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Medieval Callings Paperback – December 18, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0226470870 ISBN-10: 0226470873 Edition: 1st

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Medieval Callings + Two Lives of Charlemagne (Penguin Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (December 18, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226470873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226470870
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,372,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jacques Le Goff (1927-2014) was a prominent French historian and medievalist. He was a key proponent of the Annales school of historical analysis, which emphasizes longterm social history over political or military themes. He argued that the Middle Ages were a distinct form of civilization, substantively different from both the classsical and modern worlds.


Lydia G. Cochrane has translated numerous books for the University of Chicago Press.

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Brady on April 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
The medieval world was one of hierarchy, order and purpose. In the time of Charlemagne, mankind was divided into those who pray (oratores), those who fight (bellatores) and those who worked the land (laboratores). As life evolved, these groups became the clergy, knights and the laity, but each was held in specific boundaries under specific rules, even as they further divided into city-dwellers, merchants, artisans and intellectuals. Still, European life from the year 1000 to the 15th century flowered in rich and varied ways, as 11 medival scholars explain in this collection. Because the book offers a sweeping view of the economics and sociology of multiple societies of Europe, the work lacks telling, specific details. It will be of most interest to serious students of the period and it will serve them well. As the editor, the renowned medievalist Jacques Le Goff, explains in his introduction, man and men, most importantly, Christian man and men under the authority of the Pope, were the standard for the time. Everyone else -- women, Jews and heretics who strayed from the rule of Rome -- were marginal, suspect and subject to personal or general persecution from time to bloody time. The ways these groups negotiated their situation helped to energize their society, as several essays explain. While the relationship of one calling to another -- of serf to peasant, merchant to lord to biship -- was more or less fixed, society unfolded in dynamic ways. Ambitious men with money could choose the path of knighthood to make a profitable marriage. Merchants formed commercial alliances to share the risks and profits of business and extend their reach beyond their city-state. Widows could take over their husband's shops. Slowly over the centuries, one's station in life gave way to the concept of the individual and one's place yielded to the calling of personality.
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