Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Early Medieval World: From the Fall of Rome to the Time of Charlemagne

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Early Medieval World: From the Fall of Rome to the Time of Charlemagne

Article excerpt

The Early Medieval World: From the Fall of Rome to the Time of Charlemagne. By Michael Frassetto. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2013. 2 vols. Acid free $189 (ISBN: 978-1-59884-995-0). E-book available (978-1-59884-996-7), call for pricing.

The Early Medieval World: From the Fall of Rome to the Time of Charlemagne is a comprehensive two-volume reference work that provides 250 in-depth introductory entries discussing the rich social and material culture of early medieval Europe. The encyclopedia depicts the era from the fall of the western Roman Empire to the fall of the Carolingians as a transformative period, in clear contrast to the traditional image of the period as the "Dark Ages"--a time of general barbarity and ignorance.

The work begins with an introductory essay on the historiography of the early medieval world and includes an accessible historical overview of this period. A comprehensive 13-page chronology follows, starting at 305 CE with the retirement of Emperors Diocletian and Maximian and ending with the writing of Beowulf in 1000 CE

The alphabetically arranged entries, all of which were written by Frasetto, detail the laws and governments, barbarian peoples and dynasties, leaders, religions, major battles, and cultural and intellectual trends of this influential period. Almost all entries are 2-8 pages in length and include cross-references and a bibliography of print and online sources for further reading. …

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