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An Introduction to Early Medieval Western Europe, 300-900

This comprehensive textbook is the first to synthesise a quarter of a century of pathbreaking research in an accessible manner for undergraduate students. Matthew Innes is unique in combining an account of the historical background of the period with discussion of the social, economic, cultural and political structures of the socities within it. His fresh approach will be a stimulus to academic study and debate. Individual chapters include discussion on: * Why the Roman Empire broke down so irrevocably in western Europe. * How it came to be replaced by radically different political systems, ruled by kings who saw themselves as leaders of ethnic communities. * Whether these changes were the result of lock, stock and barrel migration of biologically defined peoples or more complex processes whereby new elites created ethnicity, legitimising their position through myths of common descent and shared history. * Why the city-based state structure of antiquity was replaced by a system in which landowners used their private resourves to exercise public power. * How and why the division between civilians and the military, so fundamental to the ancient state, broke down giving rise to a world of militarised landlord power. * How the conversion of western Europe to Christianity and the establishment of the church as the central social institution related to these processes of change. * What made western Europe's experience so distinctive in this period. Ideal for first - and second - year undergraduates and college students studying late antique or early medieval history, it will also interest researchers and postgraduate students because it synthesises and interprets a great deal of otherwise unavailable primary research. Especially designed to be student-friendly, An Introduction to Early Medieval Western Europe contains: * chapter summaries and chronologies * key topic essays discussing archaeological or documentary evidence * a lavish range or supporting illustrations from archaeological and historical finds * bibliographical essays which discuss available sources and secondary literature, introducing teachers and students to the specialist literature * a comprehensive glossary and index
Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements. Introduction: Rome, the Barbarians and the Fate of Western Europe 1. A New Roman Order: State, Church and Society in the Late Empire 2. Barbarians, the Roman Frontier and the Crisis of the Western Empire 3. The Fifth Century West and the 'Fall of Rome' 4. The Western Mediterranean in the Age of 'Reconquest' 5. Arabs, Avars and Amphoras: Causes and Consequences of Imperial Collapse 6. Hispania and Italy: Contrasting Communities 7. Gaul and Germany: The Merovingian World 8. Britain and Ireland: Kings and Peoples 9. 'The Invincible Race of the Franks': Conquest, Christianisation and Carolingian Kingship 10.'Peace, Unity and Concord Among the Christian People': Carolingian Order and its Architects 11. Paradoxes of Empire: Western Europe in the Ninth Century. Epilogue. Index

About the Author

Matthew Innes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has published widely on the social, political and cultural history of early medieval Europe. His book State and Society in the Early Middle Ages won the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone Historical Book Prize in 2000 and his research was recognized by the award of a Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2004.


'Matthew Innes' new survey fills a nagging void for teachers of early medieval history ... He engages in a dialogue with the sources and literature and with his audience as well ... leading students to an appreciation of current views and competing scholarly interpretations ... The bibliographical essays are a superb introduction to the literature of the field, invaluable to introductory and advanced students as well as seasoned professionals.' "- John McCulloh, Kansas State University".

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