Chapter 6: Economic Takeoff and Social Change, c. 1000-1300


Chivalry Toolbox

Medieval Coins

Medieval Castles and here and here

Medieval English Towns

Wharram Percy (excavations of a medieval village)

De Re Militari: Medieval Military History


TEST YOURSELF: Have you read Chapter 6 adequately? Test yourself here.


MAPS: Want to download a map from chapter 6?  Click here.


TIMELINES: Want to download a timeline from chapter 6?  Click here.


CITATIONS: Want to find the source of a quote used in chapter 6? Click here.



Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950–1350 (1993). A path-breaking analysis of territorial expansion and the evolution of medieval civilization.

Guy Bois, The Transformation of the Year One Thousand: The Village of Lournand from Antiquity to Feudalism (1992). Translated from the French, this study argues for a rapid transformation of the European economy and society.

Constance Brittain Bouchard, Strong of Body, Brave and Noble: Chivalry and Society in Medieval France (1998). An outstanding new synthesis. See also Theodore Evergates, ed., Aristocratic Women in Medieval France (1999) and The Aristocracy of the County of Champagne (2008); C. Stephen Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness: Civilizing Trends and the Formation of Courtly Ideals (1985); and Richard W. Kaeuper, Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe (1999).

Robert Chazan, Reassessing Jewish Life in Medieval Europe (2010). A valuable summation of both history and historiography. See also Mark R. Cohen's award-winning Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (1994), and Kenneth R. Stow, Alienated Minority: The Jews of Medieval Latin Europe (1992).

Marcia L. Colish, Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 400–1400 (1997). An extraordinarily skilled synthesis.

Philippe Contamine, War in the Middle Ages (1984). A political, institutional, and intellectual history that covers especially the period 900–1500.

Theodore Evergates, The Aristocracy in the County of Champange, 1100-1300 (2007). See also Amy Livingstone, Out of Love of my Kin: Aristocratic FAmily Life in the Lands of the Loire, 1000-1200 (2010). Both challenge the standard "Duby" interpretation.

Robert Fossier, ed., The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages, vol. 2: 950–1250, trans. Janet Sondheimer (1989). See also volumes 4 and 5 of David Abulafia et al., eds., The New Cambridge Medieval History. For textbooks, see especially: Christopher Brooke, Europe in the Central Middle Ages, 962–1154 (3rd edition, 2000); John H. Mundy, Europe in the High Middle Ages, 1150–1309 (3rd edition, 2000); and Malcolm Barber, The Two Cities: Medieval Europe, 1050–1320 (1992).

Hans-Werner Goetz, Life in the Middle Ages: From the Seventh to the Thirteenth Century (1993). A very readable study of medieval life, from peasants to nobles.

Jacques Le Goff, ed., Medieval Callings (1990). Translated from a French edition of 1987, this collection considers medieval people in various walks of life.

Penny Schine Gold, The Lady and the Virgin: Image, Attitude, and Experience in Twelfth-Century France (1985). An interesting synthesis of literary, artistic, and historical evidence.

R. I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950–1250 (1987, revised edition in 2007). A somber reappraisal of the Central Middle Ages. See also his The First European Revolution, ca. 970–1215 (2000).

Alexander Murray, Reason and Society in the Middle Ages (1978). Argues for a shift in mental outlook that brought into power men skilled at reasoning and accounting.

Thomas F.X. Noble and John Van Engen, eds., European Transformation: The Long Twelfth Century (2012). Eighteen excellent essays that survey the subject, from peasants to popes.

David Nicholas, The Growth of the Medieval City: from Late Antiquity to the Early Fourteenth Century (1997). See also Edward Miller and John Hatcher, Medieval England: Towns, Commerce and Crafts, 1086–1348 (1995).

N. J. G. Pounds, An Economic History of Medieval Europe (2nd edition, 1991). Still an excellent account, written for students.

Susan Reynolds, Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe, 900–1300 (2nd edition, 1997). A perceptive work stressing the horizontal bonds of lay society.

Werner Rösener, Peasants in the Middle Ages (1992). An excellent account, translated from German. See also Leopold Genicot, Rural Communities in the Medieval World (1990); Edward Miller and John Hatcher, Medieval England: Rural Society and Economic Change, 1086–1348 (1978); and Robert Fossier, Peasant Life in the Medieval West (1988).



Georges Duby, Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West (1968, reprinted 1998). Translated from French, this is an excellent introduction to the medieval rural life; it also contains more than 200 pages of primary sources.

Maryanne Kowaleski, ed., Medieval Towns and Town Life: A Reader (2005). A new collection that treats social as well as economic history.

Robert S. Lopez and Irving W. Raymond, Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World: Illustrative Documents (2001). A classic, now available with an updated bibliography.


These listings are works-in-progress.  They are highly selective and aimed at the practical needs of students and teachers.  If you have suggestions, please send them to Judith Bennett.