medieval history research topics

  • History Classics
  • Your Profile
  • Find History on Facebook (Opens in a new window)
  • Find History on Twitter (Opens in a new window)
  • Find History on YouTube (Opens in a new window)
  • Find History on Instagram (Opens in a new window)
  • Find History on TikTok (Opens in a new window)
  • This Day In History
  • History Podcasts
  • History Vault

Middle Ages

By: History.com Editors

Updated: June 6, 2023 | Original: April 22, 2010

Knights Duelling On Foot In A Tournament 19th CenturyKnights duelling on foot in a tournament, 19th century. Plate 1 from The History of the Nations by Vincenzo Gazzotto, Vincenzo. Artist G Lago. (Photo by Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

People use the phrase “Middle Ages” to describe Europe between the fall of Rome in 476 CE and the beginning of the Renaissance in the 14th century. Many scholars call the era the “medieval period” instead; “Middle Ages,” they say, incorrectly implies that the period is an insignificant blip sandwiched between two much more important epochs.

The Middle Ages: Birth of an Idea

The phrase “Middle Ages” tells us more about the Renaissance that followed it than it does about the era itself. Starting around the 14th century, European thinkers, writers and artists began to look back and celebrate the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome . Accordingly, they dismissed the period after the fall of Rome as a “Middle” or even “Dark” age in which no scientific accomplishments had been made, no great art produced, no great leaders born. The people of the Middle Ages had squandered the advancements of their predecessors, this argument went, and mired themselves instead in what 18th-century English historian Edward Gibbon called “barbarism and religion.”

Did you know? Between 1347 and 1350, a mysterious disease known as the "Black Death" (the bubonic plague) killed some 20 million people in Europe—30 percent of the continent’s population. It was especially deadly in cities, where it was impossible to prevent the transmission of the disease from one person to another.

This way of thinking about the era in the “middle” of the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance prevailed until relatively recently. However, today’s scholars note that the era was as complex and vibrant as any other.

The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages

After the fall of Rome, no single state or government united the people who lived on the European continent. Instead, the Catholic Church became the most powerful institution of the medieval period. Kings, queens and other leaders derived much of their power from their alliances with and protection of the Church.

In 800 CE, for example, Pope Leo III named the Frankish king Charlemagne the “Emperor of the Romans”–the first since that empire’s fall more than 300 years before. Over time, Charlemagne’s realm became the Holy Roman Empire, one of several political entities in Europe whose interests tended to align with those of the Church.

Ordinary people across Europe had to “tithe” 10 percent of their earnings each year to the Church; at the same time, the Church was mostly exempt from taxation. These policies helped it to amass a great deal of money and power.

The Middle Ages: The Rise of Islam

Meanwhile, the Islamic world was growing larger and more powerful. After the prophet Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, Muslim armies conquered large parts of the Middle East, uniting them under the rule of a single caliph. At its height, the medieval Islamic world was more than three times bigger than all of Christendom.

Under the caliphs, great cities such as Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus fostered a vibrant intellectual and cultural life. Poets, scientists and philosophers wrote thousands of books (on paper, a Chinese invention that had made its way into the Islamic world by the 8th century). Scholars translated Greek, Iranian and Indian texts into Arabic. Inventors devised technologies like the pinhole camera, soap, windmills, surgical instruments, and an early flying machine. And religious scholars and mystics translated, interpreted and taught the Quran and other scriptural texts to people across the Middle East.

The Crusades

Toward the end of the 11th century, the Catholic Church began to authorize military expeditions, or Crusades , to expel Muslim “infidels” from the Holy Land. Crusaders, who wore red crosses on their coats to advertise their status, believed that their service would guarantee the remission of their sins and ensure that they could spend all eternity in Heaven. (They also received more worldly rewards, such as papal protection of their property and forgiveness of some kinds of loan payments.)

The Crusades began in 1095, when Pope Urban summoned a Christian army to fight its way to Jerusalem , and continued on and off until the end of the 15th century. In 1099, Christian armies captured Jerusalem from Muslim control, and groups of pilgrims from across Western Europe started visiting the Holy Land. Many of them, however, were robbed and killed as they crossed through Muslim-controlled territories during their journey.

Around 1118, a French knight named Hugues de Payens created a military order along with eight relatives and acquaintances that became the Knights Templar , and they won the eventual support of the pope and a reputation for being fearsome fighters. The Fall of Acre in 1291 marked the destruction of the last remaining Crusader refuge in the Holy Land, and Pope Clement V dissolved the Knights Templar in 1312.

No one “won” the Crusades; in fact, many thousands of people from both sides lost their lives. They did make ordinary Catholics across Christendom feel like they had a common purpose, and they inspired waves of religious enthusiasm among people who might otherwise have felt alienated from the official Church. They also exposed Crusaders to Islamic literature, science and technology–exposure that would have a lasting effect on European intellectual life.

The Middle Ages: Art and Architecture

Another way to show devotion to the Church was to build grand cathedrals and other ecclesiastical structures such as monasteries. Cathedrals were the largest buildings in medieval Europe, and they could be found at the center of towns and cities across the continent.

Between the 10th and 13th centuries, most European cathedrals were built in the Romanesque style. Romanesque cathedrals are solid and substantial: They have rounded masonry arches and barrel vaults supporting the roof, thick stone walls and few windows. (Examples of Romanesque architecture include the Porto Cathedral in Portugal and the Speyer Cathedral in present-day Germany.)

Around 1200, church builders began to embrace a new architectural style, known as the Gothic. Gothic structures, such as the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis in France and the rebuilt Canterbury Cathedral in England, have huge stained-glass windows, pointed vaults and pointed arches (a technology perfected in in the Islamic world), and spires and flying buttresses. In contrast to heavy Romanesque buildings, Gothic architecture seems to be almost weightless. Medieval religious art took other forms as well. Frescoes and mosaics decorated church interiors, and artists painted devotional images of the Virgin Mary, Jesus and the saints.

Also, before the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, even books were works of art. Craftsmen in monasteries (and later in universities) created illuminated manuscripts: handmade sacred and secular books with colored illustrations, gold and silver lettering and other adornments. Convents were one of the few places women could receive a higher education , and nuns wrote, translated, and illuminated manuscripts as well. In the 12th century, urban booksellers began to market smaller illuminated manuscripts, like books of hours, psalters and other prayer books, to wealthy individuals.

