3. Narrative Histories

Histories of Christendom/Europe

These books, often covering just western Europe but sometimes also eastern Europe and the Middle East, are useful for positioning the world covered by the course within a wider context.

  • 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.
  • Collins, R., Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000, (Houndmills, Basingstoke, 1991). Covers the entire period and all the territories under discussion. MB.C.*
  • Fossier, R. (ed.), The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages, trs. J. Sondheimer, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1986–97). Vol. 1 covers 350 to 950. MB
  • Gibbon, Edward, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 6 vols. (London, 1776–88). Reprinted many times, the best edition being that by D. Womersley, 3 vols. (Harmondsworth, 1994). Remains one of the best narrative accounts.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.*
  • Moss, H. St. L. B., The Birth of the Middle Ages, 395–814 (Oxford, 1935). MBD. Quite dated in many respects, especially in its treatment of the barbarian peoples, but still one of the most succinct and readable introductions to the first half of the course.
  • Randsborg, K., The First Millennium AD in Europe and the Mediterranean: An Archaeological Essay (Cambridge, 1981). One way of gaining a stronger sense of the historical context is to familiarise oneself with the material culture.
  • Rosenwein, B. H., A Short History of the Middle Ages (Peterborough, Ontario, 2002). MB - 2 copies.
  • Wickham, C. J., Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400–800 (Oxford, 2005). MBD. Massive and important.

Rome and the Barbarians (with particular reference to Gaul in the fifth century)

