4th Edition

Introduction to Medieval Europe 300–1500

By Wim Blockmans, Peter Hoppenbrouwers Copyright 2023
    602 Pages 115 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    602 Pages 115 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Introduction to Medieval Europe 300–1500 provides a comprehensive survey of this complex and varied formative period of European history within a global context, covering themes as diverse as barbarian migrations, the impact of Christianisation, the formation of nations and states, the emergence of an expansionist commercial economy, the growth of cities, the Crusades, the effects of plague and the intellectual and cultural dynamism of the Middle Ages.

    The book explores the driving forces behind the formation of medieval society and the directions in which it developed and changed. In doing this, the authors cover a wide geographic expanse, including Western interactions with the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic World, North Africa and Asia. This fourth edition has been fully updated to reflect moves toward teaching the Middle Ages in a global context and contains a wealth of new features and topics that help to bring this fascinating era to life, including:

    • West Europe’s catching up through intensive exchange with the Mediterranean Islamic world
    • growth of autonomous cities and civic liberties
    • emergence of an empirical and rational worldview
    • climate change and intercontinental pandemics
    • European exchange with Africa and Asia
    • chapter introductions to support students’ understanding of the topics
    • a fully updated glossary to give modern students the confidence and language to discuss medieval history

    Clear and stimulating, the fourth edition of Introduction to Medieval Europe is the ideal companion to studying the entirety of medieval history at undergraduate level.

    Introduction  Part 1 The early Middle Ages, 300–1000  1. The end of the Roman Empire in the West  2. The establishment of two world religions: Christianity and Islam  3. The powerful and the poor: society and economy in the Frankish kingdoms and beyond  Part 2: The Central Middle Ages, 1000-1300  4. Early kingdoms and principalities  5. Accelerated growth  6. Religious reform and renewal  Part 3: Expansion and maturation, 1000-1500  7. The beginnings of European expansion  8. Thinking about man and the world  9. Towns and the urbanisation of medieval society  Part 4: The Late Middle Ages, 1300-1500  10. Between crisis and contraction: population, economy and society  11. The consolidation of states  12. Crisis in the Church and the reorientation of the faithful  Epilogue


    Wim Blockmans is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. His previous publications include The Routledge History Handbook of Maritime Trade around Europe 1300-1600 (2016).

    Peter Hoppenbrouwers is Professor Emeritus at the Institute for History, University of Leiden, The Netherlands. His previous publications include Village Community and Conflict in Late Medieval Drenthe (The Medieval Countryside) (2018).

    Praise for previous editions

    'Instructors seeking an alternative to the standard political and institutional narrative found in most medieval history texts will find the new edition of Blockmans and Hoppenbrouwers to be a superb choice. With its focus on social groups and cultural movements, the text is also written in a fluid style that will engage students. I look forward to using it in my next medieval history survey.'

    Edward Tabri, University of Texas at Tyler, USA

    'Introduction to Medieval Europe provides an excellent overview into the fascinating world of the Middle Ages. It covers issues such as mentalities of men and women as well as giving an insight into the world of medieval politics. Included is a thought-provoking chapter on continuities which provides a new framework for the understanding of a world distant to us both in time and place.'

    Thomas Småberg, Malmö University, Sweden

    'This is an extraordinarily wide-ranging introduction, covering Europe in its broadest sense from the British Isles to Turkey. It not only explains the political, intellectual and religious developments that occurred between the late Roman period and the Reformation but it also gives an insight into what life  must have been like for most people. An essential first port of call for anyone wishing to understand the Middle Ages.'

    Jonathan Harris, Royal Holloway University, UK

    'The particular strength of this new edition of Introduction to Medieval  Europe 300–1550  is the authors’ ability to trace the development and transformation over time of large scale social, economic, and religious structures and mentalities. How did pagans become Christians? How did slaves and peasants become serfs? How did armed horsemen become knights? Few if any other textbooks at this level can offer students such a sure guide along the path to understanding how the outlines of medieval society took shape.'

    Sean Field, University of Vermont, USA

    'This  commendably  clear  and  concise  overview  of  the  medieval period should be essential reading for all stu-dents coming to the subject for the first time. The coverage of social, economic and intellectual themes is particularly strong. Readers will appreciate the profusion of maps, diagrams and other illustrations which buttress the text.'

    Simon Barton, University of Exeter, UK

    'In their new edition on the Middle Ages, Blockmans and Hoppenbrouwers offer a rich, accessible, and valuable  resource for students and lecturers of medieval history alike. With  its expanded list of tables, figures, illustrations, color maps, primary source boxes, and annotated bibliographies, this revised text is a must-have for anyone interested in the formation of pre-modern Europe. Through a careful re-organization of materials and an extended treatment of the period along sensible thematic and chronological lines, this work will continue to reign among the leading introductory surveys on the medieval world.'

    Kriston Rennie, University of Queensland, Australia

    'In the crowded field of historical surveys of medieval Europe,  Blockmans and Hoppenbrouwers have managed  to produce something distinctive and original. Their book gives a clear, well-written overview of the political,  social,  economic  and  artistic  developments  in these important centuries with helpful explanations of technical terms and good suggested further reading. Eastern Europe is given full weight and thoughtful illustrations give valuable insights into a culture more visual than literate. But more than this the authors demon-strate why medieval Europeans deserve to be studied, their influence on later times and different places, how many of our own  preoccupations derive from theirs. Blockmans and Hoppenbrouwers make the European Middle Ages not just fascinating, but relevant as well.'

    Andrew Roach, University of Glasgow, UK

    'This is a work that helps its reader to grasp the defining contours of medieval history, without being subjected to a whirlwind of narrative detail. It is refreshing in its pan-European scope, bringing Lithuania to stand along-side France, and in its effective location of key issues in broader frameworks of change and continuity. Most of all, it treats the alterity of the Middle Ages on its own terms – and explains just what it is that makes under-standing that fundamentally different world quite so interesting and worthwhile.'

    Stephen Mossman, University of Manchester, UK

    'Blockmans and Hoppenbrouwers' Introduction to Medieval Europe has established itself as the classic survey in English on the Latin West in the Middle Ages. The second edition is even more commendable: the book’s unique European perspective has been improved by situating the Latin West within neighbouring cultures and suggesting new ways of integrating European historiography. This is an indispensable starting point for students, scholars and, indeed, for any audience that wishes to familiarise itself with the essential European dimension of the history of the Latin West between 300 and 1500.'

    Martial Staub, University of Sheffield, UK