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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Underground Mining and Hydraulic Engineering

(931 words)

Author(s): Thomas Hänseroth
Generally speaking, European societies assigned a lower priority to underground mining and hydraulic engineering than to building churches, major secular buildings, and fortresses. We nevertheless hav…
Date: 2016-08-09

Universal Powers

(842 words)

Author(s): Karl Ubl
The first centuries of the Middle Ages were an age of particularism. Following the deposition of the last Western Roman emperor in 476, kingdoms ruled by Germanic elites began to form. The structure o…
Date: 2016-08-09


(1,963 words)

Author(s): Rainer A. Müller
Universities, a "social invention" of Scholasticism (→Scholasticism), first appeared in the 12th century. There are various hypotheses as to how they originated, which can basically be placed under th…
Date: 2016-10-18