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Reference Sources

When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, brief factual information, and test your own assumptions about the topic.

Key Resources

  • Dictionary of the Middle Ages [HIL-REF D114 .D5 1982 vols. 1-13]

    Interim Index available.

  • Atlas of the medieval world [HIL-REF D117 .M35 2004]

    McKitterick (early medieval history, Cambridge U., UK), who authored many of the entries in addition to editing the atlas, provides a broad view of the Middle Ages that eschews an exclusive focus on political developments and the western Christian arena to write instead on commerce, city planning and development, art and culture, and the lives and histories of diverse peoples in the eastern and western Christian, Muslim, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, and African worlds. Entries provide a history and definition of the event, group, or idea accompanied by highly detailed maps and frequent color plates of relevant works of art and architecture. A sampling of entries includes Byzantium 700-1000, Byzantine culture, the Abbasid caliphate, the Temple kingdoms in India, the Tang dynasty, Sung China, Africa 1000-1300, the Spanish reconquista, and commercial expansion in the later Middle Ages. This work was first published by Harper Collins in 2003 as The Times Medieval world. Annotation #169;2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • The Cambridge medieval history [HIL-REF D117 .C32 1964 vols. 1-8]
  • Encyclopedia of the medieval world [HIL-REF D114 .E55 2005 vols. 1-2]

    High school and undergraduate students as well as general readers will find this two-volume reference a useful starting point to their study of the medieval era in Europe and the Mediterranean. The entries are detailed, providing lengthy treatment of the life of the figure, or the era, noting the significant political events and people. The entries are cross referenced and conclude with a bibliography of scholarly sources. Care has been taken to include essential figures and concepts of Islam. A selection of entry topics--including Edessa, Eleanor of Aquitaine, eschatology, al- Farabi, furs and fur trade, al-Fustat, heaven, pallium, parasites, and Theophano--demonstrates the range of subjects. English teaches history at the U. of California, Santa Barbara. Annotation #169;2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Women and gender in medieval Europe : an encyclopedia [HIL-REF HQ1147 .E85 W66 2006]

    Female patronage of the arts and the church, female mysticism and devotional practices, women's medicine and understandings of the female body, and women's roles in politics and diplomacy are among the activities discussed in the 563 signed articles, each with cross-references to other articles and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. The very few illustrations are monochrome. Annotation #169;2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages [HIL-REF D114 .E5313 2000 vols. 1-2]

    Translated from the French edition (Les Editions du Cerf, 1997), with new entries not found in the French original (including Beowulf), and a bibliography now included after each entry. This hefty two- volume reference strongly emphasizes French and Italian medieval theology, which are the specialties of editor Vauchez (French School, Rome); but the English-language version has additional entries to enhance the English presence. The scope is vast, but without any claim to comprehensiveness, the aim being to provide a resource of manageable size and cost for scholars and others interested primarily in Europe's Christendom. Coverage includes general concepts, theories, biographies, and historical events; individual works of art and monuments are not given separate entries. In places, awkward translation into English has made complex ideas more difficult than necessary. Illustrations are servicable bandw images and a few full-page color plates. c. Book News Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Oxford handbook of medieval Christianity [HIL-REF BR162.3 .O94 2017]

