Middle Ages Bibliography

1100 to 1450

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

Be sure and catch the Atlas of Civilisation series, in this case the Medieval chapters of The Cultural Atlas of France, The Cultural Atlas of Russia, etc. We always recommend these as among the first books you read.

For books covering only the British Isles, not Europe in general or other places, see the British Isles Middle Ages Bibliography. We have split it off to keep this page under 30KB for those with slow modems, and anyone when the Internet is jammed!

This is a trifle artificial, as the Plantagenets ruled large chunks of what is now France, but you will find most of the background reference on the Plantagenet kings in the other section, not here.

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Amt, Emilie

Women's Lives In Medieval Europe *****!
Routledge, Chapman, and Hall Inc.: New York, 1993.
Accesible, non-technical writing. Covers many aspects of this "man's world." T1

Ayton, Andrew

Knights and Warhorses ****

Goes to unexploited source documents to explore the importance of the horse as a weapon of war and an indicator of status, using horse inventories of the times. T3

Barlett, R. & A. MacKay, editors

Medieval Frontier Societies ****
Oxford University Press
Interesting look at the often all-too exciting life on borders: the Elbe, that between Castile and Grenada, and England's borders with Wales and Scotland, as well as that maintained in Ireland. T2

Binns, L. Elliott

The Decline & Fall of the Medieval Papacy ****
Barnes & Noble, NY
Nicely backs the theory that the Papacy failed for the reason that it built itself on a model of failure -- the Roman Empire. T3

Bogin, Meg

The Women Troubadors ****
W.W Norton and Co., NY, 1980.
Now here's a new area for characters! Unusual insights, as you might imagine. T2

Brooke, Rosalind & Christopher

Popular Religion in the Middle Ages: Western Europe 1000-1300 *****!
Barnes & Noble, NY
Considering you can't move or breath without bumping into Christianity in this time and place, this is an invaluable guide to what people believed (as opposed to what theologians preached) about a religion quite different from modern Roman Catholicism. T2

Buehr, Walter

Warrior's Weapons ***
Crowell, NY, 1963; illustrated by author
Good on basic weaponry and metallurgy, explaining why damascening was more than decorative, and the sprinkling of powdered gemstones over blades being forged was more than conspicuous consumption. Simply, pleasantly written. T2

Bullough, Vern L., & James Brundage, editors

Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church
Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY; 1982; pg. 72-85.
Mistress Gunnora recommends the Scandinavian chapter, so the rest should be useful. T2

Chahin, M.

The Kingdom of Armenia ****
Great historical coverage with some sociological, from the Bronze Age to the end of the Middle Ages. Think of this as some place different to check out for those who have worn western Europe to shreds. T1

Christiansen, E.

The Northern Crusades: The Baltic and the Catholic Frontier 1100-1525 ****
London, 1980
A look at the oft-ignored clash between not only Catholic and pagan Slav, but Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. T2

Cosman, Madeleine Pelner

Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony ***
George Braziller, NY, 1976
Text on Table Manners, Courtly Menues, Banquet Music, The Raw Ingredients, etc., in 224 pg, 100 illos, 100 recipes, and a helpful bibliography. T2

Coulton, G. G.

The Medieval Village ****
Dover NY; 603 pg
Okay, let's come down out of the castle and see how the majority of the people get fed and sheltered, and get along. T1

Dahmus, Joseph

A History of the Middle Ages ***
Barnes & Noble, NY
Extends the temporal boundaries back into what we call Dark Ages, and forward into what we call Renaissance. A good one volume coverage. T1

Seven Medieval Kings ****
Barnes & Noble, NY
Bigger than encyclopedia articles, and how could you write a detail biography (without lots of sociological padding) about people from a time when records are so sparse? Covers quite a range beyond the usual Medieval -- Emperor Justinian, Charlemagne, Harun al-Rashid, and the more expected Henry II, Frederick II, Louis IX, and Louis XI. T2

Delbrueck, Hans

Medieval Warfare; History of the Art of War, volume III ****
University of Nebraska Press, 1990, trans. Walter J. Renfroe, Jr.; orig. 1923; 711 pg, index
Opens with the worth of pieces of warrior's equipment in cows according to Frankish laws, and discusses the development and periodic paralyses of political and military systems of the times. Note that the word "Norman" is used for the Scandinavians even before they are given the lower Seine. An early discrediter of body counts, cool, analytical, clarifying the mysteries of Medieval tactics. Especially interesting for his smashing of two common but inaccurate images: the knight who cannot move, let alone fight, dismounted, and the charge at the gallop. T2

Evans, Joan

Magical Jewels of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance ***
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Let's remember that at this time science and magic, religion and superstition, were still strongly entwined. This will give you another aspect of Medieval thought. T2

ffoulkes, Charles J.

