fall of Rome; 2. From the Obscurantism of the Northmen, O Lord, Deliver Us: The Viking Invasions; 3. God Wills It! (Or At Least the Pope Does): The Crusades; 4. I’m a Jewish, Heretic, Leper, but Don’t Hold That Against Me: Persecution of Minorities; 5. No Sex Please, We’re Medieval: Sexuality in the Middle Ages; 6. Hail Mary and Eve: Women in Medieval Society; 7. The Man Who Tore his Eyes Out over Unity of Form: Intellectual and  Environmental History; 8. Ashes to Ashes, We All Fall Down: The Black Death; 9. Always Look on the Bright Side of Death: A Waning of the Middle Ages?

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John Aberth is an independent scholar and medieval historian. He received his Ph.D. in Medieval History from the University of Cambridge, UK, and has taught, both full and part-time, at various colleges and universities in Vermont, New York, and Nebraska. He is the author of numerous books on the Black Death and European culture during the late Middle Ages.




'A tour de force of historical research and scholarship. For anyone new to some of the major debates about the Middle Ages or interested in a refresher, this book is a must have. Aberth adroitly and confidently tackles some of the most hotly contested issues in Medieval history and whether one ends up agreeing or disagreeing with him, one will be richer for the experience.'

Jarbel Rodriguez, San Francisco State University, USA