Atlas of Medieval Europe

Atlas of Medieval Europe

Atlas of Medieval Europe

Atlas of Medieval Europe


Covering the period from the fall of the Roman Empire through to the beginnings of the Renaissance, this is an indispensable volume which brings the complex and colourful history of the Middle Ages to life.Key features:* geographical coverage extends to the broadest definition of Europe from the Atlantic coast to the Russian steppes* each map approaches a separate issue or series of events in Medieval history, whilst a commentary locates it in its broader context* as a body, the maps provide a vivid representation of the development of nations, peoples and social structures.With over 140 maps, expert commentaries and an extensive bibliography, this is the essential reference for those who are striving to understand the fundamental issues of this period.


The preparation of an atlas of the history of Europe during the Middle Ages presents numerous and complex difficulties. In the first place the period to be covered stretches from the late fourth century down to the late fifteenth (or even early sixteenth) century. In addition, however, an atlas of this kind evidently cannot be confined to Western Europe: Byzantium and Eastern Europe have to be included, as indeed do such important matters as the exploits of crusading Europeans overseas, the impact of Muslims or Mongols, travel abroad, and the early voyages of discovery. In terms of social groupings equally formidable problems present themselves. Obviously the main political events from the fall of the Roman Empire down to the battles and treaties of the Hundred Years War have to be included, but so too do the activities of other protagonists; for example, popes and anti-popes, those who attended and participated in the great Church Councils or in parliamentary assemblies, Italian and Hanseatic merchants, tax collectors, women, colonists, peasants, shepherds (and their sheep), Jews and New Christians, heretics, writers and translators, troubadours, and architects and artists. Despite the difficulties inherent in such a task, however, the inclusion of such varied facets offers some positive advantages. For in addition to the emperors, kings, princes and great nobles, the artisans and peasants who participated in the French Jacquerie or the English revolt of 1381 left their mark on the period, as indeed did the humble Béguines and Beghards.

An atlas is an essential tool for the study of medieval history. This has long been recognized, but I believe that no adequate solution, specifically designed for this purpose, exists. When I was a student, which was admittedly a long time ago, we were advised to use a German atlas which was incredibly detailed and well nigh incomprehensible. The present atlas does not aim at minute detail compressed into a few cluttered maps. On the contrary, the main objective has been clarity, and each map is accompanied by an explanatory text.

Using nearly 140 maps, the atlas spans the entire medieval period. The actual selection of maps to be included was primarily determined by the years of undergraduate teaching experienced by the editor and contributors.

I am extremely grateful to all those colleagues who have helped in preparing this volume. Those who have contributed the maps, the accompanying texts and suggestions for further reading (contained in the bibliography) have suffered from my incessant demands, requests for clarification and advice, and all the delays inevitable in bringing such a co-operative enterprise to its conclusion. I owe a special debt to David Ditchburn whose efficiency and versatile talents have frequently made me ashamed of my own shortcomings.

It was Richard Stoneman who originally conceived of the project, and his constant encouragement and exemplary patience have been much appreciated. His successive assistants—Anita Roy, Jackie Dias, Kate Morrall and particularly Victoria Peters—have all displayed charitable forbearance when dealing with my absent-mindedness.

Finally, special thanks are due to the cartographer, Jayne Lewin, for her skill in converting rough drafts or even mere sketches into clear

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