Contesting the Middle Ages: Debates that are Changing our Narrative of Medieval History, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Contesting the Middle Ages

Debates that are Changing our Narrative of Medieval History, 1st Edition

By John Aberth


344 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415729307
pub: 2018-10-02
Hardback: 9780415729291
pub: 2018-10-02
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315712826
pub: 2018-10-03
from $17.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


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.


'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

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?

About the Author

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General