Academic journal article Medium Aevum

An Introduction to Medieval History

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

An Introduction to Medieval History

Article excerpt

Paolo Delogu, An Introduction to Medieval History, trans. Matthew Moran (London: Duckworth, 2002). 251 pp. TSBN 0-7156-3079-2. £14.99.

In univcrsity-textbook-spcak, to call a book 'An introduction to ...' is to make a series of ambitious promises. In Paolo Delogu's Introduction to Medieval History we have a book that delivers all that it promises, for the author has managed to fit an almost improbable amount of information about every aspect of the study of medieval history within a ridiculously small compass. After a history of the concept and study of the Middle Ages from the sixteenth century to the present, Delogu gives brief overviews of important themes (nations, demography, barbarians, the Church, and so on) and of the sources available to the historian, before describing in more detail the work of medieval historians, the documentation, coins (he is clearly a keen numismatist), and the material record, finishing off with twenty-odd pages of further reading. Delogu's impressive breadth is shown perhaps most clearly in his longest chapter, that on medieval historiography: encyclopaedic in range - he goes from the fourth century to the fourteenth and covers the whole of western Europe - he yet manages to avoid giving simply a list of medieval historians (he names nearly 150 of them) and provides instead a real narrative informed by some idea oi historiographical developments in different countries. he has a knack of blending informativeness and readability, carefully combining general principles (conveyed in a reasonably non-simplistic fashion) with copious, but relevant, detail. …

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