1. Core Reading

This is a list of the ten most useful books for this course which are held in the library. These will provide a broad narrative of period and set particular topics in context. Books marked with an asterisk* have been placed on 24-hour short loan.

  1. James, E., The Origins of France (London, 1982). A balanced overview of events in Gaul from c.400 to 1000, and thus one of the best introductory texts for the present course. MSB.*
  2. James, E., The Franks, The Peoples of Europe (Oxford, 1988). Focused on the fifth and sixth centuries, a gentle but wise introduction to the early history of the Franks. MSBF.* One copy is in the 3hr short loan area; two are on popular loan.
  3. James, E., 'The Northern World in the Dark Ages, 400-900', in G. Holmes (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe (London: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 63-114 - an excellent brief introduction with some important insights into the nature of early medieval kingship. MB7.
  4. Collins, R., Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000 (Houndmills, Basingstoke, 1991). Covers the entire period and all the territories under discussion. MB.C.*
  5. Innes, M., An Introduction to Early Medieval Western Europe, 400-900: The Sword, the Plough and the Book (London, 2007). Similar to the former. There are three copies in the library, two on popular loan: MBF.
  6. Althoff, G., Family, Friends and Followers: Political and Social Bonds in Early Medieval Europe (Cambridge, 2003). MBS.* An excellent introduction to the general principles of early medieval politics.
  7. Halsall, G., Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376-568, Cambridge Medieval Textbooks (Cambridge, 2007). MBB.* There are two copies on short loan.
  8. Noble, T. F. X., From Roman Provinces to Medieval Kingdoms (London and New York, 2005). A collection of important and instructive articles. MBB.*
  9. Wood, I. N., The Merovingian Kingdoms 450-751 (London, 1993). MSC.* Covers the earlier part of the course. Dense, but full of interest. [Note also the extended discussion of this book in French Historical Studies, 19 (1996), 755-84, which includes contributions from J. J. Contreni, 'Introduction' (pp. 755-6), P. J. Geary, 'Central Politics: Kings, Their Allies and Opponents' (pp. 757-63), and S. Lebecq, 'Vivent les Merovingiens!' (pp. 765-77), and a reply from Ian Wood (pp. 779-84).]
  10. McKitterick, R., The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 751-987 (London, 1983). Provides narrative coverage of much of the period. MSD.*
  11. Reuter, T., Germany in the Early Middle Ages, 800-1056 (London, 1991). MHB.* Provides coverage for much more than the title suggests.
  12. Reuter, T., Medieval Polities and Modern Mentalities, ed. J. L. Nelson (Cambridge, 2006). MB. An important collection containing many of Reuter's essays on both Germany and on the general principles of early medieval history.
  13. Geary, P. J., Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of Merovingian Gaul (Oxford, 1988), chps. 5-6. MSC.* Asks the right questions.
  14. Fouracre, P., The Age of Charles Martel (London, 2000). MSC*. Important: concerned with a pivotal period, covers far more than the title suggests, and provides useful insights into the period as a whole.
  15. Story, J. (ed.), Charlemagne: Empire and Society (Manchester, 2005). MSDC.* Includes numerous useful essays.
  16. Wickham, C. J., Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800 (Oxford, 2005). MBD.* Massive and important.
  17. Smith, J. M. H., Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History, 500-1000 (Oxford, 2005). MBD.H.*
  18. Brown, P. R. L., The Rise of Western Christendom, Triumph and Diversity, A.D, 200-1000 (2nd edn, Oxford, 2003). PO.A.* There is a copy of the 2nd edn on short loan. The library also has multiple copies of the first edition on long loan at PO.A. The second edition offers far more than the first. This is a challenging but rewarding book which positions western Europe in the wider context of events throughout 'Christendom', and revises many of the ideas first floated in Brown's The World of Late Antiquity (London, 1971). LV.B.
  19. Herrin, J., The Formation of Christendom (Oxford, 1987). Like the former. Particularly useful for the international contexts and implications of events such as the imperial coronation of Charlemagne. MBD.K.
  20. McKitterick, R. (ed.), The Early Middle Ages: Europe, 400-1000 (Oxford, 2001). MB. Part of the Oxford short histories series, this book has useful overviews of topics such as 'religion', 'kingship and government'. In the same series, note also M. Bull, (ed.), France in the Central Middle Ages 900-1200, Short Oxford History of France (Oxford, 2002). MSE.*

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