The Armourer & His Craft from the XIth to the XVth Century *****!
Methuen & Company, Ltd., London, 1912; now from Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Excellent! The author appreciates the design of working armour rather than drooling over pretty doodadery, explains design detail, and the work and tools of the armourer. Deals in cuirboilli and jack as well as metallic armour. T3

Franklyn, Julian

Heraldry *****!
A. S. Barnes & Co., NJ, 1968
Easy-reading and graphic, not your usual turgid lap-breaker nor an inaccurate surface pamphlet. Author is a classicist and dislikes Victorian corruptions. Discusses the development of heraldry in this period. Superb first (or only!) book on heraldry. T2

Gardiner, Robert, editor

Cogs, Caravels and Galleons; The Sailing Ship 1000-1650 ****
Conway's History of the Ship; Conway Maritime Press, London; for USA and Canada, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD; 1994; 188 pg, index, bibliography.
Actually a collection of articles written for this volume by a number of experts, it covers as well as it can a period in which information is quite spotty. However, the number of reproduction ships which have sailed should have provided more hard data than this has. T2

Gies, Joseph and Frances

Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel *****!
Highlights the technological advances of the Middle Ages as one of the many signs of its vibrancy. There is a certain quibbling possible, as the Romans used water powered factories and gunpowder may have come from Byzantium or China, but the Gothic cathedral no-one else can claim. T2

Life in a Medieval Castle *****!
Harper and Row, NY, 1974
Centering on the history of one English castle, the authors still range over the whole of Normanized Europe, emphasizing the people over the masonry, and often letting them speak in their own words. T1

Life in a Medieval City

Life in a Medieval Village

Glasier, Phillip

As The Falcon Her Bells ****
Dutton, NY, 1963
Autobiography of a professional falconer, and the other falconers he has known. Excellent for tales of how the birds behave: falcons, hawks, eagles, and why no one flys owls. T2

Hale, William Harlan, and the editors of Horizon Magazine

The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through the Ages ***
American Heritage Publishing, Inc., 1968
Part One has the description of customs and habits, foods available, and some interesting art. Part Two has the tastiest recipes, done for the modern kitchen. Especially hits this period in Part One. T1

Harpur, James

Revelations: The Medieval World ****
Beautifully pictorial with reconstructions on six-page gatefolds and a detailed text. T1

Haskins, Charles Homer

The Normans in European History ****
Barnes & Noble, NY
Treats Normandy as a virtually independent realm, from the arrival of the Viking Rollo to the French conquest of the area in 1204. T2

Heath, Ernest Gerald

The Grey Goose Wing ***
New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, CN, 1971
Excellent history of the bow; last part Anglocentric, with some coverage of the Turks. T2

Hetherington, P.

Byzantine and Medieval Greece ***
Concentrates on art and architecture, especially religious, of the area we now call Greece, under the various rulers until the arrival of the Turks.

Hogg, Ian V.

The History of Fortification ***
St. Martin's Press, NY, 1981
Clear, interesting and accurate overview from 7000 BC through the 1970's, well illustrated with photos and diagrams; bibliography and glossary. T1

Hopkins, Andrea

Knights ***
Shooting Star
Clearly differentiates the historical knight from the knight of romance, but shows how the romantic knight affected the historical one. T2

Hughes, Pennethorne

Witchcraft *****!
Penguin Books, NY, 1965, orig. 1952
Clear, balanced view of Medieval religion, the Other One as well as Christianity. The subject has a lot of revolting aspects, but this version is about as little disgusting as can be managed while still covering the events, unlike the many which dwell morbidly on the tortures. Unfortunately, the author shows his pre-WW1 origins: everything in black Africa is degenerate, all pagan religion derives from Egypt, social Darwinism is assumed, as is the death of paganism. Don't tell it to all the paleo-pagans and neo-pagans we know! T2

Hyland, Ann

The Medieval Warhorse: From Byzantium to the Crusades *****!
Alan Sutton
Excellent! Covers not only the military develoopment of heavy armored horses, but also their care. T2

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The Historical half has special chapters on Medieval English, German, French, and Italian names, besides Basque, Breton, Provencal, Frisian, Frankish, Norse, and others of interest. Cornish and some others will be found in the Contemporary half. Most are pick-lists, a few are build-your-own. If some look a little small, remember that at this period there was a historical tendency to over-use a very small number of acceptable baptismal names, name novelty being despised rather than sought-after. T1

