Key figures in medieval Europe : an encyclopedia /

Main Author: Emmerson, Richard Kenneth.
Other Authors: Christdas, Prathima.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: London : Routledge, 2005.
Series: Routledge encyclopedias of the Middle Ages ; v. 13
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Review by Choice Review

This reference book provides thorough coverage of over 500 figures in medieval European history, from Peter Abelard to John Wyclif. Although it was compiled from previous works on medieval France, England, Scandinavia, etc., it omits many crucial players. For example, there is an entry on Bernard of Clairvaux, but none for Jan Hus. Editorial errors abound. An essay on Frederick II says that he was opposed by "Maitland," but this is misspelled German for "Milan." Two paragraphs are missing in the entry on Henry IV of England; from a description of his early youth, the next line vaults to "England was overrun without a fight." The bibliographies are good but somewhat dated since they are taken from earlier works. Librarians may prefer Dictionary of the Middle Ages (special review, CH, Nov'87) or Encyclopedia of the Medieval World (CH, Jun'05, 42-5631). ^BSumming Up: Optional. Graduate students and faculty. A. L. Unsworth University of Rochester

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

This twelfth title in the Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages series is a bit of a departure. Instead of offering new material, it reprints entries from eight of the previous titles, among them Medieval France: An Encyclopedia 0 (1995); Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia 0 (2002); and Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia0 (2003). As explained in the introduction, "the present volume is intended not only for students, librarians, teachers, and the general public, who may be interested in the Middle Ages but do not wish to purchase or sift through numerous individual encyclopedias, but also for medievalists and other scholars who want to have a reliable reference work easily at hand." In order "to preserve the integrity of the scholarship," none of the entries have been revised. The 587 individuals represented here were selected based on "editorial sense of long-term importance and influence" as well as potential reader interest. Although inevitably most of the subjects are men--and men of some power, at that--an effort was made to provide balance by including figures for whom documentation is relatively sparse. Along with entries for Peter Abelard and Alfred the Great, there are entries for Dhuoda, "the only known female author of the Carolingian Renaissance," and Wiligelmus, "the first great Italian sculptor." Approximately 50 women are covered; fuller treatment of women during the period can be found in Women in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia.0 (Greenwood, 2004). In addition to the index, the volume comes with two useful finding aids: a "Thematic List of Entries" and a list of entries by region. Although it is redundant, this encyclopedia still has many uses. It may not be essential for larger collections already owning the other titles in the series, but it's a good stand-alone tool for public and smaller academic libraries in need of a scholarly biographical resource on the Middle Ages. --Mary Ellen Quinn Copyright 2006 Booklist

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

Emmerson, an authority on the medieval period, here brings together nearly 600 of the biographical entries found in eight previous regional and topical volumes from the "Routledge Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages" series, including Medieval Scandinavia; France, England, Iberia, Italy, Germany, Jewish Civilization, and Trade, Travel and Exploration in the Middle Ages. Organized under such categories as "Artists/Architects," "Authors," "Commercial Figures," "Political Figures," and "Travelers," the entries are reproduced in their entirety, covering the most important men and women who lived in medieval Europe between 500 and 1500 C.E. Although the series was well received, these entries are not as readable as those found in Scribner's venerable Dictionary of the Middle Ages (1982-89), which covers most of the figures. Still, the alphabetical and thematic lists of entries provide quick access to the contents, whereas the detailed general index provides deeper access to information included in the entries. The format is easy on the eye, with double columns, bold entry titles, See Also references, and judicious use of italics to designate the titles of works. Bottom Line Although the content here is not original, libraries that own the series may appreciate having access to the major biographies in a single volume. Highly recommended for academic or public libraries lacking the original encyclopedias or the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, as well as those where biographical sources are heavily used.-Rosanne M. Cordell, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.