    Introduction: A history of medieval Christianity / John H. Arnold -- Part I: Methods. Histories and historiographies of medieval Christianity / John H. Arnold ; Religion, belief, and society : anthropological approaches / Simon Yarrow ; Material culture and medieval Christianity / Beth Williamson ; Medieval Christianity in a world historical perspective / R.I. Moore -- Part II: Spaces. The boundaries of Christendom and Islam : Iberia and the Latin levant / Amy G. Remensnyder ; Christianizing kingdoms / Sverre Bagge ; Monastic landscapes and society / Wendy Davies ; Civic religion / Nicholas Terpstra ; Localized faith : parochial and domestic spaces / Katherine L. French -- Part III: Practices. Continuity and change in the institutional church / Ian Forrest ; Pilgrimage / Marcus Bull ; Using saints : intercession, healing, sanctity / Gábor Klaniczay ; Missarum sollemnia : eucharistic rituals in the Middle Ages / Eric Palazzo ; Penitential varieties / Rob Meens ; Spiritual exercises : the making of interior faith / Robert L.A. Clark -- Part IV: Ideas. Fear, hope, death, and salvation / Arnold Angenendt ; Reform, clerical culture, and politics / Maureen C. Miller ; Intellectuals and the masses : oxen and she-asses in the medieval church / Peter Biller ; 'Popular' religious culture(s) / Laura A. Smoller ; Doubts and the absence of faith / Dorothea Weltecke ; Medieval monasticisms / Constance H. Berman ; Mysticism and the body / Rosalynn Voaden ; Christianity and its others : Jews, Muslims, and pagans / Sara Lipton ; Christian experiences of religious non-conformism / Grado Giovanni Merlo -- Part VI: Power. The church as lord / George Dameron ; Christianizing political discourses / Geoffrey Koziol ; Religion in the age of Charlemagne / Janet L. Nelson ; Papal authority and its limitations / Kathleen G. Cushing ; Bishops, education, and discipline / Sarah Hamilton -- Conclusion : Looking back from the Reformation / Ronnie Po-chia Hsia.

  • Cambridge histories online
    This resource, part of Cambridge Core, contains the online versions of over 270 Cambridge Histories publications in the following 15 areas: American History, British History, Economic History, General History, History of Science, History of the Book, Language and Linguistics, Literary Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political and Social Theory, Regional History, Religious Studies, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, and Warfare. For a complete listing of titles in each area, please refer to the publisher's site, at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/collections/cambridge-histories
  • Chronology of the medieval world, 800 to 1491 [HIL-REF D118 .S855 1973]
  • A dictionary of medieval terms and phrases [HIL-REF DA129 .C67 2004]

    The first dictionary of medieval terms intended for the non-specialist with an interest in the medieval world.

  • Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online
    Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online "is a vast new online library giving instant access to the most authoritative and up-to-date scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. With more than 350 reference volumes to be published in Blackwell Reference Online by the end of 2008, it is the largest academic reference collection available online and includes the critically-acclaimed Blackwell Companions and Handbooks, major reference works such as the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management and the Companion to Syntax, and a whole host of other valuable reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and concise companions."
  • Medieval England : an encyclopedia [HIL-REF DA129 .M43 1998]

    Covers social, cultural, and political life from the Anglo-Saxon invasions of the fifth century to the turn of the sixteenth century. Includes such aspects as art, architecture, law, literature, kings, commoners, women, music, commerce, technology, warfare, and religion. Also provides insights into England's ties with the Celtic world of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland; the French and Anglo-Norman world on the continent; the Viking and Scandinavian world of the North Sea; and to Christendom. The articles are signed, and sometimes present contradictory opinions, demonstrating the uncertainty of much modern scholarship about the period. Each article concludes with a bibliography, divided when appropriate into primary and secondary, and indicates related topics. The index distinguishes between main entries and passing mentions. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

Additional Resources

  • Medieval France : an encyclopedia [HIL-REF DC33.2 .M44 1995]

    A veritable tome, with over 2,400 entries on the political, intellectual, literary, and musical history of France from the fifth to the 15th century. Shorter entries provide succinct information on individuals, events, works, cities, monuments, and other specific topics. Essay-length articles interpret significant institutions, periods, and events. Each is attributed and referenced. The work is particularly strong in economics, women, religion, art and music, and literature. Well cross-referenced and indexed. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • The Oxford dictionary of Byzantium [HIL-REF DF521 .O93 1991 vols. 1-3]
    This is the standard research tool on 1,100 years of Byzantine history. Exhaustive in its coverage, entries on patriarchy and emperors coexist with entries on surgery, musical instruments, and the baking of bread, bringing to life this vastly important culture and empire, from the 4th century to the 15th.
  • Atlas of human migration [HIL-REF GN370 .A85 2007]

    A well-illustrated, comprehensive popular history of how humans have spread out across the world, from it's very beginnings in Africa through to modern migration to Israel and resulting from the Eastern Bloc collapse.

  • Medieval folklore : an encyclopedia of myths, legends, tales, beliefs, and customs [HIL-REF GR35 .M43 2000 vols. 1-2]

    This award winning, definitive work is an A-Z guide to the mundane and supernatural lore of the Middle Ages.