Did You Know? Juliana Morell, a 17th-century Spanish Dominican nun, is believed to be the first woman in the Western world to earn a university degree.

Chivalry and courtly love were celebrated in stories and songs spread by troubadours. Some of medieval literature’s most famous stories include “The Song of Roland” and “The Song of Hildebrand.” 

The Black Death

Between 1347 and 1350, a mysterious disease known as the " Black Death " (the bubonic plague) killed some 20 million people in Europe—30 percent of the continent’s population. It was especially deadly in cities, where it was impossible to prevent the transmission of the disease from one person to another.

The plague started in Europe in October 1347, when 12 ships from the Black Sea docked at the Sicilian port of Messina. Most sailors aboard the ships were dead, and those who were alive were covered in black boils that oozed blood and pus. Symptoms of the Black Death included fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, terrible aches and pains – and then death. Victims could go to bed feeling healthy and be dead by morning.

The plague killed cows, pigs, goats, chickens and even sheep, leading to a wool shortage in Europe. Understandably terrified about the mysterious disease, some people of the Middle Ages believed the plague was a divine punishment for sin. To obtain forgiveness, some people became “flagellants,” traveling Europe to put on public displays of penance that could include whipping and beating one another. Others turned on their neighbors, purging people they believed to be heretics. Thousands of Jews were murdered between 1348 and 1349, while others fled to less populated areas of Eastern Europe.

Today, scientists know the plague was caused by a bacillus called Yersina pestis , which travels through the air and can also be contracted through the bite of an infected flea . 

The Middle Ages: Economics and Society

In medieval Europe, rural life was governed by a system scholars call “feudalism.” In a feudal society, the king granted large pieces of land called fiefs to noblemen and bishops. Landless peasants known as serfs did most of the work on the fiefs: They planted and harvested crops and gave most of the produce to the landowner. In exchange for their labor, they were allowed to live on the land. They were also promised protection in case of enemy invasion.

During the 11th century, however, feudal life began to change. Agricultural innovations such as the heavy plow and three-field crop rotation made farming more efficient and productive, so fewer farm workers were needed–but thanks to the expanded and improved food supply, the population grew. As a result, more and more people were drawn to towns and cities. Meanwhile, the Crusades had expanded trade routes to the East and given Europeans a taste for imported goods such as wine, olive oil and luxurious textiles. As the commercial economy developed, port cities in particular thrived. By 1300, there were some 15 cities in Europe with a population of more than 50,000.

In these cities, a new era was born: the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time of great intellectual and economic change, but it was not a complete “rebirth”: It had its roots in the world of the Middle Ages.

medieval history research topics

Sign up for Inside History

Get HISTORY’s most fascinating stories delivered to your inbox three times a week.

By submitting your information, you agree to receive emails from HISTORY and A+E Networks. You can opt out at any time. You must be 16 years or older and a resident of the United States.

More details : Privacy Notice | Terms of Use | Contact Us

Medieval History Research Guide

  • Getting Started
  • Gathering Background Information
  • Finding Primary Sources
  • Finding Secondary Sources
  • Citing Guides This link opens in a new window
  • Writing Guides
  • ARTstor This link opens in a new window Curated collections of digital images and associated data for non-commercial, scholarly, non-profit, and educational use. Over 1 million images.
  • British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries This link opens in a new window British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries spans more than 400 years of personal writings, bringing together the voices of women from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Complementing Alexander Street’s North American Women's Letters and Diaries, the database lets researchers view history in the context of women’s thoughts—their struggles, achievements, passions, pursuits, and desires.
  • Defining Gender, 1450-1910 This link opens in a new window Contains primary source materials from British and European archives. Organized thematically, the documents were selected by academic consultants who also contributed essays.
  • Early English Books Online This link opens in a new window Contains digital facsimile page images of a large collection of work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and British North America, and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700.
  • Index of Medieval Art - formerly Index of Christian Art This link opens in a new window Access a variety of materials related to Medieval art, including images and descriptive data relating to works produced between early apostolic times and the sixteenth century.
  • Medieval Family Life-The Paston, Stonor, Cely, Plumpton and Armburgh Papers This link opens in a new window Contains full color images of the only 5 major letter collections from fifteenth century England. The original images and the transcriptions can be viewed side by side. Also includes additional materials for teaching and research, including images, maps, family trees, resource links, and more.
  • Medieval Travel Writing This link opens in a new window Contains manuscripts of European travel writing dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries culled from libraries around the world. Topics include geography, exploration, trade, literature, and the new field of medieval postcolonial studies.
  • Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers, 1500-1700 This link opens in a new window Access early modern women authors who were "lost" because their writing exists only in manuscript form. Over 230 entries have been selected and digitized. Also includes biographical and bibliographical information and essays by specialists in the field.

