The Making of the Middle Ages
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The Making of the Middle Ages

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  336 ratings  ·  16 reviews
This is an absorbing study of the main personalities and the influences that molded the history of Western Europe from the late tenth to the early thirteenth century. Southern describes the chief forms of social, political, and religious organization.
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published January 28th 2001 by ACLS History E-Book Project (first published 1953)
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Cat
An acknolwedged classic of european history, R.W. Southern's "The Middle Ages" focuses on the period between 900 and 1200 A.D. His geopgraphic focus is mostly northern france, with some asides to Germany, Italy, Southern France and England. His main thesis is the idea that this period saw the emergence of a personal devotion to faith via monasticism that in turn prefigured the rise of invdividual identity in western culture.

No small accomplishment, that thesis, and no small accomplishment this...more
Cartavio
I loved this one. If you still think that history books need to read as some sort of novel, if you believe that only biographies can be interesting, then you haven`t grabbed this one yet. The perfect book for a first approach into history
Lee Broderick
All roads lead from Rome? It's impossible to read this book in anything other than the light of the post-War Britain R.W. Southern was writing in: countering the Germanic-worshipping Victorians he remains locked into a discourse of cultural evolution. The German societies of Victorian England were quickly forgotten after WWI, presenting something of an embarrassment and a little of that is present here too.

Southern sets out in this book to write a history of European thought of the eleventh and...more
Ned
Don't let my 'star-rating' fool ya. This is a really good overview of the essential bits that tie together what made medieval Europe what it was c 900-1205 (and what it would revolve against later). Anyone at least mildly interested in the era should give this take at least a quick once-over look.
Written after WWII it really does seem to be trying to say all that was necessary about this formative period in euro-history, at a time when the western world was wanting to start over, again.
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Kate
This was a favorite text from one of my undergraduate history courses and I have owned it for so long that the Yale University Press paperback edition that cost me $2.45 so many years ago is no longer in print. I'm glad the book is still available, because it is a small (less than 300 pages) gem of intellectual history. The author examines the period from AD 972, when a scholar named Gerbert probably left Rome in order to take up the study of logic at Rhiems, until the fall of Constantinople in...more
Sitatunga
The arc of history is long but it bends toward ... a rather neat stained glass window in Chartres, or Bourges, perhaps ... But besides such visceral evidence, nothing captures so well that ultimately mysterious world than this glowing icon of erudition, scholarship and story-telling
AC
The humanization of Christ (born from the changes in monasticism wrought by St. Anselm and St. Bernard), the birth of a new piety of interiority, the move in the arts and in literature from epic to romance -- nothing less than this -- the origins of the modern subjective self, which Southern traces to the new monasticism of the 12th cen -- is the thesis of this final chapter (of which all the earlier chapters are simply prelude). An important book, though the topic itself is predictably dry (med...more
Al
This was a very good work, covering the mid-tenth century to the beginning of the 13th century. Southern's narrative is very broad in scope; he discusses the geographic boudaries of Latin Christendom and follows this with discussions on society, the church, and the rising intellectualism which led to the formation of the universities. In discussing society, he examines serfdom and the interesting legal foundations of serfdom and its place in northern and central Europe. His discussion of the chu...more
Vivian Harmon
Very boring book. I fell asleep reading it 3 times, and still have not finished. It is a very well researched book.
Arlomisty
Excellent book on the causes and effects that went into creating the middle ages. It takes into account the place of the church and monarchy in society and how they effected the growth of thought and philosophy that led into the reformation... a dry, but very interesting book.
Jan-Maat
From memory a rather top down view of the middle ages, heavily slanted towards the doings of the ecclesiastical hierarchies. To some extent this reflects the sources, but to an extent also the habits of the scholarship of Southern's day. I'd be inclined to recommend Bartlett's The Making of Europe instead.
Roger
Absolutely the best intro to why the 12th century matters in western history.
The man wrote it while dealing with a bout of tuberculosis so you have to hand it to him for writing something this incisive while he was so sick.
Mark Mckay
Last chapter and bibliography were best part! Fascinating!!! Exhaustive research; I'm already searching for books cited in the text!
Julia
Very accessible intro to founding of the middle ages, with particularly good blending of social history to political and religious thought of the time.
Geoff Sebesta
This is the book that made me understand how serfdom arose. A great view of a forgotten corner of history -- it pretty much ends in 1000AD.
Michael
It just might make a medievalist out of you.
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Sir Richard William Southern (1912–2001), British historian. Taught at Oxford and was President of the Royal Historical Society 1969-1973.
More about R.W. Southern...
Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages (History of the Church, #2) صورة الإسلام في أوروبا في القرون الوسطى St. Anselm: A Portrait in a Landscape Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe Medieval Humanism and Other Studies

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