  • Amory, P., People and Identity in Ostrogothic Italy, 489-554 (Cambridge, 1997). MBH.
  • Arnaldi, G., Italy and its Invaders, trs. A. Shugaar (Cambridge, 2005).
  • Balsdon, J. P. V. D., Romans and Aliens (Chapel Hill, NC, 1979). LTH.
  • Bowersock, G. W., P. R. L. Brown and O. Grabar (eds.), Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World (Cambridge, MA, 1999). A kind of encyclopaedia, but one with a distinctive agenda. LVL.
  • Burns, T. S., A History of the Ostrogoths (Bloomington, IN, 1984). MBH.
  • Bury, J. B., The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians (1st ed., London, 1928; New York, 1963). MBB.
  • Drinkwater, J., and H. Elton (eds.), Fifth-Century Gaul: A Crisis of Identity (Cambridge, 1992). LTE.
  • Ferreiro, A. (ed.), The Visigoths: Studies in Culture and Society, The Medieval Mediterranean 20 (Leiden, 1999). MBG.
  • Gerberding, R., 'The Later Roman Empire', in P. Fouracre (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 1, c.500–c.700 (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 13-34. MB.
  • Gilliard, Frank D., 'The Senators of Sixth-Century Gaul', Speculum, 54 (1979), 685-97. Journals L6. JSTOR.
  • Goffart, W. A., Barbarians and Romans, AD 418–584: The Techniques of Accommodation (Princeton, NJ, 1980). MBB.
  • Halsall, G., 'The Barbarian Invasions', in P. Fouracre (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 1, c.500–c.700 (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 35–55. MB.
  • Halsall, G., Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376–568, Cambridge Medieval Textbooks (Cambridge, 2007). MBB.* There are two copies on short loan.
  • Harries, J. D., Sidonius Apollinaris and the Fall of Rome, A.D. 407–485 (Oxford, 1994). LUS.
  • Harries, J. D., 'Sidonius Apollinaris and the Frontiers of romanitas', in R. W. Mathisen and H. S. Sivan (eds.), Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity (Aldershot, 1996), pp. 31–44. LTE. Other essays in this volume are also relevant.
  • Harries, J. D., 'Sidonius Apollinaris, Rome and the Barbarians: A Climate of Treason?', in J. Drinkwater and H. Elton (eds.), Fifth-Century Gaul: A Crisis of Identity (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 298–308. LTE.
  • Heather, P. J., (ed.), The Visigoths from the Migration Period to the Seventh Century: An Ethnographic Perspective, Studies in the History of Archaeoethnology 4 (Woodbridge, 1999). MBG.
  • Heather, P. J., 'The Huns and the End of the Roman Empire in Western Europe', English Historical Review, 90 (1995), 4–41. Journals L6. JSTOR.
  • Heather, P. J., and J. F. Matthews, The Goths in the Fourth Century (Liverpool, 1991). MBB. Sources in translation: useful on the religious history of the Goths - i.e. on their conversion to Arianism.
  • Heather, P. J., The Goths (Oxford, 1996). MBB. A work of remarkable clarity and insight.
  • Heather, P. J., The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History (Harlow, 2005). LVS. Summarises much of Heather's other work in a convenient narrative format. Strongly recommended.
  • Liebeschutz, J. H. W. G., 'Cities, Taxes and the Accommodation of the Barbarians: The Theories of Durliat and Goffart', in Walter Pohl (ed.), Kingdoms of the Empire: The Integration of Barbarians in Late Antiquity, The Transformation of the Roman World 1 (Leiden, 1997), pp. 135–51.
  • Little, L. K. (ed.), Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750 (Cambridge, 2007). HQZA3.B.
  • Mathisen, R. W., and H. S. Sivan (eds.), Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity (Aldershot, 1996). LTE.
  • Musset, J. The Germanic Invasions: The Making of Europe, AD 400-600, trs. E. and C. James (London, 1975). MBB.
  • Noble, T. F. X., From Roman Provinces to Medieval Kingdoms (London and New York, 2005). MBB.
  • Percival, J., 'Desperately Seeking Sidonius', Latomus, 56 (1997), 279–92.
  • Pohl, W. (ed.), Kingdoms of the Empire: The Integraton of Barbarians in Late Antiquity (Leiden, 1997). LVR.
  • Pohl, W., and H. Reimitz (eds.), Strategies of Distinction: The Construction of Ethnic Communities, 300-800 (Leiden, 1998). MBB.
  • Pohl, W., I. N. Wood, and H. Reimitz (eds.), The Transformation of Frontiers from Late Antiquity to the Carolingians (Leiden, 2001). LTE.
  • Swain, S., and M. Edwards (eds.), Approaching Late Antiquity: The Transformation from Early to Late Empire (Oxford, 2004). LVL. A very useful collection of essays, on popular loan.
  • Sivan, H. S., 'Sidonius Apollinaris, Theodoric II, and Gothic-Roman Politics from Avitus to Anthemius', Hermes, 117 (1989), 85–95. Journals XD6.
  • Thompson, E. A., A History of Attila and the Huns (Oxford, 1948; rpt. Westport, CN, 1975). MBJL.
  • Ward-Perkins, B., The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization (Oxford, 2005). LVS.*
  • Whittaker, C. R., Frontiers of the Roman Empire: A Social and Economic Study (Baltimore, 1994). LTE.
  • Wolfram, H., 'Gothic History and Historical Ethnography', Journal of Medieval History, 7 (1981), 309–19. Online at Science Direct.
  • Wolfram, H., History of the Goths, trs. T. J. Dunlap (2nd edn, Berkeley, 1988). MBB.