Free Digital Collections

  • CANTUS Database (University of Waterloo) "CANTUS is a database that assembles indices of the Latin ecclesiastical chants found in early manuscript and printed sources for the liturgical Office, such as antiphoners and breviaries." - CANTUS
  • Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) "The Christian Classics Ethereal Library is a digital library of hundreds of classic Christian books selected for edification and education. The online www.ccel.org server reaches several million different users each year." -CCEL
  • De Re Militari: The Society for Military History This website provides links to several sources that pertain to early medieval warfare, 10th/11th century warfare, the crusades, early medieval warfare etc.
  • Digital Medieval Manuscripts at Houghton Library (Harvard University) Houghton Library's collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts represents a significant resource for the study of the literature, art, history, music, philosophy, and theology of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Western Europe." - The Houghton Library.
  • Digital Scriptorium (UC Berkeley) "Digital Scriptorium (DS) is a growing organization of institutional partners with collections of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. DS provides an online union catalog of these collections and thus unites scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research." - Digital Scriptorium
  • Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database "The database has two sections: the introduction which contains general information about the project, and bio- bibliographical introductions to each of the saints of the 8th–10th centuries included in the project; and the database itself which in turn is divided into three sections, the Saints' list, the Author' list, and the search citations. The Greek texts that we have been permitted to reproduce either in their entirety or in sections may be accessed through the Saints' list (entire texts) or search citations (partial texts)." - Dumbarton OaksHagiography Database
  • The Electronic Manipulus florum Project " Thomas of Ireland's Manipulus florum ("Handful of flowers") belongs to the genre of medieval texts known as florilegia, collections of authoritative quotations that are the forerunners of modern reference works such as Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. This particular florilegium contains approximately 6000 Latin proverbs and textual excerpts (provided in 5821 entries*) that are attributed to various classical, patristic and medieval authors. Compiled in Paris at the beginning of the 14th century (1306), it survives in nearly 200 manuscripts and was published in at least 50 editions between 1483 and 1887, making it by far the most widely-disseminated and, presumably, the most influential anthology of Latin quotations produced during the Middle Ages." - The Electronic Manipulus florum Project
  • Epistolae: Medieval Women's Letters (Columbia University) "Epistolae is a collection of medieval Latin letters to and from women. The letters collected here date from the 4th to the 13th centuries, and they are presented in their original Latin as well as in English translation. The letters are organized by the name and biography of the women writers or recipients. Biographical sketches of the women, descriptions of the subject matter of the letters, and the historical context of the correspondence are included where available." - Epistolae
  • EuroDocs: History of Medieval & Renaissance Europe: Primary Documents This is a portal to primary source collections from the European Countries. This set of documents focus on the medieval period.
  • Europeana Collections The Europeana Collections portal provides access to wide variety or sources from various European libraries.
  • Hanover Historical Texts Collection "The Hanover Historical Texts Collection makes available digital versions of historical texts for use in history and humanities courses." - Hanover Historical Texts Collection
  • Internet Medieval Sourcebook (Fordham University) This website provides access to a number of full text sources.
  • Italian Renaissance Manuscript Collection, The Claremont Colleges Library The Bodman Collection of Italian Renaissance Manuscripts is but a small part of the splendid collection of books, incunabula, and manuscripts assembled and given to The Claremont Colleges Library from 1956 to 1960, by Mr. Harold C. Bodman. On view in this digital collection are eleven autograph, signed letters written between members of the Medici family of Florence and others in their social and political circles, including Angelo Poliziano, the Sforza family, Palla Strozzi, and Francesco Guicciardini. Written between 1426 and 1522, the letters touch on a number of issues urgent to the House of Medici including military campaigns, political associations, and the trials of family life.
  • La Bibliothèque VIrtuelle des Manuscrits Médiévaux (BVMM) The Virtual Library of Medieval Manuscripts (BVMM) from the Institute for Research and History of Texts (IRHT-CNRS) provides access to reproductions of a wide selection of manuscripts from the Middle Ages to the sixteenth century.
  • Late Medieval Illustrated Manuscripts from the Bibliotheca Palatina (Heidelberg University Library and the Institute for Art History of Heidelberg University) This project provides access to late medieval illuminated manuscripts.
  • Making of Charlemagne's Europe' Project "The aim of the project is two-fold: The first aim is to offer a single, unified database framework for the extraction of prosopographical and socio-economic data found in early medieval legal documents. The second aim is to apply this framework to legal documents surviving from the reign of Charlemagne (25 September 768 to 28 January 814 AD). The reign of Charlemagne offers a particularly good case study, since it was a period of unprecedented expansion, leading to the absorption by the Frankish empire of many diverse regions within a short period of time." - Making of Charlemagne's Europe' Project
  • Manuscripts Online (Universities of Sheffield, Leicester, Birmingham, York, Glasgow and Queen's University Belfast) "Manuscripts Online enables you to search a diverse body of online primary resources relating to written and early printed culture in Britain during the period 1000 to 1500. The resources include literary manuscripts, historical documents and early printed books which are located on websites owned by libraries, archives, universities and publishers." - Manuscripts Online
  • Mapping Gothic France "With a database of images, texts, charts and historical maps, Mapping Gothic France invites you to explore the parallel stories of Gothic architecture and the formation of France in the 12th and 13th centuries, considered in three dimensions:" - Mapping Gothic France
  • Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Collection: Database and Digital Images (Harry Ransom Center, UT Austin) "The Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Collection contains 215 medieval or Renaissance manuscripts that date between the 11th and 17th centuries. This database contains item-level descriptions for each of the manuscripts and enables keyword searching as well as several different ways to browse the collection contents." - Harry Ransom Center
  • Medieval Documents: 400 -1399: Avalon Project (Yale University) The Avalon Project lists several primary source documents that relevant to medieval history.
  • REFRAIN "The long thirteenth century was characterised by a vernacular musico-poetic culture in which short fragments of text and/or music circulated within and between songs of various types (chanson à refrain, chanson avec des refrains, rondeau), the motet repertory, the romance and a host of other types that impinged on music, literature or both. REFRAIN provides a searchable database of this repertory, providing access through refrains themselves, motets, narratives, songs and other genres." - REFRAIN
  • Regesta Imperii Online "The RI-Opac is a freely accessible database, covering all disciplines of medieval sciences for the European language sphere. Within the context of the project Regesta Imperii Online, the RI-Opac is both an online bibliography of the literature quoted in RI publications and a freely accessible, comprehensive database for historical research. One of the system's main goals is the in-depth recording of non-independently published literature, such as essays and proceedings; brought together from myriad collected editions and magazines even of the most remote origin." - Regesta Imperii Online
  • The Rose Window: Online Stained Glass Photographic Archive This website provides access to images of medieval and early modern stained glass.
  • Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (UPenn) "The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM) makes available data on medieval manuscript books of five or more folios produced before 1600. Its purpose is to facilitate research for scholars, collectors, and others interested in manuscript studies and the provenance of these unique books." The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts
  • << Previous: Gathering Background Information
  • Next: Finding Secondary Sources >>
  • Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024 11:50 AM
  • URL: https://guides.libraries.emory.edu/main/medievalhistory

Logo

Medieval History

This strand of our one-year MSt or two-year MPhil in History  is the equivalent of a free-standing Master’s in Medieval History before 1500. 