  • Extraordinary women of the Medieval and Renaissance world : a biographical dictionary [HIL-REF HQ1143 .E93 2000]

    Aside from a few famous queens, warriors and religious leaders, little information is available about the many extraordinary women of the medieval and Renaissance world. This resource brings together engagingly written biographical profiles of 70 women, most of whom are "unsung," but all of whom are remarkable for their courage, initiative, and accomplishments in a world where the conventional wisdom was for women to be "chaste, silent, and obedient." The women profiled here represent 18 countries and excelled in 19 fields of endeavor. They include artists, builders, mystics, political leaders, religious activists, diarists and dramatists, poets and writers, and scholars. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Encyclopedia of medieval literature [HIL-REF PN669 .R88 2005]

    "Medieval" is used loosely in the title of this volume, as literatures of the world from 500-1500 are included, with literatures of India, China, Japan, and all the Islamic world featured beside those of western Europe (though European entries predominate). The result is a rich resource of the most well known examples world literature. The author entries discuss the author's most famous work, often by detailing its narrative content. Some entries are included on characters, motifs or term, with discussion of its occurrence and use in several examples. The approximately 700 entries, which were written by Ruud (English, U. of Arkansas) and 12 other scholars at American universities, are alphabetical by name of author or work; each concludes with a brief bibliography. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Medieval science, technology, and medicine : an encyclopedia [HIL-REF Q124.97 .M43 2005]

    Like others in the series "Routledge [formerly Garland] Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages," the 11th volume calls on high-level scholars as editors and authors to prepare entries that are both up-to-date and accessible to non-specialists, making this an excellent reference for college libraries. The entries address subjects pertaining to technology (including apparatus, equipment, implements, and techniques); biography; the disciplines; geographical places; institutions; and scientific genres, theories, texts, and traditions. A sampling of topics: includes agriculture, communication, computus, Al-Farabi, gunpowder, technological diffusion, and women in science. The fruitful reception of knowledge from the east to the west--specifically from China, Central Asia, India, and the Islamic world to Europe--is a repeated theme. The authors are 148 academics, with half or more of them based in Europe and the rest in North America, thus ensuring the international point of view essential in medieval studies. Glick (Boston U.), a specialist in the technology of medieval Spain, co-edited the volume with Steven J. Livesey (U. of Oklahoma) and Faith Wallis (McGill U., Montreal, Canada). Annotation #169;2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Concordance of English recipes : thirteenth through fifteenth centuries [HIL-REF TX717 .H543 2006]
  • The Cambridge illustrated history of the Middle Ages [HIL-STACKS CB351 .M7813 1986 v. 1 & 2]

    Spans the beginning of the Middle Ages, the rise of the Church, the growing importance of Byzantium and the flowering of the Carolingian Renaissance.

  • HeinOnline

    Has some older legal classics.

  • Classical Scores Library (Music Online)
    "Music Online: Classical Scores Library is a series of four volumes with a mission to provide a reliable and authoritative source for scores of the classical canon, as well as a resource for the discovery of lesser-known contemporary works. The collections encompass all major classical musical genres and time periods from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. With full, study, piano, and vocal scores, this comprehensive collection will enhance the study of music history, performance, composition and theory for a variety of scholars."
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB)
    Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is an illustrated/fulltext reference tool providing 55,000 specially-written signed biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of the British past from the earliest times to the end of the year 2000. It is the product of research instituted at the University of Oxford and funded by the British Academy and by Oxford University Press. It is the achievement of 10,000 contributors and advisers staff in Oxford. The Oxford DNB aims to provide full, accurate, concise, and readable articles on noteworthy people in all walks of life. No living person is included: the Dictionary's articles are confined to people who died before 31 December 2000.
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
    A digital collection of current and historical maps, from the Perry-Castaneda Library at the University of Texas at Austin. The online collection features images of over 5700 maps from the Perry-Castaneda Library, as well as extensive links to other map-related sites.
    Open Access | 1896 - present

To find additional reference materials, check UNB WorldCat (the library catalogue) or our Reference Materials database.


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Early Medieval Europe

Last modified on April 20, 2024 14:15