Kohler, Carl

A History of Costume ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Hand-sized, info-packed, based on surviving clothes first and artwork secondarily. Author's line drawings of construction and detail. Neophytes should use with a picture book, which it will greatly clarify. T1

Lecroix, Paul

Manners, Customs and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period *****!
D. Appleton, NY; 1874; "illustrated with 15 chromolithographic prints by F. Kellerhoven and upwards of 400 engravings on wood."
While we wait for Dover to come out with a reprint, this is worth the trouble to order in on ILL. Classic Victorian concepts of the period, which of course need adjustment, but details you won't find elsewhere. T2

Lopez, Robert S.

The Birth of Europe ***
Covers the changes in civilization from the 300's through the 1300's. T1

Lyons, B. D., ed.

The High Middle Ages, 1000-1300 ****
Free Press
These essays accent why the Middle Ages can be considered to start in 1000 -- the revival of trade and cities, the development of the Medieval bourgeoisie, a class too often ignored for knights and peasants. T2

Mackay, Angus, with David Ditchburn

Atlas of Medieval Europe ****
If you're staying in the Middle Ages but need a wide range of travel, this may be better than or a supplement to the Atlas of Civilisation series, which goes down a modern national area from prehistory to the present. This stays temporaly concentrated and gives the political units across the continent, as well as other maps of the likes of resources, land use, trade, invasion, etc. T1

Magnus, Albertus, translated from the German

Being the Approved, Verified, Sympathetic and Natural Egyptian Secrets, etc. ***
paperback, no publishing data, obtained 1971
A typical "cookbook" of magic, alchemy, and chemistry; everything from making yourself invisible and stopping raging housefires with an amulet to a good grease to waterproof your boots and a fake gilding. Half the spells are to cure erysipelas, which must have been rife. One "spell" we found actually works: milk and black pepper to kill flies and gnats. T3

Majno, Guido, MD

The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World *****!
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1975
Heavy research and testing, too, to see how well period practices actually worked. Fascinating reading. Among others, covers classic medicine of Rome's Galen, and the Medieval practices often based on it. T1

Mott, George Fox, and Harold M. Dee

An Outline History of the Middle Ages ***
Barnes and Noble, 1950, orig. 1933; 272 pg, index, supplemental references (good books to check)
Just to get you chronologically grounded, between 395 and 1564. Covers social as well as political and religious change. The basic chronology of the Middle Ages hasn't changed in this century; what's different about modern books is the anthropological and sociological interpretation of events. A bare-bones chronology like this can hardly go out of date. T1

National Geographic Society

The Age of Chivalry X
1969; 376 pg, index
The section on Franks in the 800's illustrates their way of life with paintings from centuries later, when earlier manuscript miniatures are out there. Does this give you a hint on quality? Use only when you know so much it can't foul you up. Does contain the entire Bayeux Tapestry. T3, if at all.

Nash, E. Gee

The Hansa ****
Barnes & Noble
You can't go into the Baltic from the 1100's through the 1400's without dealing with the Hanseatic League, which like most Baltic history is given short shrift by historians stuck on the English-French-Italian axis of ideas. Fills a definite gap. T2

Nicolle, David

The Medieval World: Civilization from 1000 to 1500 ****
A good cultural introduction (only about 200 pgs) to life in city and country as well as castle, to artists, doctors, and peasants as well as knights and clergy. T1

Norman, A. V. B.

The Medieval Soldier ***
Barnes & Noble, NY
Follows the development of the personnel in the Medieval army from Charlemagne in the Dark Ages, on forward through the Crusades. Its value depends on your level of study of military history. It seems less sterling after reading Delbrueck. T2

Ohler, Norbert

The Medieval Traveller *****!
Excellent study of travel means and conditions, who travels and why, and what snags may be met upon the road. T1

Osprey Books

The worst book from Osprey rates three stars, and many are five stars. They are not easily come by, unless you buy them, at $9-13 apiece. If your library has them, you are very lucky! T2
In the Men-At-Arms Series:

Peic, Sava

Medieval Serbian Culture ****
Gives as much on art and culture as on history, 800's to 1400's, none of which are easy to find in most books. Most general history books limit their coverage of the Middle Ages to England, France, Germany, Italy, and the Crusades, with occasional notes of the existence of Iberia and Scandinavia, so this is very welcome. Setting your knights in armor tale here would give it a peculiarly contemporary spin, considering the area's modern headline-grabbing. T1

Plaidy, Jean, aka Victoria Holt

The Spanish Inquisition ****
Most people think of this as a Renaissance thing, but the Spanish Inquisition was founded in 1232, so you should consider it if your story goes to Iberia. T2

Rashdall, Hastings

The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages ****
Oxford University Press
Unless your story centers around university life, you do not need to know this much about them: 1500 pages in three volumes, covering academic institutions in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. If that's what you're writing about, get your own copy now! Incredible detail. T3

Ratcliffe, Derek A.

