Medieval Italy : an encyclopedia /

Other Authors: Kleinhenz, Christopher.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Routledge, 2003.
Series: Routledge encyclopedias of the Middle Ages ; v. 9.
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HIS8207 (1)
Review by Choice Review

A welcome addition to Routledge's "Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages" series, this title is noteworthy for breaking the mold of the single-volume series format to present nearly 1,000 articles from 192 contributors in two volumes. Entries range from brief identifications ("Ratchis"--a king of the Lombards) to long essay-style entries ("Florence" at 18 pages). The set ends coverage with the 14th century; for a host of 15th-century personalities and issues, researchers must turn to Scribner's Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, ed. by Paul Grendler (CH, Jun'00). Kleinhenz wisely concentrates on the long span of history, late Roman empire through the 14th century, that had no encyclopedic coverage. The article titles reflect emphasis on individuals and families as well as on cities and regions. A greater number of topical articles would have helped, particularly relating to social issues as diverse as the body, pastoral care, servants, sumptuary law, and uncloistered religious women. Articles have bibliographies in proportion to their length, listing sources in English translation where available as well as secondary studies in both English and major European languages. The volumes feature cross-references within the text, well-chosen illustrations, maps, and a list of popes and rulers. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All academic libraries. M. C. Schaus Haverford College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

This new resource is volume 9 in the Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages, a series that began in 1993 and is intended for both the specialist and nonspecialist. The scope ranges from the late Roman Empire to the end of the fourteenth century. This comprehensive work contains 970 entries alphabetically arranged and varying in length from 100 to 10,000 words. The approach is interdisciplinary, with entries focusing on anything from major artists and cultural movements to particular cities and monuments. Longer entries are subdivided into sections, enabling quick scanning. For example, the entry on Black Death contains the subheadings The Onset of the Plague, Medieval Medical Explanations, and Social Consequences. Each entry is followed by cross-references and a bibliography. The bibliographies may contain references to primary materials, translations, secondary sources, and critical studies. In the case of a major figure like Dante, the bibliography is a full two pages long. Because a choice was made to use familiar names as entry headings, looking up Dante under his last name, Alighieri, yields no see reference redirecting one to D, which is where his entry is actually located (though there is such a see reference in the index). The volumes are sprinkled with illustrations and photographs. Three maps at the beginning of volume 1 roughly show the myriad political changes Italy went through in this time period, including the vast array of republics and patriarchates that emerged in the mid-1300s. Of course, as the introduction points out, Italy in this period refers more to a geographical entity than a political one, since Italy did not become a nation until the latter half of the nineteenth century. The appendix consists of a five-page list of popes and rulers, including Roman and Byzantine emperors; kings of the Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Lombards; the Carolingian Dynasty; and Norman, Aragonese, Angevin, and Hohenstaufen leaders. This is helpful for getting a quick idea of who was in charge at what time. Overall the encyclopedia is well written, broad in its scope, and expansive in its coverage. It is recommended for academic libraries and large public libraries. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.