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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(392 words)

Author(s): Thomas Haye
Reception in the Middle Ages Even within its own era, Middle Latin literature was not perceived as continuity. Due to its very limited transmission, Carolingian literature, especially poetry, was already h…
Date: 2016-08-09

Regalia and Regalian Rights

(1,437 words)

Author(s): Herbert Kalb
Legal historians describe regalia as the embodiment of sovereign rights and prerogatives. The main turning point in the development of the concept of regalia came with the differentiation between the …
Date: 2016-10-18

Regalia, Insignia of Office, Tokens of Social Status

(1,479 words)

Author(s): Anne Müller
In the Middle Ages, claims to power, the authority of office, and social status were conveyed through a broad spectrum of symbolic representational forms, encompassing tangible tokens and symbolic obj…
Date: 2016-08-09

Regional Civil Codes

(2,524 words)

Author(s): Herbert Kalb
Regional civil codes ( Landrechte) comprise in the broadest sense a further developed form of tribal law, discussed by legal historians in terms of constitutional processes associated with the development…
Date: 2016-10-18

Regional Confederations

(1,862 words)

Author(s): Martial Staub
Confederations of Cities There is evidence of confederations of cities in Italy going back to the early 12th century; in the 17th century, the diet of the Hanseatic League was still meeting in Lübeck. Al…
Date: 2016-08-09


(660 words)

Author(s): Martin Kintzinger
In the historical disciplines it is now generally accepted that geopolitical boundaries are able to inform our understanding of historical reality in medieval Europe and the self-perception of medieva…
Date: 2016-08-09


(1,673 words)

Author(s): Arnold Angenendt
Religion is the acknowledgment of powers that exceed what is humanly possible, and which are thus "transcendent" powers. Thanks to their superior power, the transcendent powers have given life to ever…
Date: 2016-10-18

Religion: Contents

(65 words)

Introduction 1 The Indigenous Religions of Medieval Europe 2 Christianity The Christianization of Latin Europe The Christian Conception of God and of the Human Being Christian Discipleship The Bible Holiness and Sainthood Mary …
Date: 2016-09-20

Religious Life – Monasteries and Religious Orders

(9,213 words)

Author(s): Gert Melville
The Church Father Saint Ambrose (d. 397) was one of the first to refer to a central dichotomy among Christians: those who followed only the evangelical precepts ( praecepta) – that is, the laity and clergy – and those who vowed…
Date: 2016-10-17

Religious Orders' Law

(4,933 words)

Author(s): Lars Arne Dannenberg
The desire was to "of one heart and soul" "cor unum et anima una" (Acts 4:32), just as was said of the early Church in the Bible. What distinguished the religious orders from the rest of the Church wa…
Date: 2016-10-18

Renaissance and Renaissances

(765 words)

Author(s): Eberhard König
Antiquity was present to medieval artists through surviving buildings and literary reports. Returns to antiquity were concentrated in specific periods: the raids of Charlemagne, who brought spolia from Ravenna to Aachen, were …
Date: 2016-08-09

Reputation and Dishonor

(2,804 words)

Author(s): Francesco Migliorino
Reputation ( fama) and dishonor ( infamia) were key issues in medieval society. In the esteem that an individual enjoyed, or conversely in the conduct of life that drew reproach, lay a continuum of human ac…
Date: 2016-08-09