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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Taverns, Bathhouses, Brothels

(1,370 words)

Author(s): Gerd Schwerhoff
Whatever guests in Italy wanted, comments the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg for the year 1014, they had to pay for. Geographically, chronologically, and above all typologically, this observation marks a watershed between traditional hospitality and the new forms of commercial hospitality. In the Early Middle Ages, traditional hospitality was dominant, in the sense of a close relationship of protection and faithfulness binding hosts and guests, a legal obligation to accommodate strangers with food and a place for the night. Already, however, rulers' decrees were limiting the obligations of hospitality during this period. For some time, the rule for normal travelers (not high ecclesiastical and secular dignitaries) was unpaid accommodation without food, which travelers had to bring with them or buy at market prices. With the gradual increase in mobility during the 11th/12th centuries, comprised largely of pilgrims and merchants engaged in foreign trade, ear…
Date: 2016-08-09


(3,505 words)

Author(s): Thomas Hänseroth
The periodization required to structure some thousand years of the history of technology means that we have to accept a somewhat fluid definition of the beginning and particularly the end of the M…
Date: 2016-08-09

Technology: Complete Contents

(105 words)

6. Technology Theory – artes mechanicae and scientia naturalis Artes mechanicae New Frontiers: Scientia naturalis and the Scientific Agenda of the Artist-Engineers in the Renaissance Applied Technology World Orde…
Date: 2016-09-20

Territorial Lordship

(2,852 words)

Author(s): Werner Rösener
From the 13th century onward, territorial lordship noticeably achieved growing prominence, defining the constitutional structure of Germany in the following centuries. The German territories witnessed…
Date: 2016-08-09