Histories of the Franks, c.500-1000

  • Bachrach, B. S., State-Building in Medieval France: Studies in Early Angevin History (Aldershot, 1995). MSE. Collected essays relevant to the tenth century.
  • Bullough, D. A., The Age of Charlemagne (London, 1965). MSDC.
  • Dill, S., Roman Society in Gaul in the Merovingian Age (London, 1966). MSC.H.*
  • Dunbabin, J., France in the Making, 843–1180 (2nd ed., Oxford, 2000). MSD.
  • Fichtenau, H., The Carolingian Empire, trs. P. Munz (Oxford, 1957). MSDC.
  • Fouracre, P., 'Francia in the Seventh Century', in P. Fouracre (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 1, c.500–c.700 (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 371–96. MB.
  • Fouracre, P. J.,, and R. A. Gerberding, Late Merovingian France, History and Hagiography, 640-720, Manchester Medieval Sources Series (Manchester and New York, 1996). MSC.
  • Ganshof, F. L., Frankish Institutions under Charlemagne, trs. B. and M. Lyon (Providence, RI, 1968). MSDC.
  • Ganshof, F. L., The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy, trs. J. Sondheimer (London, 1971). MSDC.*
  • Geary, P. J., Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of Merovingian Gaul (Oxford and New York, 1988). MSC.*
  • Gerberding, R. A., The Rise of the Carolingians and the Liber Historiae Francorum (Oxford, 1987). MSC.
  • Innes, M., State and Society in the Early Middle Ages: The Middle Rhine Valley, 400-1000 (Cambridge, 2000). MHB.J.
  • James, E., The Franks (Oxford, 1988). The best account of the Franks in the fifth and sixth centuries. MSBF.* There is one copy in the 3hr short loan area; two are on popular loan.
  • 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.*
  • Lasko, P., The Kingdom of the Franks, North-West Europe before Charlemagne (London, 1971). MSC.
  • Levison, W., England and the Continent in the Eighth Century (Oxford, 1946). MBM.
  • McKitterick, R., The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 751–987 (London, 1983). Provides narrative coverage of much of the period. MSD.*
  • Reuter, T., 'Charlemagne and the World Beyond the Rhine', in J. Story (ed.), Charlemagne: Empire and Society (Manchester, 2005), pp. 183–94. MSDC.
  • Story, J. (ed.), Charlemagne: Empire and Society (Manchester, 2005). MSDC. Includes numerous useful essays.
  • Van Dam, R., 'Merovingian Gaul and the Frankish Conquests', in P. Fouracre (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 1, c.500–c.700 (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 193–231. MB.
  • Wood, I. N. (ed.), Franks and Alamans in the Merovingian Period, Studies in the History of Archaeoethnology 3 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1998). MSC7.
  • Wood, I. N., The Merovingian Kingdoms 450–751 (London, 1993). MSC.*

Histories of Eastern Frankia (Germany) (c.700-1050)

