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Latin Christendom and its neighbours

Seminar and essay questions

  • How would you characterise Latin Christendom's relationships with its neighbours during the early and high Middle Ages?
  • 'Christendom diversified as it expanded, incorporating a variety of local religious practices and political systems'. Discuss.
  • How successful were early Christian missionaries?


introductory reading

Bartlett, Making of Europe, 5 - 59.

R.W. Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages, 15-49, 63-73.

Power, Central Middle Ages, (Nora Berend, 'The Expansion of Latin Christendom'), 178 - 208.

Chris Wickham, 'The Expansion of Christian Europe, 500-1100' chp 5 in C. Wickham, Medieval Europe (Yale, 2016), pp.80-98.


further reading


The New Cambridge Medieval Histories are excellent resources for geographical areas that have been covered in less depth in the lectures and seminars. Usefully, they are all available online. See in particular the sections on Eastern Europe, Byzantium and Muslim Spain and North Africa.

New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume 4 Part 1 and Part 2

New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume 5

The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 1: Early Medieval Christianities, c. 600– c. 1100, ed. by Thomas F. X. Noble and Julia M. H. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Bentley, Jerry H., 'Hemispheric Integration, 500 - 1500 C.E.', Journal of World History, 9.2 (1998), 237-254.

Berend, Nora, ed., Christianization and the rise of Christian monarchy : Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus' c. 900-1200 (Cambridge University Press, 2007) (various useful articles)

Brown, Peter, The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity ad 200–1000 (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1996)

Burbank, Jane and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History, Power and the Politics of Difference (2010), chapter 3.

Hillgarth, J.N., ed., Christianity and Paganism, 350-750 : The Conversion of Western Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986)

Markus, R. A., From Augustine to Gregory the Great (London: Variorum Reprints, 1983)

Nelson, Janet L., Politics and Ritual in Early Medieval Europe (London and Ronceverte, WV: Hambledon, 1986).

Nicol, D., 'Byzantium and the Papacy in the Eleventh Century' Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 13 (1962), pp.1-20.

Woodhead, Linda, An introduction to Christianity (Cambridge, 2004) (especially chapter 2 'Churches of East and West in the Early Middle Ages')