Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages

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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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Games and Entertainment

(454 words)

Author(s): Jörg Sonntag
If we turn our analytic attention to the medieval spil, its terminology is revealed as a semantic prism with extremely diverse connections, of which today's German Spiel (play, game) denotes, at best, a peripheral aspect. The …
Date: 2016-08-09

Gentile Systems

(3,967 words)

Author(s): Walter Pohl
The term "gentile" comes from the Latin word gens, the "tribe," "people," but it can also mean "clan," "dynasty," emphasizing the element of shared descent (→kinship systems). In medieval research "gentile" (…
Date: 2016-08-09

Germanic Languages

(856 words)

Author(s): Ursula Schaeffer
Geographically, the Germanic-speaking language area in the Middle Ages roughly coincided with the present-day extent of Germanic languages in Europe. These languages shared common features, three of w…
Date: 2016-08-09

German Law

(1,986 words)

Author(s): Herbert Kalb
Tacitus' Germania was enthusiastically received in Germany when it was printed in the second half of the 15th century. The Germans of the Reformation age thought to recognize themselves in the Germanic…
Date: 2016-10-18

German Literature

(3,762 words)

Author(s): Jens Haustein
The Beginnings – Old High German Literature (8th century-c. 1050) The earliest German literature in the second half of the 8th century was created in the service of Christianization and the appropriation of kno…
Date: 2016-08-09