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In place of an introduction, this first section – before the chapters proper – sets out the conception of the textbook for an undergraduate audience. It speaks directly to the student reader and explains the geographical and chronological restrictions within which the textbook operates. It sets out the three guiding themes of governmentality, identity and religiosity that structure each chapter, and explains what the authors of the chapters understand by them. The front cover of the volume, which reproduces the frontispiece of the Liber vitae from the New Minster, Winchester, is explored in order to demonstrate the interplay and significance of these three themes. A final note explains the balance that each author has tried to achieve in the presentation of bibliography between English- and foreign-language items, and how the short-form references in the footnotes and the bibliography should be used to pursue the study of particular issues.

Debating medieval Europe

The early Middle Ages, c. 450 –c. 1050

Editor: Stephen Mossman


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