Abimelech Destroying Shechem; Abimelech Killed by the Woman of Thebes

This strand offers a unique balance of breadth and depth in the study of the medieval history of Britain and Europe.  It can be taken either as a free-standing degree course or as the first step towards doctoral study.  Its emphasis is on historical skills and knowledge; applicants interested in a developing their knowledge of medieval languages or acquiring a greater level of expertise in medieval palaeography and manuscript studies are advised also to consider applying for the separate MSt programme in Medieval Studies or the MSt/MPhil programme in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies , both of which are also proven routes to a doctorate in Medieval History.

Oxford is home to probably the largest community of medieval historians in the world, including scholars whose research interests range from the fourth to the sixteenth century, and from Ireland to Iran.  The resources for study are equally exceptional, including the largest university library collection of medieval manuscripts, college collections of manuscripts and archives, and the fine holdings of the Ashmolean Museum.  Many of these are available digitally .  The MSt is not prescriptive about what topics you choose to study, but instead insists on intellectual rigour and excitement, whatever your choices.  You will also attend seminars given by leading experts, and have the opportunity to meet medievalists from all over the world.

Course Organisation

Alongside the Theory and Methods   course, students spend their first term studying Sources and Historiography .  As well as training you to work with medieval sources in their original format, this course addresses the distinctive interpretive challenges they pose.  It also invites you to reflect on how historians’ approaches to medieval history have changed over the past two generations or so, influencing the questions, techniques and source bases used to study the Middle Ages, and how the study of the Middle Ages is situated with respect to scholars’ own times.  In Trinity Term, students will be asked to make a presentation about their own dissertation, explaining their choice of approach and how it  responds to wider questions within the historiographical landscape.

Skills Provision:

You are expected to take Latin (at beginners, intermediate or advanced level, depending on previous experience) and will be introduced to the study of medieval handwriting, books and documents (Palaeography and Diplomatic).  You will not be formally examined on these skills, but will be helped to take them seriously, and will have plenty of opportunity to practise them.  You will be encouraged to put them to use in an assessed essay and/or your dissertation, and will also have the opportunity to work on original manuscript books and documents from Oxford’s many collections, and elsewhere, if you wish.  In consultation with your supervisor and depending on your choice of topic, instruction in Old English and other medieval languages is available, and also in modern languages such as French, German or Italian.

Typical Options include :

Saints and Sanctity in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages

Saints, alive and dead, played a central role in medieval society. This course examines the emergence of the cult of the saint in late Antiquity, and its remarkable spread over subsequent centuries. Live saints reinforced the Christian message and helped the faithful with the travails of daily life, but also represented a challenge to the authority of the established Church. Dead, their cults and their relics spread through the Christian world, encouraging, in a few notable cases, a steady stream of visitors to their graves.

This course is centred around the rich, diverse, and often beautifully written hagiography of the fourth to ninth centuries, both from the Mediterranean region and from northern Europe. It offers an opportunity to examine, across several centuries, a wide range of themes: the fascination with martyrdom; different types of sanctity (such as those available only to bishops, or to women); the role of the saint within society and within the Church; the emergence of different styles of asceticism and spirituality, from Byzantium to Ireland; how a saint was acclaimed and accepted in a period without formal processes of canonization; the extraordinary power of relics, and the attraction of pilgrimage; the often underhand ‘translation’ of holy bodies; and, finally, even the existence of doubters.

The Twelfth-Century Renaissance

The Twelfth-Century Renaissance is an interdisciplinary paper in intellectual history designed to give students a broad overview of the content and applications of learning in the twelfth century. It therefore covers a wide range of different curricular subjects from the perspective both of their sources (the classical textual tradition of ninth-century learning; the impact of newly translated texts; the consequences of personal contact with Muslim and Jewish scholars in Sicily and the Iberian peninsula; the influence of empirical discovery) and of their application through cathedral schools and royal courts to society at large. The course comprises eight classes, organised around the seven liberal arts (the trivium and the quadrivium) and the three higher faculties of the medieval schools.

The Global Middle Ages

This course is structured around two key questions: what can the study of global history bring to our understanding of the Middle Ages, and what can the study of medieval history bring to the evolving field of global history? Those taking the paper will be able to enhance their understanding of medieval history by thinking more about the history and culture of regions beyond Europe during medieval centuries, about parallels and contrasts between the approaches and evidence bases used by scholars of extra-European and European history in the centuries between 500 and 1500, and about the most productive ways to conceptualise that thousand-year period in global terms.  

Throughout the degree, students work towards a dissertation.  Recent topics have included: 

  • Pagans and Christians in late Roman North Africa
  • From Roman-Briton to Anglo-Saxon: changing conceptions of fourth- to sixth-century identity
  • Marriage and family in Gregory of Tours
  • Saxon monastic life and Carolingian politics
  • The Apocalypse in eighth and ninth century Iberia
  • Virginity and female sanctity in late Anglo-Saxon England
  • Lordship and the evidence of charter diplomatic in twelfth-century Normandy
  • Jews, blood, Christians, and privies in medieval England
  • Gendering the common voice in later medieval England
  • Marriage as resolution in Rape Cases
  • The translation of saints' relics as political ritual
  • The Order of St John and the problem of sovereignty in Outremer
  • Images of self and others in medieval Serb, Ragusan and Bosnian sources
  • The logic of political conflict in late medieval Tournai
  • Images of community and the question of urban estate in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Poznan
  • Material culture and the creation of meaning in late medieval wills

Faculty and Research Culture

Oxford’s medieval history community is led by Professor Julia Smith , a specialist in the early medieval west.  There are particular concentrations of expertise in late antique and early medieval history; Byzantine history; medieval political cultures, especially Britain and France; intellectual history; material culture; religious and cultural history; women and gender.  Thinking about the global dimensions of medieval history has been a growing focus of interest in recent years.

Faculty postholders in these fields include:

Late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Medieval political cultures, intellectual history, material culture, religious and cultural history, women and gender, global middle ages.

More information on our academics and their subjects, please search within our people section.

In addition to our own research, graduate students come together with teaching and research staff in research seminars to hear speakers including doctoral students, external and internal to the university.  The weekly Medieval History research seminar is enhanced by a dozen other seminars or workshops in Medieval History and/or Medieval Studies (for example, there are seminars in Medieval Church and Culture, Late Antique and Byzantine Art and Archaeology, Medieval English).  A termly booklet provides a convenient roundup of the many seminars, workshops and conferences within Oxford.

