the web home of Medieval Europe: A Short History
This section provides you with some general resources for studying medieval Europe and its neighbors. Under chapters, you will find more specific organized by chapter and hence, subject.
If you are new to History courses, you might want to start with Understanding Your History Professor. It explains some of the keywords and concepts in History.
These general resources are organized as follows:
- Online Bibliographies
- Primary Sources Online
- Other Online Resources
- Some Major English-Language Journals
- Introductions to Studying the Middle Ages
- Some General Studies
- Amusing Links and Other Medieval Pleasures
- Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index. Managed by Margaret Schaus, this open-access bibliography is excellent not only for women and gender but also for topics in family history, the history of sexuality, and related fields. ("Feminae" means "women" in Latin.)
- International Medieval Bibliography. The definitive bibliographic service for medievalists, managed by Brepols. Available by subscription only.
- Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Offers a variety of bibliographic resources. Available by subscription only. ("Iter" means "journey" in Latin, and it signifies that this bibliography offers an intellectual journey.)
- Bibliography of British and Irish History. Also managed by Brepols and accessible only by subscription, this is the premier bibliography for material on the British Isles.
- Acta Sanctorum. Subscription-only access to the full Bollandist editions of the lives of the saints. (Inspired by the seventeenth-century Jesuit Jean Bolland, the Bollandists are a group of Belgian scholars, mostly priests, who are dedicated to preserving and editing saints' lives. ("Acta Sanctorum" is Latin for "Deeds of the Saints.")
- Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts. Open-access to a listing of medieval manuscripts available on the web.
- Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse. A searchable collection of literary texts that accompanies the Middle English Dictionary.
- Digital Scriptorium. An image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts.
- Galician-Portuguese Medieval Songs. Lyrics, manuscripts, music.
- Index of Christian Art. Available online by subscription, this longstanding project aims to catalog, index, and photograph all medieval art.
- Internet Medieval Sourcebook. An oldie-but-goodie, this site provides out-of-copyright primary sources.
- Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO). Subscription only and focused on sources from the British Isles.
- Medieval Resources Online. A treasure trove of materials maintained by the Institute of Medieval Studies at Leeds.
- Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Open-access to this classic resource of documents (or monuments) about the history of central Europe (or Germany) in the Middle Ages.
- Online Medieval Sources Bibliography. An annotated and searchable database of medieval primary sources available in printed or online editions or translations.
- Cartographic Images. An top-notch resource for images of maps produced during the Middle Ages. See also Index of Cartographic Images, 400-1300. For modern maps, see the century-by-century maps at Periodical Historical Atlas.
- History Compass. A subscription-only service of Blackwell Publishing and the Institute of Historical Research (UK). Notable for its review essays on specific topics.
- Glossary of medieval Art and Architecture. A marvelous illustrated resource.
- The Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies. An eclectic resource, now rarely updated, but still useful.
- Medieval Architecture, Art and Clothing. Part of a site devoted to costumes, this section provides links to online resources for art, architecture, and clothing.
- The Medieval Review. A great place to look for book reviews..
- The Orb: On-line Reference Book for Medieval Studies. Moribund, but still has useful bits.
- Walters Art Museum. Thousands of free-to-use images from one of America's greatest medieval collections.
- Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Mostly literary.
- Speculum. The flagship journal of the Medieval Academy of America.
- The Medieval History Journal. Offers a global perspective.
- John H. Arnold, What is Medieval History? (2008). A how-to guide for the aspiring medievalist.
- Marcus Bull, Thinking Medieval: An Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages (2005). A thoughtful exploration of how "medieval" has been and is understood.
- ENCYCLOPEDIAS: The newest is: Robert E. Bjork, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (2010), a massive effort whose results will also be available by subscription online. See also Joseph Strayer, ed., Dictionary of the Middle Ages (1982–1989), 13 volumes, with a supplement edited by William Chester Jordan (2003). For single-volume encyclopedias, see Norman F. Cantor, ed., Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages (1999), and H. R. Loyn, The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopedia (1989). For specific areas, see William W. Kibler et al., eds., Medieval France: An Encyclopedia (1995); Phillip Pulsiano et al., eds., Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia (1993); Paul E. Szarmach et al., eds., Medieval England: An Encyclopedia (1998); John Jeep, ed., Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia (2000); Michael E. Gerli, ed., Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia (2003); Margaret Schaus, ed., Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia (2006).
- FILM: Kevin J. Harty, The Reel Middle Ages: American, Western and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Asian Films about Medieval Europe (1999).
