Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages

Get access Subject: History

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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Faith and Knowledge

(3,085 words)

Author(s): Ernst-Dieter Hehl
Christianity was Europe's dominant high religion in the Middle Ages. The Muslims were increasingly driven back from the southern peripheries, where they had established culturally impressive political…
Date: 2016-10-18

Faith and Knowledge: Complete Contents

(150 words)

2. Faith and Knowledge Religion The Indigenous Religions of Medieval Europe Christianity The Christianization of Latin Europe The Christian Conception of God and of the Human Being Christian Discipleship The Bible
Date: 2016-09-20


(1,312 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
As a subject of cultural research, kinship is (1) a conceptual classification system for defining social relationships, which draws its terminology from the semantic field of biological reproduction, …
Date: 2016-10-17


(1,222 words)

Author(s): Gerd Schwerhoff
The church calendar was fundamental to the structure of the annual cycle of medieval festivals (→liturgy and pastoral care). The dates of many major Christian festivals were of pagan origin. Celebrati…
Date: 2016-08-09


(547 words)

Author(s): Hans-Henning Kortüm
The concept of the feud has contributed quite decisively to a more benign and innocuous image of medieval warfare, in part because the overwhelming majority of (German) scholars have treated it on the…
Date: 2016-08-09


(2,144 words)

Author(s): Werner Rösener
Feudalism in the legal sense implies the relationship between the feudal lord (or liege) and his vassal as defined by feudal law: the vassal owes his lord obedience and various services (especially mi…
Date: 2016-08-09

Feudal Laws

(1,750 words)

Author(s): Herbert Kalb
Although it took various legal forms, feudalism or Lehnswesen was the predominant element of "state structure" in almost the whole of Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages (→feudalism). It embraced not …
Date: 2016-08-09