Major research projects further enhance Oxfords research culture, including:

  • The Cult of Saints  
  • Medieval Libraries of Great Britain  
  • Dirhams for Slaves   
  • ‘Towards a Global Middle Ages’  

Admissions Questions

We normally take about c.12 MSt students and one or two MPhil students in this area, but numbers vary from year to year and we are able to be flexible.  If you have any questions about our admissions procedure, please check the University admissions pages  and/or contact Graduate Admissions . You can also contact any of the academics in your relevant area of study. You can filter the Academics page  by period, region or specialism. 

Medieval Studies and Research: Home

  • Medieval Manuscripts at USC
  • Antiphonaries, Breviaries, & Psalters: Connections to Books of Hours & other Liturgical Texts
  • Antiphonaries, Breviaries, and Psalters at USC
  • Anthologies, Archives, Catalogues, Collections & Digital Projects
  • Incunabula at USC - Getting Started
  • Incunabula at USC - Listing by Name of Author: A-J
  • Incunabula at USC - Listing by Name of Author: K-Z
  • Dictionaries and Glossaries: Getting Started
  • Getting Started: Databases & Journals
  • Getting Started: Associations, Blogs, Handbooks
  • Manuscript Studies
  • Illuminated Manuscripts - Studies, History
  • Manuscripts - Published Catalogs
  • Medieval Liturgy and Devotional Texts
  • Books of Hours and The Medieval Calendar
  • Books of Hours - Resources for Research
  • Manuscripts: Art & Techniques
  • Medieval Society: Women, Gender, and Family Life
  • Medieval World: Economy, History, Law, Politics
  • Atlases & Maps
  • Teaching & Learning with Manuscripts & Other Rare Materials

Welcome! This Research Guide focuses on Medieval and Manuscript Studies and Research

medieval history research topics

Medieval studies is an interdisciplinary and multifaceted field which includes the history of Europe from the fall of the Western Roman Empire until the emergence of the Renaissance in northern Europe in the early sixteenth century.

This Research Guide includes information about the Western European medieval world, and it touches upon an array of topics, for example: art, history, law, liturgy, music, philosophy, and many others.

It aims to provide an entry into various resources that the University of Southern California (USC) has to offer in medieval studies, as well as links to relevant databases and sources, including digitized manuscripts here at USC. It also spotlights our collection of incunabula in the USC Libraries Special Collections Department. Updates will be added on a regular basis, so as to reflect evolving research on any topic presented in this Guide.

   

Be sure to explore our companion project USC Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts now published as a Scalar e-Book : 

https://scalar.usc.edu/works/usc-illuminated-medieval-manuscripts/index  

This work (extensive research and uploading of the various multi-modal materials in this Scalar publication) was started in July 2020, and it will continue to progress thanks to the close collaboration of our Project’s team members and affiliates.

Scalar , from the University of Southern California 's Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, is an open source, authoring and publishing platform designed for media-rich, born-digital scholarship.

Danielle Mihram, Ph.D. University Librarian

Profile Photo

Related Research Guides at USC

Ancient Art and Archeology , by Stacy Williams

Digital Humanities , by Danielle Mihram

E-books@USC , by Caroline Muglia

Hoose Library of Philosophy: Collections, History, Art & Architecture, Digital Humanities Projects & Resources , by Melissa Miller

Primary Sources by Michaela Ullmann

Reading Early Printed Books , by Melinda Hayes

Additional Related Research Guides

Fordham University Libraries :  

Medieval Studies , by Jeannie Hoag.

Medieval Book Facsimile and Manuscript Studies by Kevin Vogelaar and Vivian Shen.

Saint Louis University Libraries :

Medieval Trade and Travel , by Debra Cashion.

Medieval Vernacular Literature , by Debra Cashion,

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Incunabula at The Huntington by Stephen Tabor

Duke University Libraries

Teaching Materiality Online with the Rubenstein Library

https://guides.library.duke.edu/materiality

USC Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts Project

medieval history research topics

Medieval Studies at USC

USC's Center for the Premodern World , opened in Fall 2019, "[...] creates space and offers resources for the study of cultures and civilizations, beginning with the earliest historical eras up to the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern world." 

USC's Early Modern Studies Institute  (ESMI) "supports advanced research and scholarship on human societies between 1450 and 1840. The Institute's range is global."

Interesting faces in the Marginalia

medieval history research topics

GAULTERUS BURLAEUS (Walter Burley) Incipit libellus De vita et moribus philosophorum et poetarum ,

USC Libraries Call # Z241 1477 .B96

How to Use this Guide

To facilitate both research and study, this guide includes many titles in our USC collections that are available online. However many of these titles are also available in print form. This information may be verified by consulting our online USC Libraries' Catalog.

  • If you are an instructor you can direct students to a specific page for a listing of pertinent primary sources and information for their course readings.
  • If you are a student you can browse individual pages to learn about existing significant research on a variety of topics, and also identify topics and sources for research projects or presentations.

For tips about Catalog searching, and how to find additional resources, take a look at: USC Libraries Search, Users' Guide , by Christal Young.

Use this recommendation request form to recommend a book, journal, CD, DVD or other resource that is not currently in the USC Libraries collections.

