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The Worlds of Medieval Europe

ISBN: 9780195335279 | 0195335279
Edition: 2nd
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pub. Date: 4/11/2008

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Deftly written and beautifully illustrated, The Worlds of Medieval Europe,Second Edition, presents a distinctive and nuanced portrayal of a western worldthat was sharply divided between its northern and southern aspects. Byintegrating the histories of the Islamic and Byzantine worlds into the mainnarrative, author Clifford R. Backman offers an insightful, detailed, and oftenwitty look at the continuum of interaction--social, cultural, intellectual, andcommercial--that existed among all three societies. Filled with relevant primary documents, this compelling volume surpassestraditional textbook representations of the Middle Ages by balancing theconventional focus on political affairs, especially those of northern Europe,with equally detailed attention to medieval society as it developed in theMediterranean. In addition, Backman describes the ways in which the medievalLatin West attempted to understand the unified and rational structure of thehuman cosmos, which they believed existed beneath the observable diversity anddisorder of the world. This effort to re-create a human ordering of "unitythrough diversity" provides an essential key to understanding medieval Europeand the ways in which it regarded and reacted to the worlds around it. Thoroughly updated and redesigned, the second edition features an inviting andaccessible layout and integrates captivating new illustrations--nearly twice asmany as in the previous edition--to stimulate students' engagement with thematerial. Moreover, it offers a sophisticated analysis of gender, along with anintriguing examination of the tumultuous relationship between the Mediterraneanand Islam. An invaluable resource for both students and instructors, The Worlds ofMedieval Europe, Second Edition, is ideal for undergraduate courses in medievalhistory, Western civilization, the history of Christianity, and Muslim-Christianrelations. It also serves as an excellent supplement on the history of aspecific country in the medieval period, the history of medieval art, or thehistory of the European economy.

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