Great Events from History: The Middle Ages, 477-1453 is the second installment in the ongoing Great Events from History series. Like the rest of the series, the current volumes represent both a revision and a significant expansion of the twelve-volume Great Events from History (1972-1980), incorporating essays from the Chronology of European History: 15,000 B.C. to 1997 (3 vols., 1997), Great Events from History: North American Series, Revised Edition (4 vols., 1997), Great Events from History: Ancient and Medieval Series (3 vols., 1972) and Great Events from History: Modern European Series (3 vols., 1973).
The current two volumes of The Middle Ages, 477-1443 add 199 new essays to the original 123, for a total of 322 events. These essays were commissioned especially for this series and appear here for the first time. In addition, this series features a new page design, expanded and updated bibliographies, internal and external cross-references, a section containing maps of the medieval world, new appendices and indexes, plus excerpts from primary source documents, regional tables, and numerous illustrations throughout.
The date 477 was selected because it follows The Ancient World's end date, 476 (the fall of Rome), and 1453 was selected because it is the year in which several important developments--notably the proliferation of documents issuing from the newly invented printing press, the end of the Hundred Years' War, and the fall of Constantinople--draw a dividing line between the late Middle Ages and the early modern world. Within this period, the events are arranged strictly chronologically, essentially forming a time line without regard to region. Hence, students can trace world history comparatively, with events in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas comingled. To facilitate location of time periods within the publication, right-hand pages contain date-range tabs.
Each essay averages 1,600 words (2-3 pages) in length and follows a standard format. The top matter to every essay prominently displays the most precise available date or date range for the event, followed by the name of the event and the following ready-reference data:
- A summary paragraph, encapsulating the event's significance
- Locale, or where the event occurred
- Categories, or the type of event covered
- Key Figures, a list of the major individuals involved in the event
The text of each essay is divided into standard sections: Summary of Event, Significance, Further Reading (an annotated list of sources), See also (cross-references to other essays within the set), and Related articles, which lists essays of interest in Salem's companion publication, Great Lives from History: The Middle Ages, 477-1453 (2 vols., 2005).
Rounding out the set are eleven maps depicting portions of the medieval world, grouped together in the front of each volume for easy reference. Accompanying the essays are 66 additional sidebars--regional tables, lists, and quotations from primary source documents along with more than 200 illustrations--renderings of artworks, battles, busts, sculptures, coins, paintings, and drawings. Finally, we have included several research aids as appendices: a bibliography, glossary, chronological list of entries, time line, and Web sites devoted to medieval studies.