The Peregrine Falcon YY
Buteo Books, Vermillion, SD, 1980; illus. by Donald Watson
Mostly ornithological information with a little falconry and history of books on falconry, but valuable on how and where and when birds can be found, since they were not bred in captivity. T2

Rice, David Talbot

Islamic Art ***
Let's not forget who controls most of Spain, not to mention Sicily and occasional spots in Italy and southern France. See what's arriving on the ships from Outre-Mer. T3

Richards, Jeffrey

Sex, Dissidence & Damnation: Minority Groups in the Middle Ages *****!
Barnes & Noble, NY
Everyday life for people likely to be whipped, branded, or burnt alive whenever the local authorities ceased to be lethargic: gays, anyone not Roman Catholic, those forced into economic shadows, like prostitutes, and the hapless lepers. The ugly side of society. T2

Rodgers, William Ledyard

Naval Warfare Under Oars, 4th to 16th Centuries; a Study of Strategy, Tactics and Ship Design ***
Naval Institute Press, 1990 (1940); 358 pg, index
A classic back in print. In this period rigging is so primitive that oars are necessary for any but the crudest maneuvering. Especially useful if you are covering your Crusaders crossing the Mediterranean. T2

Rosenthal, Joel T.

Medieval Women and the Sources of Medieval History
Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press. 1990

Ross, James Bruce, and Mary Martin McLaughlin, editors

The Portable Medieval Reader *****!
The Viking Press, 1949, still in print; 698 pg
Writings culled from the period on an illuminating variety of topics. Excellent first book to read. T1

Rossiaud, Jacques

Medieval Prostitution ****
Barnes & Noble, NY; 213 pg
A study of whores, pimps, brothel keepers, and what was considered their contribution to the stability and safety of society. T2

Saalman, Howard

Medieval Cities ***
George Braziller, 1968
Illustrated with original city plans (usually Renaissance), gives reasons why the city of the Middle Ages grows the way it does. T3

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era *****!
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
Wonderfully informative in this period, provided you ferret the ladies out of alphabetical order. Almost all are from the upper classes, where the male warriors were clustered, too. Women were nowhere near as frail and subdued as Victorian Romanticism has painted them for us! T2

Seward, Desmond

The Monks of War ****
Penguin Books, NY
Basics on the major military orders -- the Templar, Hospitallers, and the Teutonic Knights -- from their formation before the first Crusade through their present remnants. T2

Silver, Caroline

Guide to the Horses of the World ***
Chartwell Books, 1990, orig. 1975; 223 pg, index
Good historical notes should guide you to avoiding most of the breeds in here as too modern, and constructing your few Medieval breeds. Nags rule! T2

Slisbury, Joyce E., ed

Sex in the Middle Ages
New York: Garland. 1991

Stierlin, Henri, ed.

Architecture of the World: Gothic *****!
Taschen, 192 pg
More than the fast, one-page summary in encyclopedias and histories of art and architecture, but not so heavy that you get lost in details of structural engineering. T1

Summers, Rev. Montague, trans

The Malleus Maleficarum of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Here it is, the Hammer of the Witches, in translation by a modern day believer in the Powers of Evil. Start your witch-hunting here. T3

Toy, Sidney

Castles: Their Construction and History *****!
Dover Publications, NY
Covers several centuries and countries, with good plans. T1

Viollet-le-Duc, Emmanuel

Mobilier de Francais dans le Moyen Age *****!
IF you can read French and can get hold of this 19th C., multi-volume encyclopedia of costume, armour, jewelry, furniture, etc., you will be glad you did. Includes such sterling illos as how pavilions (tents) were constructed, the parts and dressing of hair to support a hennin, etc. Wish Dover would publish a translated version! T3

Wheeler, Bonnie and John C. Parson, ed.