  • Arnold, B., Medieval Germany, A Political Interpretation (Basingstoke, 1997). MHB.J. Useful.
  • Arnold, B., Power and Property in Medieval Germany: Economic and Social Change. c.900–1300 (Oxford, 2004). MHB.E.
  • Bowlus, C. R., The Battle of Lechfeld and its Aftermath, August 955: The End of the Age of Migrations in the Latin West (Aldershot, 2006). MHBE.M.
  • Fleckenstein, J., Early Medieval Germany, trs. B. S. Smith (Amsterdam and New York, 1974). MHB.*
  • Goldberg, E. J., Struggle for Empire: Kingship and Conflict Under Louis the German, 817–876 (Ithaca, NY, 2006). MHBC. Also available online at Google Scholar.
  • Green, D. H., and F. Siegmund (eds.) The Continental Saxons from the Migration Period to the Tenth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective (Woodbridge, 2003). MIG.
  • Hampe, K., Germany under the Salians and Hohenstaufen Emperors, trs. R. Bennett (Oxford, 1973). MHBF.
  • Heer, F., The Holy Roman Empire, trs. J. Sondheimer (London, 1968). Merely an introduction. MGR.
  • Leyser, K., Communications and Power in Medieval Europe, vol. 1, The Carolingian and Ottonian Centuries, ed. T. Reuter (London, 1994). Collected essays. MBLE.
  • Leyser, K., Medieval Germany and its Neighbours (900–1250) (London, 1982). Collected essays. MBK.*
  • Leyser, K., 'Ottonian Government', English Historical Review, 96 (1981), 721-53. Journals L6. JSTOR. Rpt. in Leyser, Medieval Germany and its Neighbours (900–1250). MBK.*
  • Leyser, K., Rule and Conflict in an Early Medieval Society, Ottonian Saxony (London, 1979). Important. MHBD.*
  • Reuter, T., 'King, Nobles, Others: "Base" and "Superstructure" in the Ottonian Period', in B. Schneidmüller and S. Weinfurter (eds), Ottonische Neuanfänge (Mainz, 2001), pp. 127–51; rpt in T. Reuter, Medieval Polities and Modern Mentalities, ed. J. L. Nelson (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 300–24. MB.
  • Reuter, T., 'The "Imperial Church System" of the Ottonian and Salian Rulers: A Reconsideration', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 33 (1982), 347–74. Journals P6. Rpt in T. Reuter, Medieval Polities and Modern Mentalities, ed. J. L. Nelson (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 325–54. MB.
  • Reuter, T., 'The Making of England and Germany, 850-1050: Points of Comparison and Difference', in A. P. Smyth (ed.), Medieval Europeans: Studies in Ethnic Identity and National Perspectives in Medieval Europe (Basingstoke and New York, 1998), pp. 53–70. MBM7. Rpt in T. Reuter, Medieval Polities and Modern Mentalities, ed. J. L. Nelson (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 284–99. MB.
  • Reuter, T., 'The Ottonians and Carolingian Tradition', in T. Reuter, Medieval Polities and Modern Mentalities, ed. J. L. Nelson (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 268–83. MB.
  • Reuter, T., Germany in the Early Middle Ages, 800–1056 (London, 1991). MHB.*
  • Weinfurter, S., The Salian Century, Main Currents in an Age of Transition, trs. B. M. Bowlus (Philadelphia, 1999). MBHF
  • Wood, I. N., 'Beyond Satraps and Ostriches: Political and Social Structures of the Saxons in the Early Carolingian Period', in D. H. Green and F. Siegmund (eds.) The Continental Saxons from the Migration Period to the Tenth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective (Woodbridge, 2003), pp. 271–97. MIG.

