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Medieval Studies – Resources

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Introduction to Medieval History

In the study of European history, one of the most exhilarating periods is undeniably set from the 5th to the 15th-century otherwise known as the middle ages. This period began immediately after the fall of the mighty Roman empire paving way for the Renaissance and what we now know as medieval Europe. Medieval history and the study of it gives us an opportunity to understand how Europe came to be what it is now. Mostly known for the Magna Carta, black death and countless wars between kingdoms. Medieval ages provide a very diverse and complex history field that can be divided into three sub-periods. There is the early medieval period from the 5th century to the 8th century followed by the high medieval period and

finally the late medieval age.


The Launch of Medieval Studies and Centres

Medieval history studies which are now regarded as medieval studies have given rise to a very important field of study that has seen so many centers for medieval studies open in the 19th century. The Institute of Mediaeval Studies at St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto was the first center for medieval studies opened in 1929 and was soon followed by other centers like the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame in 1946. The centers established a program of Medieval study by the use of miscellany volumes and past poem and manuscript writings written in the middle ages. This form of study otherwise known as Codicology and paleography provides impeccable insight into Medieval studies and medieval

history since the scholars are able to analyze historical documents and manuscripts to better understand European history. The miscellany volumes from the medieval period consist of religious texts, English laws, liturgical texts, creative poems and records of events and occasions.


Reasons to undertake Medieval Studies

Other than being a very interesting field of study many medievalists argue that the study of history especially medieval history gives scholars a chance of alterity. Alterity is the opportunity for exploration of the different ways in which different people (in the past) viewed and understood their lives and the world they lived in. It provides a gateway with which we can escape the modern world and travel into the past.


Going into medieval history teaches you to think outside the box. The simple meaning of this sentence is that unlike most history units with set parameters and sources in medieval studies the sources are not always apparent and you may have to ingeniously come up with new research methods to access them. The vital thing, however, is that the difficult-to-find original sources are so rich with information and are also equally fascinating to study.

You cannot limit yourself to secondary sources only in Medieval studies because that’s not the proper way of study of medieval history. Instead, dive into the original texts and manuscript sources, and enjoy analyzing writings done in another age.

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