The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Global Medieval Life and Culture
[3 volumes]
by Joyce E. Salisbury, General Editor
December 2008, 1016pp, 7x10
3 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33801-4
$321, £247, 280€, A440
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eBook Available: 978-0-313-08123-1
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The Middle Ages, roughly the years 400-1400, witnessed the formation of ideas and institutions that mark modern societies around the globe; this three-volume work helps readers understand how this important period unfolded in all major world regions.

The period we know as the Middle Ages, roughly the years 400–1400, saw the formation of ideas and institutions that mark modern societies. Developments as disparate as the foundation of Islam and the emergence of the middle class occurred during this pivotal millennium. Although historical study of the Middle Ages has traditionally focused on Western Europe, modern historians recognize the complex global nature of this era. For all major world regions, this three-volume work offers in-depth essays on broad themes, short entries on specific topics, and carefully selected primary documents to help readers more fully understand this critically important period.

Edited by Joyce Salisbury, who is general editor of the award-winning Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life, and written by Professor Salisbury and a series of prominent historians with regional expertise, Greenwood Encyclopedia of Global Medieval Life and Culture comprises three volumes covering the following areas of the globe:
Volume 1:Europe and the Americas
Volume 2: Islam and Africa
Volume 3: Asia and Oceania

Each regional section comprises seven in-depth essays covering the following broad topics and concluding with bibliographies of important and current information resources: Historical Overview of the Region, Religion, Economy, The Arts, Society, Science and Technology, and Global Ties. The Global Ties essays trace the political, social, economic, religious, technological, or commercial connections that existed between the region under discussion and any other world regions during the Middle Ages. Each regional section also includes a series of brief entries covering people, events, developments, and concepts mentioned in the in-depth essays.
Examples of entry topics include the following: Berbers, Emperor Harsha, Ethiopian Christianity, Flowery Warfare, Footbinding, Hildegard of Bingen, Jainism, Jihad, Maya Collapse, Neo-Confucianism, Romanesque, and Sharia.

A series of sidebars in each section will provide lists, graphs, charts, and other useful data relating to the region. Each section will also be illustrated and will include a selection of interesting primary documents that further illustrate the main themes addressed in the in-depth essays. Cross-references within the sections and a detailed subject index will also help readers access information in the essays and short entries.


Editors' Choice, 2009—Booklist, January 1, 2010


"For a quick overview of the different cultures, this set is simple to navigate and would be accessible for the undergraduate and general reader."—Choice, June 1, 2009

"All essays and short entries include brief guides to further reading. Each section further contains a chronology, a collection of maps, primary documents, and an appendix (this appendix typically provides information on ruling dynasties, but other topics, such as Chinese inventions or major island groups of Oceania are sometimes also included). A comprehensive and cumulative index is included in volume three."—Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2009

"What makes this excellent set so valuable are the topical essays, 8 to 10 pages in length, covering the history, religion, economy, arts, society, and science and technology in each area. Essays discussing 'Global Ties' do an outstanding job of showing how each region was connected to other parts of the world. Readers can easily make comparisons from one geographic area to another by looking at each of the corresponding topical essays. The short entries are generally one-half page to a full page in length and are best when discussing individual people or events. . . . The global nature of this encyclopedia sets it apart from other works on the medieval period. Because of its depth and breadth of coverage, it is recommended for high-school, college, and public libraries that need reference works on medieval history."—Booklist, Starred Review, September 15, 2009

"As a medievalist, it is difficult to find authoritative reference works on the Middle Ages that don't come across as 'just for scholars', or assume the reader already has a thorough understanding of that time period prior to their examination and perusal of the volume in question. This reference work, written for anyone interested in the Middle Ages (and not just from the Eurocentric perspective, but from a true global perspective), has been thoroughly researched and studied, and could be purchased for a junior high library as well as for an undergraduate research library. I intend to keep my review copy for perusal and reading by my daughter as she gets older, as it is an excellent exploration book for children wanting to know more information on medieval life and culture as an international phenomenon, and the connections between peoples that began during this time period, some of which continue up until the modern day time period."—Reference Reviews, January 1, 2010
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