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The Carolingian World

Part of Cambridge Medieval Textbooks

  • Date Published: May 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521564946


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About the Authors
  • At its height, the Carolingian empire spanned a million square kilometres of western Europe - from the English Channel to central Italy and northern Spain, and from the Atlantic to the fringes of modern Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. As the largest political unit for centuries, the empire dominated the region and left an enduring legacy for European culture. This comprehensive survey traces this great empire's history, from its origins around 700, with the rise to dominance of the Carolingian dynasty, through its expansion by ruthless military conquest and political manoeuvring in the eighth century, to the struggle to hold the empire together in the ninth. It places the complex political narrative in context, giving equal consideration to vital themes such as beliefs, peasant society, aristocratic culture and the economy. Accessibly written and authoritative, this book offers distinctive perspectives on a formative period in European history.

    • First synthesis of Carolingian history in English since 1983, providing a point of access to the range of scholarship on the Carolingians which has appeared in the last 30 years
    • Instead of focussing exclusively on political history, the book interleaves this with chapters on belief, exchange, peasant society and the economy
    • Engages with current debates in the field and draws on European scholarship as well as the more accessible range available in English
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book is to be welcomed. It is the Carolingian synthesis for a new generation; everyone from students to established academics will need to read it. It is highly sensitive to the transformation of approaches of the last generation of political/cultural historians, and it moves seamlessly into a welcome new analysis of the non-aristocratic majority as well.' Chris Wickham, Chichele Professor of Medieval History, University of Oxford

    'Costambeys organizes his material both thematically and chronologically … a major contribution to the history of Italy in the eighth and ninth centuries and an important complement to the other books about the history of Farfa. This is a very well researched and thought-provoking book.' Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies

    'Costambeys, Innes and MacLean are to be commended for having fulfilled their task [to provide a new synthesis taking into account the insights of the most recent scholarship] admirably, surveying and synthesising a vast body of source material and scholarship and presenting it with elegance and clarity … heartily to be recommended as a one-volume introduction for students and a useful work of reference for seasoned scholars.' Shami Ghosh, Reviews in History (

    'Costambeys, Innes, and MacLean have provided an accessible and up-to-date survey to specialists and students of the period, as well as to interested lay readers.' Hans J. Hummer, H-Net Reviews (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521564946
    • length: 528 pages
    • dimensions: 217 x 140 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.71kg
    • contains: 22 b/w illus. 19 maps 2 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The creation of Carolingian kingship to 800
    3. Belief and culture
    4. Inventing the Carolingian empire: politics and government, 800–840
    5. Villages and villagers, land and landowners
    6. Elite society
    7. Exchange and trade: the Carolingian economy
    8. Sustaining the Carolingian empire: politics and government, 840–888
    9. Epilogue.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Carolingian Europe (and for a graduate seminar)
    • Charlemagne and the Carolingians
    • Early European history
    • Europe after Rome: 400-1000
    • Middle Ages
    • Origins of Europe
    • The Age of Charlemagne
    • The Viking Age
    • The World of Charlemagne
  • Authors

    Marios Costambeys, University of Liverpool
    Marios Costambeys is Senior Lecturer in the School of History at the University of Liverpool. His previous publications include Power and Patronage in Early Medieval Italy: Local Society, Italian Politics and the Abbey of Farfa, c.700–900 (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

    Matthew Innes, Birkbeck College, University of London
    Matthew Innes is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London. His previous publications include State and Society in the Early Middle Ages: The Middle Rhine Valley, 400–1000 (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

    Simon MacLean, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Simon MacLean is Senior Lecturer in the School of History at the University of St Andrews. His previous publications include Kingship and Politics in the Late Ninth Century: Charles the Fat and the End of the Carolingian Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

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