Medieval Mothering
Feminea Medevalia 3. New York: Garland. 1995
Part of a scholarly series on female roles in the Middle Ages. Includes periphery cultures like Scandinavia. T2

Ziegler, Philip

The Black Death ****
Alan Sutton
Excellent detail history of this event which during the decades it rampaged, transformed the European mind. Estimates of percent of population killed will leave you aghast! T2


Collegium Musicum Aldovadensis

Musik der Gotik, Renaissance Und Des Fruehbarock (Music of the Gothic Period, Renaissance and Early Baroque) ***

Golden Classics 176 022-2; 1992; CD
Packed with a CD of Monteverdi madrigals, there is little or no information, least of all dates, but it's fine background music when you are familiar enough to sort them out by ear. Unusual piece featuring the dudelsack.


Paris 1200
CD or Cassette
Six male voices doing plainchant beautifully. Very relaxing without being as overwhelming as a full choir.

Martin Best Medieval Ensemble

The Dante Troubadours ****

CD or cassette
12th C. (1100's) Provencal troubadour songs, for some reason intercut with 14th C. (1300's) Italian dances, so you have two very different periods represented. Recommend the CD, so you can program the century YOU want.

The Newberry Consort

Il Solazzo: Music for a Medieval Banquet ***

Specifically an Italian banquet

Wanderers' Voices: Medieval Cantigas & Minnesang ****

Now you can hear what the Minnesangers were singing!

Qualche Voce

Medieval and Renaissance: Musical Gems for Advent ***

CD or Cassette
Again, better to get the CD and cut out the later stuff. Most surviving music is, after all, religious, and for many this was the only alternative to someone on a homemade recorder accompanying someone who remembered most of a song.

Les Tres Riches Heures du Moyen Age: A Medieval Journey *****!

CD set
Six CD's and a 119-pg booklet takes you from the earliest known Christian chants out of Byzantium 1400 years ago to the dawn of the Renaissance. Expensive, but many will consider it worthwhile. T3


Archery, Its History and Its Forms *****!

VHS, 72 min.
For the many of you who don't hang longbows and recurve stave bows on your walls, this look at period archery in action covers the English longbowman, Turkish archery, and mounted archers as well, all in costume. By the folks who do "The Blow by Blow Guide to Swordfighting" (Renaissance fencing). Very valuable if you also read Hardy or Heath.

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The Alchemy Web Site and Virtual Library ****


"70 megabytes of information on alchemy in all its facets. Divided into over 1300 sections and providing thousands of pages of text, over 1700 images, over 200 complete alchemical texts, extensive bibliographical material on the printed books and manuscripts, numerous articles, introductory and general reference material. There is also a searchable graphics database with 800 images, and a database of alchemy books with 4600 entries and 5 megs of text. It was first launched on 7th May 1995 and new pages are continually being added. There are about 400 people accessing this site each day."

The Book of Quintessence ****


The full text and translation of "The Book of Quintessence" a mid-1400s alchemical text. Bryan has a warning/disclaimer against "dabbling around in chemistry" without training in safe handling practices and hazardous substances, in which this text abounds! As he points out, like many would-be alchemists, you, too, could wind up "hurt, crazy, or dead" from actually performing any of the operations described.


Diotima: Women & Gender in the Ancient World *****!


Lucky for you, a few essays on Medieval sexuality and women's roles snuck in here. Stop by and read them.


H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***


A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area , by era (ancient, Medieval<yours>, early Modern, Modern, and 20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.


Internet Medieval Sourcebook *****!


Halsall is collecting texts in translation, and also providing links to other sites like Berkeley, so as not to duplicate effort. This huge initial page links internally and externally to a list of period works, from the late Byzantine-early Christian age to the early Renaissance. Wonderful source, attractive without glitz, many matrices of approach (eg, by a topic like women's roles or by a period).

The Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies ***
Sponsored by Georgetown University

A number of links here are now dead ends.

The new address, on the other hand, is "not complete" -- is any site?

NetSERF: the Internet Connection for Medieval Resources ****

Over 1400 links to solid sites. With buttheads like Alta Vista now charging for placement and soon to be carried at all, central linksites will become vital again for those of us doing non-commercial work on the Web. Includes texts and a Medieval Glossary that may give you ideas.

Online Medieval & Classical Library ****


Exceedingly large index page takes a long time to load, so you can guess how many entries it has! This is one of those online libraries, with texts in translation, not just a linksite.

Official and Original Project Gutenberg Web Site and HomePage ****

Fine Literature Digitally Republished

Since 1971 putting classic books into electronic form. All free, just hope they have what you're looking for.

To Essay on Life for the Upper Classes

To Essay on Medieval Music

To British Isles Middle Ages Bibliography

To the Crusades and Mediterranean Bibliography

To the Medieval Scandinavia and Iceland Bibliography

To the Medieval Sources

To Central Eurasian Bibliography

To Bibliography of Middle-Tech Skills

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