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Author: Fried, Johannes

Number Of Pages: 632

EAN: 9780674055629

Release Date: 15-12-2014

Languages: English

Item Condition: UsedVeryGood

Binding: Hardcover

Details: Product Description Since the fifteenth century, when humanist writers began to speak of a “middle” period in history linking their time to the ancient world, the nature of the Middle Ages has been widely debated. Across the millennium from 500 to 1500, distinguished historian Johannes Fried describes a dynamic confluence of political, social, religious, economic, and scientific developments that draws a guiding thread through the era: the growth of a culture of reason. Beginning with the rise of the Franks, Fried uses individuals to introduce key themes, bringing to life those who have too often been reduced to abstractions of the medieval “monk” or “knight.” Milestones encountered in this thousand-year traversal include Europe’s political, cultural, and religious renovation under Charlemagne; the Holy Roman Empire under Charles IV, whose court in Prague was patron to crowning cultural achievements; and the series of conflicts between England and France that made up the Hundred Years’ War and gave to history the enduringly fascinating Joan of Arc. Broader political and intellectual currents are examined, from the authority of the papacy and impact of the Great Schism, to new theories of monarchy and jurisprudence, to the rise of scholarship and science. The Middle Ages is full of people encountering the unfamiliar, grappling with new ideas, redefining power, and interacting with different societies. Fried gives readers an era of innovation and turbulence, of continuities and discontinuities, but one above all characterized by the vibrant expansion of knowledge and an understanding of the growing complexity of the world. Review Written by one of the most original historians of his generation, this survey of western European medieval history covers the decline of Rome to the eve of the Reformation with verve and intelligence. Fried argues that modernity and the Enlightenment, despite having forgotten their debts to the Middle Ages, actually owe to the period their most valued characteristics: rationality, method, empiricism, doubt, modern science, global interests, citizenship, and last but not least, freedom. (Philippe Buc, University of Vienna) Thanks to what German medieval scholar Fried calls the cultural prejudices of such Enlightenment thinkers as Immanuel Kant, the Middle Ages got a bad rap as a ‘childish and grotesque’ era when, in reality, it was a period of enormous learning, democratization and secularization… Overall, the Middle Ages brought freedom, Fried argues in this passionate but intensely scholarly book (translated from the German), and the desire to know the wider world. ( Kirkus Reviews 2014-11-01) This beautifully written and well-translated overview of the period between 500 and 1500 C.E. examines concepts and perceptions rather than kings and battles. Fried, professor of medieval history at the University of Frankfurt, begins with Boethius, whose work bridged classical and late antiquity. The development of new attitudes toward liberty and the beginnings of the division between church and state are described with a lucidity that is rare in historical overviews. Fried considers Jews, Muslims, and women as integral parts of society. He also addresses the development of natural science in the 13th century, noting that its monastic adherents had no problem with trying to discover how God’s creation worked. The politics of absolutism are presented in the context of the nature of governance and the rise of the power of commerce. As Fried reaches the plague years of the 14th and 15th centuries and the Renaissance, he analyzes the ‘eruption of the supernatural into the real world’ through new modes in art and the rise of witch hunts. Fried’s conclusion that the ‘Middle Ages…crossed seamlessly over into a similarly constituted Early Modern period’ is aimed at dispelling the myth of a ‘dark’ age between antiquity and modernity. ( Publishers Weekly 2014-10-14) Fried’s breadth of knowledge is formidable an

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