Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages

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Edited by: Gert Melville and Martial Staub.

Brill's Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages Online offers an accessible yet engaging coverage of medieval European history and culture, c. 500-c. 1500, in a series of themed articles, taking an interdisciplinary and comparative approach. Presenting a broad range of topics current in research, the encyclopedia is dedicated to all aspects of medieval life, organized in eight sections: Society; Faith and Knowledge; Literature; Fine Arts and Music; Economy; Technology; Living Environment and Conditions; and Historical Events and Regions. This thematic structure makes the encyclopedia a true reference work for Medieval Studies as a whole. It is accessible and concise enough for quick reference, while also providing a solid grounding in a new topic with a good level of detail, since many of its articles are longer than traditional encyclopedia entries. The encyclopedia is supported by an extensive bibliography, updated with the most recent works and adapted to suit the needs of an Anglophone audience.

Brill's Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages Online is a unique work, and invaluable equally for research and for teaching. Anyone interested in the art, architecture, economy, history, language, law, literature, music, religion, or science of the Middle Ages, will find the encyclopedia an indispensible resource.  

This is an English translation of the second edition (2013) of the well-known German-language Enzyklopädie des Mittelalters, published by Primus Verlag / Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

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Early Polyphony

(670 words)

Author(s): Laurenz Lütteken
The artificial music of the 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries is in principle monophonic. Nonetheless, already in the late 9th century thought was given to the question of having not just one, but two voi…
Date: 2016-08-09

Eastern European Regions

(3,604 words)

Author(s): Frank Kämpfer
Following the migration period, Slavic tribes occupied the eastern peripheries of Europe; the Baltic Slavs settled as far as Holstein, the South Slavs in a westerly direction as far as the Adriatic, a…
Date: 2016-10-18

Ecclesiastical Forms of Organization

(755 words)

Author(s): Bernard Schimmelpfennig
"You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." – "It is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman pontiff." Both quotations – the first from the…
Date: 2016-08-09

Economic Ethics and Economic Theory

(558 words)

Author(s): Jörg Oberste
In the Middle Ages, as in antiquity, the concept of oeconomia was related to the order and administration of the household, and thus to an elementary form of social life. It is indicative that neither a general…
Date: 2016-08-09

Economic Ethics and Economic Theory: Contents

(49 words)

Introduction 1 Economic Ethics – Patristic Foundations 2 The Concept of Usury Prior to Scholasticism 3 The Canonistic Debates of the 12th to 13th Centuries 4 Economic Theories of Scholasticism Thomas Aquinas' Theory of the Just Price
Date: 2016-09-20

Economic Ethics – Patristic Foundations

(984 words)

Author(s): Jörg Oberste
Augustine's sermon on Luke 16:9 ( Sermo 113) constitutes a fundamental text of patristic social and economic ethics. Augustine's commentary portrays the possession and acquisition of earthly goods as a negl…
Date: 2016-10-18

Economic Life

(472 words)

Author(s): Jörg Oberste
Until the advent of industrialization, economic activities were primarily restricted to agrarian production. In addition to decisive turning points such as the emergence and subsequent crisis of manor…
Date: 2016-08-09

Economic Life: Contents

(40 words)

Introduction 1 Agriculture 2 Handicraft 3 Trade Trade in the Regions of Europe Trade Organization and Mercantile Law 4 Transport of Goods 5 Money Supply of Precious Metal Key Currencies Institutions and Instruments of Monetary Policy
Date: 2016-09-20

Economic Theories of Scholasticism

(577 words)

Author(s): Jörg Oberste
In accordance with their systematic character, the summary commentaries of those 13th- and 14th-century theologians in particular who had connections with Paris (→Scholasticism) took up the initiative…
Date: 2016-08-09


(989 words)

Author(s): Jörg Oberste
The theory and practice of economics in the Middle Ages developed on the foundation of and in reaction to understandings owed to classical antiquity. Until the Late Middle Ages, economic doctrine was influenced by the idea of the oikos ("…
Date: 2016-08-09

Economy: Complete Contents

(80 words)

5. Economy Economic Ethics and Economic Theory Economic Ethics – Patristic Foundations The Concept of Usury Prior to Scholasticism The Canonistic Debates of the 12th to 13th Centuries Economic Theories of Scholasticism
Date: 2016-09-20

Educational Institutions

(787 words)

Author(s): Rainer A. Müller
The educational system of medieval Europe was familiar with various forms of the sacred and secular knowledge taught in schools. Differences arose from both diverse programs of teaching and learning a…
Date: 2016-08-09

Educational Institutions: Contents

(20 words)

Introduction 1 Monastic schools 2 Cathedral Schools 3 Municipal Schools 4 Universities 5 Scholarly Circles, Academies
Date: 2016-09-20