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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Life Cycle – Birth, Upbringing, Generations, Old Age, Illness, and Death

(5,929 words)

Author(s): Gabriela Signori
Pregnancy and Birth In premodern societies a woman's role is essentially characterized by the possibility of bearing and raising children. Sometimes the possibility also appears as coercion, if infertility is transformed into opprob…
Date: 2016-10-17

Literacy and Orality

(1,619 words)

Author(s): Hagen Keller
Literary production in the Middle Ages has been a subject of historical scholarship for centuries, while "orality" – after initial ventures in the Romantic period – has been for a number of decades. T…
Date: 2016-08-09

Literary Production

(1,008 words)

Author(s): Thomas Haye
Kinds of Production Latin literature can only be arranged text-typologically to a limited extent, according to its various types of production. The monasteries were primarily concerned with saints' lives…
Date: 2016-08-09


(1,312 words)

Author(s): Stephan Müller
There was no "literature" in the modern sense in the Middle Ages. To be sure, several phenomena may be palpable along the way from early times to the modern period that anticipate a modern concept of …
Date: 2016-08-09

Literature: Complete Contents

(54 words)

3. Literature Medieval Literature – Theory and Practice Latin Literature Latin Literary Traditions and Text-Typological Models Latin Literature and its Relationship to the Vernacular Literary Production Deve…
Date: 2016-09-20

Liturgical Attire

(692 words)

Author(s): Anne Müller
The liturgical vestments worn during worship (→liturgy and pastoral care; →Mass) together with the other textile items used in the liturgy are collectively called paraments. They developed their parti…
Date: 2016-08-09

Liturgy and Pastoral Care

(1,171 words)

Author(s): Arnold Angenendt
From the beginning, gatherings for worship proceeded according to specific structures, as in the sequence of the proclaimed word of God and the responding prayer. This pattern underlay the Liturgy of …
Date: 2016-08-09

Living Environments and Conditions

(2,021 words)

Author(s): Ludolf Kuchenbuch | Joseph Morsel
The living environment – the space that surrounds us – has long been treated by historians (including medievalists) as a simple, implied, and unconscious framework for the narrative they sought to con…
Date: 2016-08-09

Living Environments and Conditions: Complete Contents

(113 words)

7. Living Environments and Conditions Climate   Natural Spaces   Social Environments Rural Areas Urban Areas Urban Areas in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages Urban Areas in the High and Late Middle Ages Urban Construction Methods
Date: 2016-09-21