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Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History, 500-1000 Paperback – July 23, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0192892638 ISBN-10: 0192892630 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192892630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192892638
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"This book is a masterpiece of condensed exposition. It is also a breakthrough--a truly New Cultural History--in the quiet determination of the author to approach very old themes from angles refreshingly different from those from which they have usually been approached . . . It is, above all, the first complete account of the early middle ages as a civilization in its own right. It catches the living texture of western Europe, from Rome to the Hebrides, for a half millennium of its history. It is truly the study of a civilization in its entirety. . ."--Peter Brown, Princeton University


About the Author

Julia Smith is Professor in Medieval History, University of Glasgow.

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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By kjellnilsson on July 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is not divided into chronological chapters but into thematic chapters, treating each particular aspect of "culture" as she sees it once and for all at one place in the book, much like Norman Davis did in his delightful history of Poland, "Heart of Europe".
There are four major sections, each with two chapters. I: Fundamentals, with the chapters Speaking and writing and Living and dying. II: Affinities, divided into Friends and relations, and Men and women. III: Resources, divided into Labour and lordship, and Getting and giving. IV: Ideologies, divided into Kingship and Christianity and Rome and the peoples of Europe. There follow an Epilogue on pp 293-297, and Notes on pp 298-313 which gives the sources for works quoted. The section Further Reading, occupying pp 314-343 is actually a so called commented bibliography, which I found valuable since it puts the reading list into a historiographic perspective and aids in picking out books that will interest me during further studies.
The topic of the book being Europe in the years 500-1000 AD, which earlier used to be referred to as The Dark Ages, I found it positive, for instance, that she does away with the concept of Barbarians (as opposed to supposedly "civilised" Romans) in a way which Peter Heather (who insists that there was indeed a Fall of the Roman empire, and of civilisation with it) would probably find blasphemous. She shows convincingly that the Europe of AD 1000 was very different from that of AD 500, so obviously a lot of things happened in terms of development within European societies, even during supposedly Dark Ages. No signs of stagnation there !
I noted some negatives. The lack of illustrations is rather unusual for a Cultural History. In fact, the only photo inside the book is the frontispiece (in b/w !
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28 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Veglia Borletti on March 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
---The once called 'dark ages' is my favorite period of history. I love the idea of the world - Europe, that is - after the fall of the Empire. I want to know all about the early medievel kings. How did men become kings in the first place, after Rome lost authoritian control? She names any number of kings, but doesn't tell us who they really were or where were their kingdoms. What authority did they have? Were they evil barbarian kings that waged constant war with each other or gentle law givers ushering in a thousand years of peace?
---And how did the common people live? Mostly in cities or on small farms in remote forests, on mountain side or on the plains? How and how often did they came together at fairs, markets, dances, church. What did they do when they came together? On horses or on foot? With carts bringing crops to market? Selling knitting or crafts? I want to know what they wore and did for labor and fun. Am I confusing cultural history with social history?
---Alas, 'Europe after Rome' told me nothing at all of what I wanted to know. As much as I admire anyone who can put together a scholarly volume, which this is, I guess, I must not be a scholar because this is not an edifying volume. It is irredeemably confused in its discussion and presentation. The author uses big words and long sentences in paragraphs without coherence or meaning. I could not follow it or keep awake.
---The author was clearly dismissive of the role of the church in this period, though it was only the church, apparently, that kept learning alive at all. She was somewhat more clear in respect of some women's issues. I take her to believe that women were not sufficiently empowered.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Roosipuu on November 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book gave good overview of the era - I recommend to read it for everybody who are interested what kind of changes took place during the times when Europe was changed by goths, huns and other people who wanted to find a new place to live.
Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000
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6 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Hunt on March 11, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book hoping to expand my understanding of the post Roman period. Unfortunately I learned a great deal more about the author then I did about post Roman Europe. She is like many feminist "scholars", more interesting in validating her own sterotypical ideas, than in understanding her subject matter. She also falls into the undergraduate writing trap, of using vocabulary which is unnecessarily filled with jargon and obscure words.
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Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History, 500-1000
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