Medieval France. An Encyclopedia

(Darren Dugan) #1


Medieval France: An Encyclopedia is an introduction to the political, economic, social,
religious, intellectual, literary, and artistic history of France from the early 5th century to
the late 15th. We have sought to present in a single, convenient reference work aspects of
medieval France that are otherwise treated in separate scholarly publications. The subject
matter is complex and vast, and we therefore make no claims for completeness. We hope,
however, to have provided a balanced, informative, and up-to-date reference work that,
although directed primarily toward students and the general public, will also provide a
useful starting point for scholars in various disciplines.
Entries range from about fifty words to over 3,000. Shorter entries provide ready
reference; longer entries explain and interpret major institutions, writers and works,
movements, and monuments. The encyclopedia offers a cross-disciplinary focus that
promotes the integration of materials, provides a synthetic perspective, and encourages
immediate connections among fields often held in isolation. Though scholars using this
volume will be familiar with the basic information and bibliography contained in articles
that cover their areas of expertise, they will find the articles in fields other than their own
to be indispensible for general orientation, interpretation, and bibliography. The index at
the end of the volume and cross-referencing at the end of each entry are designed to
enhance the cross-disciplinary perspective.
Both “medieval” and “France” require definition. By “medieval,” we mean that vast
period between the fall of the Roman Empire, with the decline or loss of such Roman
institutions as schools, roads, towns, and law—in short, civilization as we conceive it—
and the advent of the Renaissance in late 15th-century France. It is a period in which a
new and specifically French civilization and identity were forged, in which new
institutions were conceived and developed: the universities, the feudal monarchy,
scholastic philosophy, Romanesque and Gothic art, western monasticism and mysticism.
Paris, which under the Capetians became the capital of a growing dynasty, was the
intellectual, artistic, and political center of late-medieval France. But “France” itself is an
elusive geographical area during the period in question. For purists, it is no more than the
Île-de-France, the region immediately surrounding the capital. But for our purposes, it
extends roughly from Brussels to the Mediterranean, from Switzerland to Brittany, and
briefly even into Britain: all the area that was dominated by the new court culture that
grew out of the Carolingian and Capetian intellectual centers. Individuals who played a
dominant role in medieval French political, artistic, or intellectual life, and who are
associated chiefly with French cultural centers, whether or not they happened to have
been born within the boundaries of contemporary France, are included—for example,
Peter Lombard, Thomas d’Angleterre, Thomas Aquinas, Hugh of Saint-Victor, Robert de
Courçon, among many others.
Entries are arranged alphabetically. In the listing of literary works, preference has
been given to the names of the authors, whenever known, rather than to titles of works.

Free download pdf