Scandinavia, the Vikings and the Frankish Response

  • Brink, S., and N. Price (eds), The Viking World, Routledge Worlds (London, 2009). MBBV7.
  • Brogger, A. W., and H. Shetelig, The Viking Ships: Their Ancestry and Evolution, trs. K. John (2nd ed., London, 1971). UKDN
  • Christiansen, E., The Norsemen in the Viking Age, The Peoples of Europe (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002). An important revisionist critique of the traditional view. MBBV.
  • Clarke, H., and B. Ambrosiani, Towns in the Viking Age (Leicester, 1991). MBBV4.
  • Coupland, S., 'From Poachers to Gamekeepers: Scandinavian Warlords and Carolingian Kings', Early Medieval Europe, 7 (1998), 85-114. Online at Academic Search Premier.
  • Coupland, S., 'The Fortified Bridges of Charles the Bald', Journal of Medieval History, 17 (1991), 1–12. Online at Science Direct.
  • Coupland, S., 'The Rod of God's Wrath or the People of God's Wrath? The Carolingians' Theology of the Viking Invasions', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 42 (1991), 535-54. Journals P6.
  • Coupland, S., 'The Vikings on the Continent in Myth and History', History, 88 (2003), 186-203. Journals L6.
  • Coupland, S., and J. L. Nelson, 'The Vikings on the Continent', History Today (December, 1988), pp. 12-19. Journals L6. Available online at 'Academic Search Premier'.
  • Farrell, R. T. (ed.), The Vikings (London, 1982). MBBV7. One copy on short loan, others on long loan.
  • Haywood, J., Dark Age Naval Power: A Reassessment of Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Seafaring Activity (2nd edn., Hockwold-cum-Wilton, 1999), esp. chps. 4 + 5. MSC.N.
  • Haywood, J., The Penguin Atlas of the Vikings (Harmondsworth, 1995). MBBV18.
  • Helle, K. (eds.), The Cambridge history of Scandinavia, vol. 1, Prehistory to 1520 (Cambridge, 2003). See esp. pt.2, 'From Vikings to Kings' (pp. 103-234), which includes essays by P. Sawyer, 'The Viking Expansion' (pp. 105-20), by E. Roesdahl and P. Meulengracht Sørensen, 'Viking Culture' (pp. 121-46) and by I. Skovgaard-Petersen, 'The Making of the Danish Kingdom' (pp. 168-83). MO.
  • Hudson, B. T., Viking Pirates and Christian Princes: Dynasty, Religion and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford, 2005). MBBV.
  • Jones, G., A History of the Vikings (Oxford, 1968). MBBV.* There are 3 copies, one on short loan.
  • Jordan, Paul, North Sea Saga, The Medieval World (Harlow, 2004). DWdb3.
  • Kirkby, M. H., The Vikings (Oxford, 1977). MBBV.
  • McDougall, I., 'Serious Entertainments: An Examination of a Peculiar Type of Viking Atrocity', Anglo-Saxon England, 22 (1993), 201-25. MVC.
  • Randsborg, K., The Viking Age in Denmark: The Formation of the State (London, 1980). MOMP.
  • Richards, J. D., The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2005). MBBV.
  • Roesdahl, E., The Vikings in England and in their Danish Homeland (London, 1981). The catalogue of an exhibition held 1981. MBBV.
  • Roesdahl, E., The Vikings, trs. S. M. Margeson and K. Williams (Harmondsworth, 1992). MBBV.
  • Roesdahl, E., Viking-Age Denmark, trs. S. Margeson and K. Williams (London, 1982) MOMP.
  • Sawyer, B., and P. H., Medieval Scandinavia: From Conversion to Reformation 800–1500 (Minneapolis and London, 1993). MOA.Q.
  • Sawyer, P. H. (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings (Oxford, 1997). Has important essays by Sawyer on the origins of the Viking phenomenon and by Janet Nelson on the Vikings in Frankia. MBBV7.*
  • Sawyer, P. H., Kings and Vikings: Scandinavia and Europe AD 700-1100 (London, 1982). MBBV.*
  • Sawyer, P. H., The Age of the Vikings (2nd edn., London, 1971). MBBV.

Histories of Other Adjoining Regions

  • Barford, P. M., The Early Slavs: Culture and Society in Early Medieval Eastern Europe (Ithaca, NY, 2001). MM.
  • Barnish, S., and F. Marazzi (ed.), The Ostrogoths from the Migration Period to the Sixth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective, Studies in the History of Archaeoethnology (Woodbridge, 2005). MBH.
  • Collins, R., Early Medieval Spain: Unity in Diversity (400–1000) (2nd ed., London, 1995). MQB.
  • Collins, R., Visigothic Spain, 409-71, A History of Spain (Oxford, 2006). MQBA.
  • Curta, F., The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, c.500-700, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, 4th ser. 52 (Cambridge, 2003). Available on campus as an electronic resource.
  • Dvornik, F., The Slavs: Their Early History and Their Civilization (Boston, 1956). MAU.
  • La Rocca, C. (ed.), Italy in the Early Middle Ages, 476-1000 (Oxford, 2002). MFP.
  • Shephard, J. (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire (Cambridge, 2009). LW. Note esp. the three articles on Byzantium's relations with the West: J. Moorhead, 'Western Approaches (500–600)' (pp. 196–220); M. McCormick, 'Western Approaches (700–900)' (pp. 395–432); J. Shephard, 'Western Approaches (900–1025)' (pp. 537–58).
  • Treadgold, W. T., A History of the Byzantine State and Society (Stanford, CA, 1997). LW.
  • Vlasto, A. P., The Entry of the Slavs into Christendom: An Introduction to the Medieval History of the Slavs (Cambridge, 1970). MAU.
  • Whittow, M., The Making of Orthodox Byzantium 600–1025 (London, 1996). LW.
  • Wickham, C. J., Early Medieval Italy: Central Power and Local Society 400–1000 (London, 1981). Italy, it should be remembered, was from 751 part of the Frankish world. MFP.

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