- FOLKLORE: Carl Lindahl et al., eds., Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs (2002). A handy guide to both the mundane and the obscure.
- JEWS: Mark R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (1994). A highly readable comparison of Jews in medieval Christendom and medieval Islam. See also Kenneth R. Stow, Alienated Minority: The Jews of Medieval Latin Europe (1992); Robert Chazan, The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 1000-1500 (2006); and Norman Roth, ed., Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia (2003).
- MAPS: Angus Mackay and David Ditchburn, Atlas of Medieval Europe (1997). See also National Geographic's The Medieval World: An Illustrated Atlas (2009).
- MYTHS: Stephen J. Harris and Bryon L. Grigsby, Misconceptions about the Middle Ages (2008). Brief essays that debunk various myths and assumptions about medieval people.
- SCHOLARLY SURVEYS: Carol Lansing and Edward D. English, eds., A Companion to the Medieval World (2009) and Peter Linehan and Janet L. Nelson, eds., The Medieval World (2000). Both provide outstanding collections of articles. See also David Abulafia et al., The New Cambridge Medieval History (a 7-volume scholarly series, from 1995) and Robert Fossier, ed., The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages (3 volumes, translated from earlier French editions, 1986–1997).
- WOMEN AND GENDER: Judith M. Bennett, Medieval Women in Modern Perspective (2000). A pamphlet for teachers, reprinted in Women’s History in Global Perspective, vol. 2, Bonnie Smith, ed. (2005), pp. 139-186. See also Margaret Schaus, ed., Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia (2006), and Katharina M. Wilson and Nadia Margolis, eds., Women in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia, 2 vols. (2004).
There are lots of medieval-oriented blogs. These will get you started:
- The Adventures of Notorious PhD, Girl Scholar. A chronicle of academic life by a self-described "picture-taking, document-deciphering, bike-riding, goofball intellectual."
- Bavardess. "The musings of a feminist medievalist contrarian historian oenophile francophile fromage-fancier."
- Blogenspiel, the blogspot of "Another Damned Medievalist."
- A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe. "Early medievalist's thoughts and pondering."
- The Cranky Professor. "You type and I tell you why 4500 years of written history shows you're wrong."
- Got Medieval. "An intermittently updated tonic for the slipshod use of medieval European history in the media and pop culture."
- In the Middle. A group blog run by four medievalists.
- Magistra et Mater. "Where history, religion and motherhood meet and have a long intellectual conversation."
- Medieval News. Daily updates on news stories.
- Modern Medieval. "Although long-dead, the people of the Middle Ages still have something to say."
- Squadratomagico. "Being a blog in which a professor of Medieval History reflects on bread and circuses."
There might have been more left-handed people in the Middle Ages than today. How do we know? Skeletons.
Check out this animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry (an embroidery that tells the story of the Norman conquest of England in 1066).
Interested in re-living the Middle Ages? (Yikes!) If so, the Society for Creative Anachronism is for you.
Medieval people loved riddles. Try these from the Anglo-Saxon Exeter book.
Every May, thousands of medievalists gather in Kalamazoo, MI for several days of lectures, talks, concerts, and general fun, all sponsored by the Medieval Institute at the Western Michigan University. One highlight is The Dance, where students and professors display various degrees of cool and uncool. More here.
Do you like wood carvings? Check out these lively and sometimes vulgar carvings on "misericords" (shelves on the the undersides of folding seats in churches). Here's a link to a fantastic picture database of misericords.
A project of medievalists at the Central European University in Budapest, this site answers nitty gritty questions about medieval clothing, arms, and jewelry. Here's another site that has some interesting links about ordinary facts.
The latest medieval news is always entertaining.
Sheela Na Gigs. Definitely not your mother's Middle Ages. The most famous is at Kilpeck, near the Welsh-English border--scroll down the left-hand side of the website to find its link.
Try your hand at reading medieval handwriting.
History of the fork. Why not?
Medieval Name Generator. Truly silly, but if you need a name for gaming, this is the site for you.
World Cup, Medieval Style. A history of football (that is, soccer) from 1175 to 1815.
Tom Wujec demos the astrolabe--how to understand the universe, medieval-style.
The Tolkien Professor. Yes, Tolkien was a medievalist, and here's a medievalist's take on Tolkien.
Feeling romantic? Here's the first Valentine in English.
Is your dean a medievalist? This explains why.
Some of the world's greatest doors are medieval ones.
These listings are works-in-progress. They are highly selective and aimed at the practical needs of students and teachers. If you have suggestions, please send them to Judith Bennett.