Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe

Society in Transformation

by Michael Frassetto


Even after 1,000 years, the word still evokes fear. Barbarians. They destroyed the Roman Empire and plunged Europe into the Dark Ages. But they also laid the foundations of the Christian church and the modern nation-state. Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe reveals the notorious savagery and little-known sophistication of this much-maligned age.

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May 2003


Pages 419
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics World History/Politics and Government
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    Hardcover: £67.00/73,00€/A$112.00

The first comprehensive reference work devoted exclusively to this dark, but critical, period in the history of Western civilization.

In the Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe, medieval expert Michael Frassetto amasses the evidence for the defense—and prosecution—of this little-understood transition era in the history of Western civilization. Covering nearly 1,000 years of history—from the late ancient period through the first centuries of the Middle Ages—this concise but thorough reference work examines the key figures, places, events, and ideas of barbarian Europe.

This title chronicles the ancient Visigoths, the rule of Benedict, and the sacking of Rome. The easy-to-access alphabetical entries and essays offer more than a mere chronicling of kings and battles and explore the social and cultural history of the era, with special attention played to the role of women.


  • Accessible A–Z format for nearly 200 entries covering the people, places, and events during the fall of the Roman Empire and the birth of early medieval Europe
  • Detailed chronology of the nearly 1,000 years of the European barbarian era
  • Maps and photographs covering key events and places
  • Articles on art, culture, religion, and day-to-day issues such as agriculture, farm animals, diet, marriage, and burial


  • Only reference work devoted exclusively to this transition period
  • A lengthy introductory essay that provides a framework in which to evaluate this period of history
  • Special focus on the role of women during this era
  • Covers nearly 1,000 years of history from Roman and barbarian perspectives
Author Info

Michael Frassetto is the religion editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and is the author of several books on medieval Europe.



"Entries are lively and accurate; they treat changing interpretations of people and events and rely on primary sources for vivid detail while evaluating their usefulness . . . The work is arranged to make sources and facts easy to find by means of an alphabetical list of entries, a subject index to entries, a subject bibliography, and an index. Recommended. General readers and undergraduates."Choice

"This is an excellent addition to reference collections . . . This is the only volume that focuses entirely on the barbarian period. It is recommended for public and academic libraries."Booklist

"Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe will serve students well as a reference to the era . . . articles are detailed, explaining the importance of each entry with an accompanying bibliography at the end. In addition, a subject bibliography in the back provides students with an impressive listing of scholarly resources for their further reading and research . . . Taking those points into consideration, this work will be a useful tool on early European history for most reference sections. It is recommended for public, high school, college, and university libraries."American Reference Books Annual

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