One hundred years ago, common belief held that science began with the Renaissance. Researchers have discovered, however, that navigation, architecture, medicine, and astronomy and other fields were all essential to life in the Middle Ages and were also viable fields of scholarly endeavor. Many of these areas developed independently in isolated parts of the world. Sharing of information came with increased trade.
This volume is the eleventh in the Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages series (formerly known as Garland Encyclopedias) and follows in the tradition of focusing on one geographical area or theme. It uses six broad categories to define its coverage: "Apparatus, Equipment, Implements, Techniques"; "Biography"; "Disciplines"; "Geographical Places"; "Institutions"; and "Scientific Genres." At the beginning of the volume, there is an alphabetical list of entries as well as a listing arranged by the six themes. The biographical articles that comprise the largest category reflect a scope that encompasses Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa and includes religious and political as well as scientific individuals. Some examples are Peter Abelard, Roger Bacon, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Maimonides, and William of Ockham.
Overall, this is a well-crafted reference source. The articles themselves are clearly written, signed, and well documented with bibliographies. The black-and-white illustrations are appropriate and enhance the text. Compared to Scribner's Dictionary of the Middle Ages (DMA) (1982-1989), specific articles are less complex in Routledge and have a more straightforward style. As an example, while the DMA has one 18-page article on mathematics, the Routledge has articles on Algebra and Arithmetic, each no longer than two pages. Although the DMA will likely be considered the benchmark, Routledge is clearly geared toward a somewhat less--scholarly audience whose goals require shorter answers. In addition, it offers a more global view of the period. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. Danise Hoover
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"An easy-to-use starting point for research in the area... The topics included are well-chosen... It will serve well in college and public libraries." – Library Journal
"This Encyclopedia will be an invaluable aid to scholarly researchers, authors of historical fiction, and historical re-enactors. Coverage of "everyday," non-scientific technologies such as fishing, pottery, and transportation is a particular strength. No comparable encyclopedia exists. Highly recommended." – Choice