Medieval society created many kinds of records and written material which differ considerably, giving us such sources as last wills, sermons, manorial accounts, or royal biographies. Primary sources are an exciting way for students to engage with the past and draw their own ideas about life in the medieval period.
Understanding Medieval Primary Sources is a collection of essays that will introduce students to the key primary sources that are essential to studying medieval Europe. The sources are divided into two categories: the first part treats some of the many generic sources that have been preserved, such as wills, letters, royal and secular narratives and sermons. Chapter by chapter each expert author illustrates how they can be used to reveal details about medieval history. The second part focuses on areas of historical research that can only be fully discovered by using a combination of primary sources, covering fields such as maritime history, urban history, women’s history and medical history.
Understanding Medieval Primary Sources will be an invaluable resource for any student embarking on medieval historical research.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Part 1: Generic Sources. 1. Royal and Secular Biography Ralph A. Griffiths 2. Vernacular Chronicles and Narrative Sources in Medieval England Lister M. Matheson 3. The Medieval Sermon: Text, Performance, and Insight Anne T. Thayer 4. Wills as Primary Sources Shona Kelly Wray and Roisin Cossar 5. Letters and Letter Collections Joel T. Rosenthal Part 2: Topical Sources. 6. Writing Military History from Narrative Sources: Norman Battlefield Tactics, ca. 1000 Bernard Bachrach 7. Historians and Inquisitors: Testimonies from the Early Inquisitions into Heretical Depravity Mark G. Pegg 8. Sources of Royal Rituals and King-Making Jinty Nelson 9. The Sources for Manorial and Rural History Philip Slavin 10. Sources for Medieval Maritime History Maryanne Kowaleski 11. The Sources of Urban History Caroline M. Barron 12. Sources for the Study of Public Health in the Medieval City Carole Rawcliffe 13. Women’s History: Sources and Issues Katherine L. French 14. Sources for Representative Institutions Hannes Kleineke Part 3.The Visual and the Material. 15. Images and Objects as Sources for Medieval History Sara Lipton 16. Archaeology and History (in the United Kingdom) David Hinton Further Reading. Index.
Joel T. Rosenthal is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, State University of New York at Stony Brook. He has published on the social history of late medieval England, looking into such topics as old age, families, popular religion, children, and widows. He is the recent author of Margaret Paston’s Piety, (2010) and is the co-editor of Medieval Prosopography.