1st Edition

The Long Morning of Medieval Europe
New Directions in Early Medieval Studies

ISBN 9780754662549
Published February 28, 2017 by Routledge
368 Pages

USD $160.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Recent advances in research show that the distinctive features of high medieval civilization began developing centuries earlier than previously thought. The era once dismissed as a "Dark Age" now turns out to have been the long morning of the medieval millennium: the centuries from AD 500 to 1000 witnessed the dawn of developments that were to shape Europe for centuries to come. In 2004, historians, art historians, archaeologists, and literary specialists from Europe and North America convened at Harvard University for an interdisciplinary conference exploring new directions in the study of that long morning of medieval Europe, the early Middle Ages. Invited to think about what seemed to each the most exciting new ways of investigating the early development of western European civilization, this impressive group of international scholars produced a wide-ranging discussion of innovative types of research that define tomorrow's field today. The contributors, many of whom rarely publish in English, test approaches extending from using ancient DNA to deducing cultural patterns signified by thousands of medieval manuscripts of saints' lives. They examine the archaeology of slave labor, economic systems, disease history, transformations of piety, the experience of power and property, exquisite literary sophistication, and the construction of the meaning of palace spaces or images of the divinity. The book illustrates in an approachable style the vitality of research into the early Middle Ages, and the signal contributions of that era to the future development of western civilization. The chapters cluster around new approaches to five key themes: the early medieval economy; early medieval holiness; representation and reality in early medieval literary art; practices of power in an early medieval empire; and the intellectuality of early medieval art and architecture. Michael McCormick's brief introductions open each part of the volume; synthetic essays by accomplished specialists conclude them. The editors summarize the whole in a synoptic introduction. All Latin terms and citations and other foreign-language quotations are translated, making this work accessible even to undergraduates. The Long Morning of Medieval Europe: New Directions in Early Medieval Studies presents innovative research across the wide spectrum of study of the early Middle Ages. It exemplifies the promising questions and methodologies at play in the field today, and the directions that beckon tomorrow.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; The early Middle Ages: Europe's long morning, Jennifer R. Davis and Michael McCormick. Part 1 Discovering the early medieval economy, Michael McCormick; Rethinking the structure of the early medieval economy, Chris Wickham; Strong rulers - weak economy? Rome, the Carolingians, and the archaeology of slavery in the 1st millennium AD, Joachim Henning; The beginnings of hilltop villages in early medieval Tuscany, Riccardo Francovich; Molecular Middle Ages: early medieval economic history in the 21st century, Michael McCormick; The early medieval economy: data, production, exchange, and demand, Angeliki E. Laiou. Part 2 Sounding early medieval holiness, Michael McCormick; Latin hagiography before the 9th century: a synoptic view, Guy Philippart with Michel Trigalet; Donationes pro anima: gift and countergift in the early medieval liturgy, Arnold Angenendt; The early medieval transformation of piety, Thomas Head. Part 3 Representation and reality in the artistry of early medieval literature, Michael McCormick; Observations on early medieval weather in general, bloody rain in particular, Paul Edward Dutton; The King says No: on the logic of type-scenes in late antique and early medieval narrative, Joaquín Martínez Pizarro; Of arms and the (Ger)man: literary and material culture in the Waltharius, Jan M. Ziolkowski; Representations and reality in early medieval literature, Danuta Shanzer. Part 4 Practices of power in an early medieval empire, Michael McCormick; Charlemagne and empire, Janet L. Nelson; A pattern for power: Charlemagne's delegation of judicial responsibilities, Jennifer R. Davis; Practices of property in the Carolingian empire, Matthew J. Innes; The cunning of institutions, Stuart Airlie. Part 5 The intellectuality of early medieval art, Michael McCormick; Charlemagne's balcony: the solarium in 9th-century narratives, Mayke de Jong; Image and object: Christ's dual nature and the crisis of early medieval art, Herbert L. Kessler; Matter

View More



Jennifer R. Davis is at the California Institute of Technology, USA. Michael McCormick is Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History at Harvard University, USA.


’As Davis and McCormick declare in their introduction and as the individual contributions attest, the early Middle Ages was no Dark Age... This thesis is ably and convincingly demonstrated... The quality of the individual essays is uniformly strong.’ Catholic Historical Review ’There is much to engage with here, and it is satisfyingly multi-disciplinary, offering - as was intended - a perspective on a wide range of trends in early medieval studies.’ English Historical Review ’Merci à M. McCormick et à J. R. Davis d'avoir publié cet ensemble impressionant et de l'avoir présenté avec intelligence et finesse.’ Revue Bénédictine ’... a volume that is far more than the sum of its parts.’ Early Medieval Europe