Dr. Melissa Miller, Head, Hoose Library of Philosophy

Profile Photo

Ongoing Digital Humanities Scalar Project

Dr. Danielle Mihram & Dr. Melissa Miller's ongoing Digital Humanities Scalar Project:

USC Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts

Our team of grant funded Information Specialists:

  • Stephanie Geller
  • Kathryn Brunet
  • Micaela Rodgers
  • Sabino Zonno

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

  • Next: Medieval Manuscripts at USC >>
  • Last Updated: Nov 28, 2023 10:43 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/MedRenMSSandRareMatStudies

Medieval Studies: A guide to library research at Cornell: Published Primary Sources

  • Published Primary Sources
  • Manuscripts
  • Citation Styles & Management
  • Ask a Librarian

Primary Sources in English Translation

  • Translated Texts for Historians Classical and Medieval primary sources in translation.
  • Manchester Medieval Sources Translated texts on a wide variety of topics published in part or in full as print books and ebooks: Manchester Medieval Sources print books Manchester Medieval Sources ebooks
  • Loeb Classical Library A fully searchable, virtual library of Greek and Latin literature with English translations. Includes epic and lyric poetry; tragedy and comedy; history, travel, philosophy, and oratory; the great medical writers and mathematicians; and, those Church Fathers who made particular use of pagan culture.
  • CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts Online corpus of multilingual texts of Irish literature and history and the arts. Includes Old, Middle, Classical and Early Modern Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Latin, English and German, French, and English translations of Irish texts. It is Ireland's longest running Humanities Computing/Digital Humanities project.
  • British History Online Core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles.
  • Icelandic Saga Database The Icelandic Saga Database is an online resource dedicated to publishing the Sagas of the Icelanders — a large body of medieval Icelandic literature. The sagas are prose histories describing events that took place amongst the Norse and Celtic inhabitants of Iceland during the period of the Icelandic Commonwealth in the 10th and 11th centuries CE.
  • Internet Medieval Sourcebook Selected excerpts of sources translated into English full-text online arranged chronologically and geographically. Helpful for getting a sense of the types of medieval sources and for bibliography.

For a selection of the writings of the Church Fathers in English full-text online, see The Catholic Encyclopedia online's new Fathers section or Early Church Fathers

  • Bibliography of English translations from medieval sources Call Number: Olin Library Graduate Study Center, Room 501 and Olin Reference Z6517 .F24 Outdated and superseded, but can still be useful on occasion, especially for brief works (a single letter or poem) or excerpts of longer works contained within books or articles.
  • Bibliography of English Translations from Medieval Sources, 1943-1968 by Mary A. Ferguson (Compiled by) Call Number: Olin Library Graduate Study Center, Room 501 and Olin Reference Z6517 .F35 Publication Date: 1974 Outdated and superseded, but can still be useful on occasion, especially for brief works (a single letter or poem) or excerpts of longer works contained within books or articles.
  • Online Medieval Primary Source Bibliography A guide to translated sources. Geography and type features particularly useful.
  • More primary sources ... Many in English.

Digital Primary Source Collections in Original Language

  • Acta Sanctorum The complete texts of the sixty-eight printed volumes, from the two January volumes published in 1643 to the Propylaeum to December published in 1940. Print volumes .
  • Patrologia Latina Database A complete electronic version of the first edition of Jacques-Paul Migne's Patrologia Latina (1844-1855 and 1862-1865). Index volumes are 218-221. Texts from AD 200 through the 13th century plus later ecclesiastical and humanistic scholarship. Print volumes: Patrologia Cursus Compeletus. PDF of print volumes in HathiTrust .
  • Library of Christian Latin Texts: CLCLT Incomplete and in progress. Selected works from the classical period, the most important patristic works, a very extensive corpus of Medieval Latin literature. Volumen 1: Antiquity, Patristic period up to 500, Vulgate Bible; Volumen II: Second Patristic Period, 501-735; Volumen III: 736-1500 and Neo-Latin period 1501-present. Includes texts from the beginning of Latin literature (Livius Andronicus, 240 BC) through to the texts of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), as well as the complete works of writers such as Cicero, Virgil, Augustine, Jerome, Gregory the Great, Anselm of Canterbury, Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas a Kempis. Includes many volumes published in the Corpus Christianorum, both the Series Latina and the Continuatio Mediaeualis, and the opera omnia of major authors. Helpful Guide to Searching, from Berkeley
  • Bibliotheca Teubneriana Latina Latin literature from the Roman Republic to the Imperial Period and Late Antiquity. The database is the electronic version of the Bibliotheca scriptorum Romanorum Teubneriana. Complete, except for prefaces or critical apparatus, from the standard editions (editions maiores) of about 800 works spread over eleven centuries (c. 300 BC/BCE to c. 800 AD/CE).
  • Gallica Includes many digitized classic medieval collections of primary sources originally published in the 19th century such as the multi-volume Recueil des historiens des croisades. Use the [challenging] Gallica catalog to find the fulltext.
  • Primary Sources for the Study Of Liturgy, Hagiography and Other Aspects Of Medieval Studies Helen Davis, Special Collections, Boole Library, University College Cork.
  • ARTFL A Cooperative Project of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the University of Chicago, ARTFL is a research tool for scholars and students in all areas of French Studies. Full-text online of nearly 2000 French texts, ranging from classic works of French literature to various kinds of non-fiction prose and technical writing. The eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries are about equally represented, with a smaller selection of seventeenth century texts as well as some medieval and Renaissance texts. A Provençal database that includes 38 texts in their original spellings has recently been added. The Web interface allows one to search the corpus easily for words, stems, phrases and co-occurrences.
  • Brepols cross-database search tool Allows searching across all the medieval and classical digital corpora produced by Brepols.
  • Archive of Celtic-Latin literature Incomplete and in progress. Contains the texts processed thus far from the corpus of Celtic-Latin literature from the period 400-1200 as part of the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources project.
  • Monumenta Germaniae historica (MGH). Sources in Latin 500-1500 A.D. from or about medieval Germany, the Franks, and areas of Germanic influence in medieval Europe. Print volumes of the MGH newer series can be located by a title or keyword search in the Cornell online catalog. Contents of each volume of the MGH original older series as well as an index by author and title/subject can be found in "Indices eorvm qvae Monvmentorvm Germaniae historicorvm temis hvcvsqve editis continentvr." Scripservnt O. Holder-Egger et K. Zevmer. Hannoverae, Impensis bibliopolii Hahniani; [etc., etc.] 1890. Call Number: Olin Room 404 +DD3.M81 Z5). For a comprehensive online catalog of the all the print volumes, try: Monumenta Germaniae Historica For a good overview of this complex series, try "Guide to the Sources of Medieval History," Call number: Olin Reference Z6517 .C12, pp. 220-.
  • Monumenta Germaniae Historica online (eMGH) Incomplete. Selected texts from the five divisions of Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Scriptores, Leges, Diplomata, Epistolae, Antiquitates). As of fall 2007 only includes 800 texts.

