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

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Nov 30, 2006 - Business & Economics - 990 pages
7 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 recent decades, the rise of early medieval archaeology has also transformed our source-base, but this has not been adequately integrated into analyses of documentary history in almost any country. In Framing the Early Middle Ages Chris Wickham combines documentary and archaeological evidence to create a comparative history of the period 400-800. His analysis embraces each of the regions of the late Roman and immediately post-Roman world, from Denmark to Egypt. The book concentrates on classic socio-economic themes, state finance, the wealth and identity of the aristocracy, estate management, peasant society, rural settlement, cities, and exchange. These give only a partial picture of the period, but they frame and explain other developments. Earlier syntheses have taken the development of a single region as 'typical', with divergent developments presented as exceptions. This book takes all different developments as typical, and aims to construct a synthesis based on a better understanding of difference and the reasons for it.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

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

User Review  - Gina - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Katie - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2006)

Chris Wickham received his DPhil from Oxford in 1975. He has taught at the University of Birmingham since then and is currently Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oxford. He has been editor of Past and Present since 1995.

Bibliographic information