Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800
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Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  45 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The Roman empire tends to be seen as a whole whereas the early middle ages tends to be seen as a collection of regional histories, roughly corresponding to the land-areas of modern nation states. As a result, early medieval history is much more fragmented, and there have been few convincing syntheses of socio-economic change in the post-Roman world since the 1930s. In rece...more
Paperback, 990 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published February 8th 2005)
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This book is a huge accomplishment and a genuinely impressive work of scholarship. It's quite dense to read at points (though Wickham does admirably in making what could be a chore rather engaging), but Wickham's sturdy and methodical scholarship are really pretty wonderful and he does a great job in painting the former Roman Empire (plus Denmark and Ireland) from 400-800 as taxation systems simplified (or disappeared), aristocracies markedly decreased in their wealth (and consequently their buy...more
Apr 29, 2012 Lori rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: serious European history fans
(Revised 4/29/12)
After having read The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000 by Chris Wickham, that is now my number one referral for people who want an introduction. THIS book is for people who want to know more detail. Publication of books for the general public about the transition from the Roman world to the European world (from about 400AD to about 800AD, aka Late Antiquity, Early Medieval, Dark Ages) has been growing rapidly, reflecting a huge development over the past...more
This was more of a project than a book. It's massive and detailed, not for a general reader (see Wickham's The Inheritance of Rome for that). It's also hard to know how to rate, but I am giving it 5 stars for usefulness, clarity and for accomplishing the author's stated goals. With its broad focus, this would be an excellent book for someone looking for thesis topics or a research area. The early Middle Ages really cries out for more study and excavation.

Wickham wants to provide a synthesis of d...more
Long, boring book about stuff that happened so long ago we aren't sure if it did. The author stresses the unique, internally-driven development of each region he discusses, and wishes to move analysis away from 'teleological' or nationalistic readings of evidence. In the conclusion he states that the early middle ages was 1) a period in which fiscal structures were nearly universally simpler then they had been before, 2) a period of relative aristocratic weakness marked by 3) more autonomous pea...more
Weighing in at more than 800 pages of text and more than 100 of bibliography, Framing of the Middle Ages is worthy of the name "tome." Chris Wickham examines a variety of regions in Western Europe, North Africa and Western Asia which were part of the Roman Empire (together with Denmark and Ireland as non-Roman comparatives) between roughly 400 and 800, looking primarily at the political and economic transformations which occurred in the Empire's aftermath. He uses both documentary and archaeolog...more
So far so good, but I've barely begun. It is a mammoth tome, and I will do well if I get through it this summer. It is introducing me to areas of the early middle ages that I hadn't considered before - specifically North Africa, Egypt and Palestine. It's time I extended my thinking beyond East Anglia and the Anglo-Saxons, while seeing how they relate to the rest of the world.
While I hardly read more than 200 pages of this massive book, it was more for lack of time than non-interest. Fantastically detailed book that I hope to return to one day.
May 28, 2012 Michele is currently reading it
will be the death of me.
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