Dictionaries

  • Database of Latin Dictionaries Incomplete and in progress. The aim of the database is not only to integrate different types of Latin dictionaries, whether modern, medieval or early-modern, but also to build in links between these different tools. Where the dictionaries provide Latin terms and vernacular equivalents or explanations (whether in contemporary or historic forms of English, French or German), searches will be possible on both the Latin lemmata and the English, French or German lemmata.
  • The Dictionary of Old English Corpus Also on CD-Rom in Olin Library. Call number: Reference Disk PE279 .D53 2003 Incomplete and in progress
  • Middle English Compendium The MEC provides access to and interconnectivity between three major Middle English electronic resources: an electronic version of the Middle English dictionary; a "hyperbibliography" of Middle English prose and verse, based on the MED bibliographies; and an associated network of electronic resources.
  • Vetus Latina database: Bible versions of the Latin Fathers German interface. Comprehensive patristic records of the Vetus Latina Institute in Beuron. Complete information about the project

Guides to Sources

  • Répertoire des sources historiques du moyen âge Call Number: Olin Reference Z6203 .C52 + Formerly of first importance for the literature of medieval history, still useful for its biographical orientation. The first part is arranged alphabetically by personal name (in the French form), the second by place and topic. Under each name, references are given to sources. An immense mass of material is indexed, but without critical indication of value.
  • Typologie des sources du Moyen Age occidental Call Number: Olin Library Graduate Study Center, Room 501 Z6203 .T99 Samples: Les statuts synodaux.--fasc. 12; Letters and letter-collections.--fasc. 18; Les "Libri paenitentiales".--fasc. 28; Local and regional chronicles -- Fasc. 75.
  • Medieval studies: an introduction Call Number: Olin Reference Z6517 .M48 1992 Essays on all aspects of medieval studies with bibliographies.
  • A guide to the study of medieval history Call Number: Uris Library and Library Annex Z6203 .P12 1931 A classic, prepared under the auspices of the Medieval Academy of America; concentrates on Western Europe and excludes England.
  • Guide to the sources of medieval history Call Number: Olin Reference Z6517 .C12 Five sections--1. Typology of the sources of medieval history, 2. Libraries and archives, i.e. repositories of medieval manuscripts, 3. Great collections and repertories of sources, 4. Reference works for the study of medieval texts, 5. Bibliographical introduction to the auxiliary sciences of history.
  • Literature of medieval history, 1930-1975: a supplement to Louis John Paetow's A guide to the study of medieval history Call Number: Library Annex Z6203 .P12 1931 Suppl. As the title suggests, an expanded, updated version of Paetow's Guide.
  • Repertorium fontium historiae Medii Aevi, primum ab Augusto Potthast digestum, nunc cura collegii historicorum e pluribus nationibus emendatum et auctum Call Number: Olin Reference Z6203 .P86 1962 + The first volume is an alphabetical listing of sets of chronicles, miscellanies, and other collections, together with their contents of sources of medieval history up to 1500. The "Fontes" section offers a repertory of medieval writings arranged by individual author's name or anonymous title of the chronicle or document treated. (Balay, 1996).
  • << Previous: Articles
  • Next: Manuscripts >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 31, 2024 3:59 PM
  • URL: https://guides.library.cornell.edu/medieval

Please enable JavaScript in your web browser to get the best experience.

Home

You are here:

  • Library & Digital
  • Collections

Medieval History Collections

Find out more about the extensive Medieval History Collections in the IHR Wohl Library. We collect historical sources, reference works and guides to finding and using sources. This page shows examples from the collections.

  • Share page on Twitter
  • Share page on Facebook
  • Share page on LinkedIn

British Library Additional 14761 f. 28v, Spain c. 1340 http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=52862

Introduction

The collections on medieval history are one of the strengths of the IHR library. The collections focus on editions of primary sources, alongside complementary aids to study such as reference works, guides and historiography. 

There are sections on medieval history across the library. Collections are both geographically-arranged (for example within the French collection, works on Medieval France are at classmark EF.2) and thematically-arranged (for example Medieval Military history at W.41). The local and regional history sections (e.g., ENL Low Countries, ESR Spain) also contain particularly rich sources on medieval history. Material is collected both in language of origin and translations, and language dictionaries and guides are available. Online resources are included within the relevant sections of this guide and as a separate section at the end. 

For the purposes of this guide, we are using an end date of around 1500 varying from region to region based on political changes and dynasties. There is a complementary guide covering Early modern history [to link here]. This guide is arranged in three sections: Primary sources with subsections on types of source, Selected themes such as Medieval Women and Travel writing and Secondary Works including bibliographies, guides and historiography.  

The collections are complemented by material at Senate House Library and the Warburg Institute Library . For the very early middle ages readers will also find useful material in the  Institute of Classical Studies Library which covers late antiquity. 

Image credit: "a miniature depicting a family by the Seder table with the master of the house placing the basket of unleavened bread on the head of one of his children", from British Library Additional 14761 f. 28v , Spain c. 1340.

Finding within the Library

Collection arrangement.

Collections within the library each have a letter, followed by a numerical sequence (decimal numbers are used, arranged as if after a decimal point, so for example ER.53 comes after ER.504). Each national collection has a sequence of local and regional material following the general sequence. The main areas with medieval sections and the corresponding classmarks are as follows: 

  • Austria  (to 1556): EA.291
  • Britain and England : General sections with medieval material: B.0 Bibliographies/guides, B.2 Biography, B.3-4 Law and Parliament, B.5 England to 1485, BC English local history 
  • Byzantium : EV 
  • Crusades : EU 
  • France ( to 1483): EF.2
  • General history : E.1 Historiography and Methodology, E.2 Reference works, E.41-46 Carolingian and Holy Roman Empire, E.6 Sources and Secondary works Medieval 
  • Germany  to 1517: EG.2  
  • Italy  to c. 1494: EI.2
  • Ireland to 1540: BI.4  
  • Jewish history : EY.092 and EY.2 
  • Low Countries to 1555 : EN.31-37  
  • Mediterranean world : EM 
  • Military : W.41 History of Naval and Military operations Ancient and Medieval
  • Portugal to 1580: EP.2
  • Religious history : ER. Includes sections on Patristics ER.2, Saints and Hagiography ER.4, Theology ER.4, Papacy: ER.5, Medieval Papacy ER.504, Papal Letter and Registers ER.53, Monasticism ER.6-7, Aspects of Religious life: liturgy, pilgrimage, Heresy and the Inquisition ER.8. Source material on religious establishments is also found in the relevant national collections. 
  • Scandinavia : ED arranged by country 
  • Scotland : BS.2 to 1542 
  • Spain to 1516: ES.2 
  • Wales to 1536: BW.2

Further Help

Contact us  if you would like help on finding or using our collections, or if you have any comments or suggestions about the content of this guide. We are happy to help.

