Europe After Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000

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Oxford University Press, 2005 - History - 384 pages
4 Reviews
This is the first single-author study in over fifty years to offer an integrated appraisal of the early Middle Ages as a dynamic and formative period in European history. Written in an attractive and accessible style, it makes extensive use of original sources to introduce early medieval men and women at all levels of society from slave to emperor, and allows them to speak to the reader in their own words. It overturns traditional narratives and instead offers an entirely fresh approachto the centuries from c.500 to c.1000. Rejecting any notion of a dominant, uniform early medieval culture, it argues that the fundamental characteristic of the early middle ages is diversity of experience. To explain how the men and women who lived in this period ordered their world in cultural, social, and political terms, it employs an innovative methodology combining cultural history, regional studies, and gender history. Ranging comparatively from Ireland to Hungary and from Scotland andScandinavia to Spain and Italy, the analysis highlights three themes: regional variation, power, and the legacy of Rome. The book's eight chapters examine the following subjects: Speaking and Writing; Living and Dying; Friends and Relations; Men and Women; Labour and Lordship; Getting and Giving; Kingship and Christianity; Rome and the Peoples of Europe. Collectively, they establish the complex cultural realities which distinguished Europe in the period between the end of the central institutions of the western Roman empire in the fifth century and the emergence of a Rome-centred papal monarchy from the late eleventh century onwards. In the context of debates about the social, religious and cultural meaning of 'Europe' in the early twenty-first century, this books seeks the origins of European cultural pluralism and diversity in the early Middle Ages.

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Review: Europe After Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000

User Review  - Kostas Sarlis - Goodreads

Greek translation that came out in 2008 ISBN 9789608219533 Read full review

Review: Europe After Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000

User Review  - Dan - Goodreads

This book received some excellent reviews, and I was really looking forward to giving it a read. So I was pretty disappointed by the time I got to the second chapter (the first chapter, about speaking ... Read full review

About the author (2005)


Julia Smith is a specialist on gender, religion, and politics in early medieval Europe. She holds the Edwards Chair in Medieval History at the University of Glasgow, having taught in the USA from 1986 to 1995 and at the University of St Andrews from 1995 to 2005. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has recently held research fellowships at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies and the Shelby Cullom Davis Center at Princeton University.

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