The Body Broken: Medieval Europe 1300–1520, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Body Broken

Medieval Europe 1300–1520, 1st Edition

By Charles F. Briggs


356 pages | 34 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2010-10-01
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This exciting new textbook offers a sweeping survey of Europe in the later Middle Ages, examining a period of huge crisis, conflict and religious change.

The Body Broken takes a thematic approach to the period 1300- 1520, covering everything from the Black Death and the Reformation to the Peasant’s Revolt and the Renaissance. This indispensible volume draws on a large body of new and revisionist scholarship, covering all of the key areas, including:

  • Society and the Economy- disaster and demography; individuals, families, and community; trade, technology, exploration and new discoveries
  • Politics- government and the state; war; changes in political geography
  • Religion- the institutional Church; Catholicism and dissenting beliefs and practices; divided faith
  • Culture- schooling and intellectual developments; language, literacy and the arts

Examining late Medieval Europe in the context of its place within global history, and complete with maps, tables, illustrations, chronology, and an annotated bibliography, this book is the complete authoritative student's guide to Europe in the later Middle Ages.


"This is a courageous and ambitious survey, written with verve, occasionally with a touch of asperity, and certainly carrying its reader along." – Reviews in History

"Briggs has done an admirable job of introducing this period of medieval change." Jason Beveridge, S.A.T.H Resources Review

"This text is a solid introduction to the medieval period. Briggs integrates the most recent scholarship into his historical discussion and provides a wealth of primary source references, supported by a comprehensive list of suggested further reading and a full bibliography. Its clear, concise format with supplemental materials makes The Body Broken a useful addition to any scholar’s library, or course curriculum." - Larissa Tracy, Óenach: FMRSI Reviews

"Professor Briggs has produced a very fine study of the political and social history of the Later Middle Ages. Students will find it both enormously useful and engagingly written. … The Body Broken offers both a vivid description of historical events and a careful analysis of the process of fragmentation that led to the end of medieval Europe and the emergence of a new era." - Charity Urbanski, University of Washington

"[A] beautifully written new textbook… It is a book that can be read with pleasure by students, an interested reading public, and even by experts in the field, who would be familiar with the revisionist research that is found in abundance in the pages of his excellent volume, filled with rich and fascinating details." - John E. Weakland, The European Legacy

Table of Contents

List of plates. List of maps. List of tables and figures. Preface. Acknowledgements. Introduction ‘Hoc est corpus meum’: the transfiguration of Europe’s mystical body An anatomy of Europe c. 1300 Late medieval and Renaissance: the tyranny of terminology? Part I: Social and Economic Change 1. The demography of disaster 2. Individuals, families and communities 3. Trade, technology and exploration Part II: Political Developments 4. The theory and ideology of government 5. The lineaments and limits of state power 6. Waging war and keeping the peace 7. Latin Christendom and its neighbours Part III: Religion and Devotion 8. The Bride of Christ: the institutional Church 9. Devotion: Catholic beliefs and practices 10. Dissent and difference Part IV: Cultural Change 11. Schools and schooling 12. Intellectual developments: later scholasticism and humanism 13. Language, literacy, and book production 14. Art, architecture and music Conclusion: A New Europe? Transformations and continuities. Europe and the world. Chronology. Genealogies

About the Author

Charles F. Briggs is Lecturer in History at the University of Vermont. He has published numerous works on the intellectual and cultural history of medieval Europe, including Giles of Rome’s ‘De regimine principum’: Reading and Writing Politics at Court and University, c. 1275-c. 1525.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / General