Bibliography B: Background studies


DAWSON, Christopher : Medieval Religion and other essays (New York 1934).

The relationship of the Western church to medieval politics and culture.

SOUTHERN, R.W.: The Making of the Middle Ages (2nd edition) (London 1967).

It sets out to describe the formation of Western Europe between 972 and 1204, but it is in fact largely a brilliant survey of the 11th century, thoughtful in its broad comments, and detailed in its particular examples (with a critical bibliography).

CONSTABLE, Giles : Renewal and Reform in Religious Life;

IN : BENSON, R.L. & CONSTABLE, G.: Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century (Oxford 1982) pp.37-67.

This pays particular attention to the renewal of monastic life, but also considers a more general desire, at the time, to live in a more apostolic manner.

LECLERCQ, Jean : The Renewal of Theology;

IN : BENSON & CONSTABLE : Renaissance and Renewal (see above) pp.68-87.

This looks at the relationship between different schools of thought, and at what is meant by a ‘school’ in the 12th century.

BOLTON Brenda : The Medieval Reformation ( London 1983).

How the desire to lead a more Christ-like life affected lay, clerical and monastic Christians and led some to be called saints and others to be called heretics.

BYNUM, Caroline Walker : Jesus as Mother: studies in the spirituality of the High Middle Ages (Berkeley 1984).

This is a collection of her articles, amended or expanded, – which are always measured, thoughtful and interesting, – on regular canons, Cistercians getting in touch with their feminine side, the nuns of Helfta et al.

MOORE, R.I.: The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250 (Oxford 1987).

This history of dissent is the sad but important study of a society ruled by fear.

LYNCH, Joseph H.: The Medieval Church: a Brief History (Harlow, Essex 1992).

A very useful general history from the 5th-14th centuries, + glossary & bibliog.

CONSTABLE, Giles : The Reformation of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge 1996) (these were the Trevelyan lectures of 1985).

He looks at ‘reformatio’ in all the forms of the enclosed life (with bibliography).


LUCHAIRE, Achille : Innocent III (Paris 1905-8): 6 vols.; reprinted in 3 vols. (Farnborough, Hants 1969).

A huge undertaking, devoid of references (with a long bibliography).

BINNS, L.Elliott : Innocent III (London 1931).

A concise biography.

BOLTON, B.: Tradition and Temerity: Papal Attitudes to Deviants, 1159-1216;

IN : BAKER, Derek (ed.): Schism, Heresy and Religious Protest (Studies in Church History no.9) (Cambridge 1972) pp.65-77.

She sees the 4th Lateran Council as a victory for the forces of tradition and repression after half a century of experiment.

MATTHEW, Donald : The Norman Kingdom of Sicily (Cambridge 1992).

It is dense with information on the political, economic and social history of Southern Italy, 1130-1266 (but without references); it does have maps and a bibliog.

SAYERS, Jane: Innocent III, Leader of Europe 1198-1216 (Harlow, Essex 1994).

She concentrates on his Roman background and his political and legal roles.

ABULAFIA, D. (ed.): Italy in the Central Middle Ages, 1000-1300 (Oxford 2004).

David Abulafia’s introduction makes a good short history of Italy in the Middle Ages.  The book has a bibliography, a glossary of Italian historical terms, a chronology and maps.

TAKAYAMA, Hiroshi : Law and monarchy in the south;

IN : ABULAFIA D. (ed.): Italy in the Central Middle Ages (see above) pp.58-81.

A clear and concise history of Southern Italy and Sicily.

BOLTON, Brenda : Papal Italy;

IN : ABULAFIA D. (ed.): Italy in the Central Middle Ages (see above) pp.82-103.

How the popes augmented and governed the Patrimony.

ABULAFIA, David : The Italian other: Greeks, Muslims and Jews;

IN : ABULAFIA,D. (ed.): Italy in the Central Middle Ages (see above) pp.215-236.

Interesting information on these communities.



DUBY, Georges : (tr. GOLDHAMMER A.): The Three Orders: Feudal Society Imagined (Chicago 1980);  

DUBY, Georges : (tr. BRAY, Barbara): The Knight, the Lady and the Priest: the making of modern marriage in medieval France (London 1984);

DUBY, Georges : (tr. VALE, Juliet): France in the Middle Ages, 987-1460: From Hugh Capet to Joan of Arc (Oxford 1991).

Always well written and interesting; particularly good at social history.

DUBY, Georges (tr. BIRREL, Jean): Women of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge 1997-1998) 3 vols.

Vol.1 deals with the famous (e.g. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Héloïse), and with literary creations (e.g. Yseult and Fenice), vol.2 with the celebration of female virtues, and vol.3 with the Church’s attitude to the daughters of Eve.

KOZIOL, Geoffrey : Political culture;

IN : BULL, Marcus (ed.): France in the Central Middle Ages, 900-1200 (Oxford 2002) pp.43-76.

He paints a picture of a balance of terror between magnates, and shows how, with the costly technological advances in castle building, power came to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

BOUCHARD, Constance : Rural economy and society;

IN : BULL, M. (ed.): France in the Central Middle Ages (see above) pp.77-101.

The economic changes that followed technological advances in agriculture.

PATERSON, Linda : The South;

IN : BULL, M. (ed.): France in the Central Middle Ages (see above) pp.102-133.

She finds many examples of a different orientation in the South.

BULL, Marcus : The Church;

IN : BULL, M. (ed.): France in the Central Middle Ages (see above) pp.134-166.

Its organisation, monastic innovations, success in higher education etc.



PETIT-DUTAILLIS, Charles : Étude sur la vie et le règne de Louis VIII (1187-1226) (Bibliothèque de l’école des hautes études: sciences philologiques et historiques no.101) (Paris 1894).

There are 11 chapters on his early life, 5 on his reign, and 8 on the details of his administration (with bibliography, texts etc).

LUCHAIRE, Achille, ed. HALPHEN, Louis (tr. KREHBIEL, E.B.) : Social France at the time of Philip Augustus (London 1912).

This material was edited from work left unfinished at Luchaire’s death.

BAUTIER, R.H. (éd.): La France de Philippe-Auguste: le temps des mutations: Actes du Colloque international organisé par le C.N.R.S. 1980 (Paris 1982).

This 800th anniversary celebration covered many aspects of his reign.

BROWN, Elizabeth A.R.: La notion de la légitimité et la prophétie à la cour de Philippe-Auguste;

IN : BAUTIER, R.H. (éd.): La France de Philippe-Auguste (see above) pp.77-111.

How the King’s position was perceived at different times during his reign.

CHÂTILLON, Jean : Le mouvement théologique dans la France de Philippe-Auguste;

IN : BAUTIER, R.H. (éd.): La France de Philippe-Auguste (see above) pp.881-904.

He does not really find this period of great importance to theology.

MANSELLI, Raoul : Spiritualité et hétérodoxie en France au temps de Philippe-Auguste;

IN : BAUTIER, R.H. (éd.): La France de Philippe-Auguste (see above) pp.905-926.

He concentrates on Waldensians and Cathars in the South.

SIVÉRY, Gérard : Philippe-Auguste (Paris 1993, 2e éd. 2003).

This biography deals with his sad relationship with his wives, his cautious and wily treatment of his great nobles, his fear of all neighbouring powers, his ambiguous relationship with the Church, and his trust in his administrators, deliberately picked from the lesser nobility and the Church (with bibliography, genealogies and maps).

SIVÉRY, Gérard : Louis VIII le lion (Paris 1995).

Finding out as much as he can about the life and the reign, he tries to bring a largely unknown figure out from the shadows (with bibliography, genealogy etc.).

BRADBURY, J. : Philip Augustus King of France 1180-1223 (London 1998).

The author sets out to understand why Philippe II was so successful.


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