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Main Page | Full Texts | Saint's Lives Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Selected Sources

Paul Halsall, ORB sources editor

The Internet Medieval Sourcebook is now part of 
ORB, the Online Reference Book 
for Medieval Studies.

Since January 20, 1996, this page has been accessed  times
note - this counter is approximate since it only records graphical hits

Last Modified: October 8, 1998   


Guide to Contents

The structure of this section of the Sourcebook is as follows. You can browse through the entire list, or jump directly to the part that interests you by selecting the underlined links.

Selected Readings In Medieval History

NOTES: 
  • copyrighted means the text  is not available for free distribution. In some cases alternate versions are available, and are working through the pipeline.
  • The old available [date] tags have been removed. Dates of accession of material can be seen in the New Accessions Page. The date of inception was 1/20/1996.
  • Links to files at other site are indicated by [At some indication of the site name or location]. No indication means that the text file is local.
  • available soon means the text is public domain, or copy permitted, I have copy which is in need of HTMLing or editing, and it will be available here soon.
  • WEB indicates a link to one of small number of high quality web sites which provide either more texts or an especially valuable overview.


Studying History

USING PRIMARY SOURCES

The End of the Classical World

PAGAN LATE ANTIQUITY

CHRISTIAN LATE ANTIQUITY

THE GERMAN IMPACT

Byzantium

BYZANTIUM - GENERAL

JUSTINIAN (b.483- r.527-d.565)

AFTER JUSTINIAN

ICONOCLASM

BYZANTINE IMPERIAL CENTURIES (843-1204)

BYZANTINE RELIGION

HERESY AND DISSENT

THE BYZANTINE COMMONWEALTH

THE BYZANTINE COMMONWEALTH: RUSSIA

Islam

MUHAMMAD AND FOUNDATIONS - TO 632 CE

ISLAMIC EXPANSION AND EMPIRE - TO 750 CE

LATER ISLAMIC HISTORY 750-1600 CE

The Formation of Latin Christendom

THE ROMAN CHURCH

MONASTICISM to A.D. 900

THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE

THE CELTIC WORLD

THE CAROLINGIAN ESSOR

THE DECLINE AFTER CHARLEMAGNE

FEUDALISM?

The usefulness of feudalism as a term is at present under intense discussion among historians of the middle ages, with the majority of experts now rejecting the term.

Feudalism was not a word used in the middle ages. It has had two quite distinct meanings in recent usage. The first meaning - promoted by radicals during the French Revolution and developped by Marxist historians - refers to a social system based on a society in which peasant agriculture is the fundamental productive activity; in which slavery is non-existent or marginal but peasants are tied to the land in some way; and in which a small elite defined by military activity dominates.. This is probably the most important meaning in modern popular usuage.

For most of the 20th-century, professional medievalists have given the term a quite different meaning [see F. Ganshof, Feudalism for a classic summary]. For medieval historians the term has come to mean a system of reciprocal personal relations among members of the military elite, which lead ultimately to parliament and then Western democracy. For modern historians, the older "Lord and peasant" model was subsumed in the concept of manoralism. It is not clear if this near consensus among Medievalists ever really made it on to the larger stage of common culture, or even to other departments within a university (or even to non-medievalists within a history department)!

Building on work of Elizabeth Brown, the historian Susan Reynolds, in her Fiefs and Vassals, systematically attacked the basis of the professional medievalists' version of feudalism [although she did not tackle the older social and economic, or Marxist, model]. Reynolds argued that recent historians had been too ready to read back 11th- and 12th-century legal texts (which do use feudal) terminology onto a much more variated 9th- and 10th century society and had ended up creating a "feudal world" which simply did note exist, or which, at most, described small parts of France for short periods.

Most reviewers have found Reynold's arguments compelling. [See, for instance, the very informative comments of Steven Lane: Review of Susan Reynolds, Fief and Vassals, [At TMR]. As a result teachers can no longer teach "feudalism" without severe qualifications.

The texts here have traditionally been used to explain the "feudal system". They may be better read and discussed, perhaps, as examples of how people created a variety a social and personal bonds in a society with few stable and accessible legal or governmental authorities. They do not represent a "system". 

OATHS AND CONTRACTS

THE MONETIZATION OF MILITARY ACTIVITY

The Flowering of Latin Christendom

WESTERN RECOVERY: REFORM AND POLITICAL STABILITY

THE COMMERCIAL REVOLUTION

See also RURAL LIFE, below.

POPULATION GROWTH

THE CONTROL AND GRANTING OF RIGHTS

INDUSTRIES

WESTERN MONASTICISM - AFTER A.D. 900

EMPIRE AND PAPACY - THE INVESTITURE CONTROVERSY

THE CRUSADES

12TH CENTURY THOUGHT

WESTERN EUROPEAN LITERATURE

EMPIRE AND PAPACY - BARBAROSSA TO INNOCENT III

THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE - FREDERICK II AND AFTER

ITALY

ENGLAND

PARLIMENTARY ORIGINS IN ENGLAND

SCOTLAND

IRELAND

THE RISE OF FRANCE

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

There is very little material available in etext form, as yet, about medieval Spain and Portugal. There are three offsite archives:

Medieval Life and Thought

13TH-14TH CENTURY SCHOLARS AND SCHOLASTICISM

CRITICISM OF SOCIETY - HERESY AND MENDICANCY

LAW - THEORY AND PRACTICE

RURAL LIFE

THE PEASANTRY

MANORIALISM

ARCHEOLOGY OF MEDIEVAL VILLAGES

MEDIEVAL JEWISH LIFE

CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY

WOMEN'S ROLES

MEN'S ROLES

CONSTRUCTIONS OF SEXUALITY AND GENDER

MARRIAGE

The Late Middle Ages

THE PAPACY OVERREACHES

THE "CALAMITOUS" 14TH CENTURY

LATE MEDIEVAL GOVERNMENT

CONCILIARISM

MEDIEVAL PEOPLE - REFLECTED IN LITERATURE

Make sure to see the Literary Texts section of the Medieval Sourcebook: Full Texts Page, for many complete medieval epics, romances, and other literary texts.

Transformations

ITALIAN RENAISSANCE

REFORMATION and CATHOLIC REFORMATION

EXPANSION OVERSEAS


© This text is copyright. The specific electronic form, and any notes and questions are copyright. Permission is granted to copy the text, and to print out copies for personal and educational use. No permission is granted for commercial use.

If any copyright has been infringed, this was unintentional. The possibility of a site such as this, as with other collections of electronic texts, depends on the large availability of public domain material from texts translated before 1923. [In the US, all texts issued before 1923 are now in the public domain. Texts published before 1964 may be in the public domain if copyright was not renewed after 28 years. This site seeks to abide by US copyright law: the copyright status of texts here outside the US may be different.] Efforts have been made to ascertain the copyright status of all texts here, although, occasionally, this has not been possible where older or non-US publishers seem to have ceased existence. Some of the recently translated texts here are copyright to the translators indicated in each document. These translators have in every case given permission for non-commercial reproduction. No representation is made about the copyright status of texts linked off-site. This site is intended for educational use. Notification of copyright infringement will result in the immediate removal of a text until its status is resolved.

© Paul Halsall January 1996 - October 1998
halsall@fordham.edu