The Early Medieval World
From the Fall of Rome to the Time of Charlemagne
by Michael Frassetto
March 2013, 740pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-995-0
$198, £153, 173€, A272
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-996-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

From the fall of Rome to the age of Charlemagne and his successors, the early Middle Ages was a time of profound importance in European and world history. The great changes that occurred in this tumultuous and oft-misunderstood time laid the foundation for subsequent Western civilization.

This book examines a pivotal period in ancient human history: the fall of the Roman Empire and the birth of a new European civilization in the early Middle Ages.

The Early Medieval World: From the Fall of Rome to the Time of Charlemagne addresses the social and material culture of this critical period in the evolution of Western society, covering the social, political, cultural, and religious history of the Mediterranean world and northern Europe.

The two-volume set explains how invading and migrating barbarian tribes—spurred by raiding Huns from the steppes of Central Asia—contributed to the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and documents how the blending of Greco-Roman, Germanic, and Christian cultures birthed a new civilization in Western Europe, creating the Christian Church and the modern nation-state. A-Z entries discuss political transformation, changing religious practices in daily life, sculpture and the arts, material culture, and social structure, and provide biographies of important men and women in the transitional period of late antiquity. The work will be extremely helpful to students learning about the factors that contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire—an important and common topic in world history curricula.


  • A chronology of events
  • Dozens of primary document excerpts
  • A substantial bibliography of print and nonprint sources
Michael Frassetto, PhD, teaches medieval and world history at the University of Delaware, La Salle University, and Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He has published numerous articles on medieval religious and social history. Frassetto is author of The Great Medieval Heretics: Five Centuries of Religious Dissent and editor of Christian Attitudes toward the Jews in the Middle Ages: A Casebook and Heresy and the Persecuting Society in the Middle Ages: Essays on the Work of R.I. Moore.


"This convenient two-volume encyclopedia presents a wide range of articles about the early medieval world. . . . Other helpful features for students include a 13-page chronology to the year 1000, a selection of maps, and lists of major rulers and popes. Summing Up: Recommended."—Choice, August 1, 2013

"[A] nice addition to any high school or public library looking to upgrade its history collection."—Booklist, July 1, 2013

"This introduction is an excellent starter for anyone new to the topic of the Early Medieval period, and has a fantastic selected bibliography. . . . . I highly recommend this work for the public as well as undergraduates; this a good general reference to this time period."—ARBA, June 1, 2013
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