In undertaking this eleventh edition, I have been guided, as Professor Hollister was before me, by the conviction that this textbook should reﬂect historical consensus more than daring new opinions. The book remains ﬁrmly focused on the medieval West, with Byzantium and Islam playing supporting roles. Some textbooks now embrace all three civilizations at once, but in my view that juggling can be accomplished only with considerable sacriﬁce of depth and nuance. We shall never lose sight in this textbook of the neighbors of medieval Christendom, but Byzantium and Islam have their own larger histories that cannot be fully rehearsed in these few pages. With our feet ﬁrmly planted in the West, we can trace a more coherent and textured history, and we also have time for more consideration of women's history, social history, and the history of the Later Middle Ages. Rather than try to do it all, this textbook aims to excel at the straightforward task of understanding how the peoples of the medieval West built their world, understood it, and changed it.
This new edition incorporates many small revisions and several broad changes, including:
- Chapter 1 now accomplishes what it once took two chapters to do, thereby getting students more quickly to the world of the old Western Empire after 500.
- Introductions to the three parts of the textbook—Early Middle Ages, Central Middle Ages, and Later Middle Ages—have been trimmed and integrated into the main text, thereby smoothing transitions.
- A new Chapter 7 now treats the papacy on its own, offering students a stronger and more cohesive narrative.
- Chapter 9 now incorporates the history of all medieval polities, putting especially the Holy Roman Empire on par with England and France .
- The visual material has been substantially reworked, with more images than ever before and many new ones.
- The biographical sketches have been reworked and tightened to encourage more student use.
- Bibliographies have been moved from this print edition and placed on a Web site (MedievalEuropeOnline.com) where I can regularly update them for use by students and teachers.
- Citations to all quotations have also similarly moved to MedievalEuropeOnline.com. This saves paper and costs, while also ensuring that students intrigued by a quote may still put their hands on a modern translation.
- Lists of monarchs and popes have been added in boxes in the relevant chapters. For those who prefer the old, integrated lists, they are still available