You can also join the library and book a  help session .

Highlights from the Collections: Primary Sources

General collections of sources.

Included here are some freely available online collections as well as print editions. Examples are:

  • English Historical Documents
  • Oxford Medieval Texts
  • British History Online  (mostly free and access to subscription content within library)
  • Internet medieval sourcebook  (online)
  • EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History  (online)
  • Monumenta Germaniae Historica shelved at classmark EGM, organized by series. Further information can be found on the MGH guide .
  • Collection de documents inédits sur l’histoire de France.
  • Deutsches Archiv für Geschichte des Mittelalters
  • Fonti per la storia d’italia
  • Regesta Imperii and online version
  • Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France
  • Rerum Italicarum scriptores
  • Colección de documentos inéditos para la historia de España
  • Textos medievales

Church Records

Examples are:

  • Patrologia Latina print and electronic  
  • Acta Sanctorum print and electronic
  • Corpus Christianorum  
  • Regesta pontificum Romanorum  
  • Papal Letters, various editions including  Ut per litteras apostolicas
  • English episcopal acta
  • Papsturkunden in Frankreich : Neue Folge 
  • York's Archbishops Registers Revealed  (online) Free access to over 20,000 images of Registers produced by the Archbishops of York, 1225-1650
  • Rolls Series Rerum Britannicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores  
  • Annals of Ulster  
  • Chroniken der deutschen städte vom 14. bis in's 16. Jahrhundert  
  • Les grandes chroniques de France  
  • Collection de chroniques belges inédites  
  • Colección de crónicas españolas  

British and Irish Law and Government

  • Statutes of the Realm
  • Parliament Rolls of Medieval England
  • Inquisitions post mortem
  • Calendar of the charter rolls . Further information
  • Calendar of Close Rolls . Further information
  • Calendar of the Patent Rolls . Further information: National Archives website ; IHR blog post
  • Calendar of the Fine Rolls and Henry III Fine Rolls Project
  • Selden Society Publications
  • Curia Regis rolls
  • The acts of Welsh rulers 1120-1283
  • Regesta Regum Scottorum
  • Register of Edward, the Black Prince
  • Giraldi Cambrensis Opera
  • English Medieval Legal Documents Database  (online)

Charters and other Landholding Sources

Some examples:

  • Domesday: Various editions including  Alecto edition of Domesday book  and  Exon: The Domesday Survey of South-West England  (online)
  • Anglo Saxon charters
  • Early Yorkshire charters
  • The Electronic Sawyer: Online catalogue of Anglo-Saxon charters  (online)
  • Scripta: Database of Norman Medieval documents "a large corpus of medieval norman charters dating from the 10th to the 13th Century" (online)
  • El llibre de privilegis de Castelló de la Plana, 1245-1470
  • Diplomatarium islandicum
  • Urkunden und Regesten zur Geschichte des Templerordens im Bereich des Bistums Cammin und der Kirchenprovinz Gnesen

The collections include editions of letters, both of individuals and compilations. There are also some secondary works about medieval letter-writing. Examples include:

  • Letters of medieval Jewish traders  
  • Lost letters of medieval life : English society, 1200-1250  
  • Christ church letters : A volume of mediaeval letters relating to the affairs of the priory of Christ church Canterbury  
  • Calendar of the letters of Arnaud Aubert, Camerarius Apostolicus 1361-1371 
  • Calendar of letters from the Mayor and Corporation of the City of London, circa A.D.1350-1370 
  • The Cely letters, 1472-1488  
  • Epistolari de la València medieval  
  • The letter collections of Nicholas of Clairvaux  
  • The letters of the queens of England, 1066-1547  
  • The letters and poems of Fulbert of Chartres  
  • The letters of Catherine of Siena  
  • Letters of Margaret of Anjou  
  • Merovingian letters and letter writers  
  • Paston letters and papers of the fifteenth century  
  • The Plumpton letters and papers  
  • The letters of the Rožmberk sisters : noblewomen in fifteenth-century Bohemia  
  • Epistolae: Medieval Women's Letters  (online)

Local and Regional History

These are a rich source of medieval history. Examples include:

  • Business contracts of medieval Provence : selected notulae from the cartulary of Giraud Amalric of Marseilles, 1248  
  • Medieval Bruges, c. 850-1550  
  • De Oorkonden van de Sint-Baafsabdij te Gent (819-1321)  
  • Zwolse regesten 
  • De heren van de kerk : de kanunniken van Oudmunster te Utrecht in de late middeleeuwen 
  • Victoria County History . Full text of many of the volumes available on British History Online . 
  • The court rolls of the Manor of Wakefield : from September 1348 to September 1350
  • Calendar of Antrobus deeds before 1625  
  • Surveys of the estates of Glastonbury Abbey, c. 1135-1201  

Place-names

The library collections include place name reference works which document place-names and allow their origins to be traced. Some examples:

  • English Place-Name Society volumes
  • Key to English Place-Names (online)
  • Toponymie générale de la France : etymologie de 35,000 noms de lieux
  • Diccionario de topónimos españoles y sus gentilicios
  • De Vlaamse waternamen : verklarend en geïllustreerd woordenboek

Military History

This includes items in the main miltary section W.41 and also in the crusades section EU 

  • Medieval warfare sourcebook  
  • Encyclopedia of the hundred years war  
  • Records of the medieval sword  
  • Anglo Norman warfare  
  • The Battle of Hastings : sources and interpretations  
  • Alfred's wars : sources and interpretations of Anglo-Saxon warfare in the Viking age  
  • Baldric of Bourgueil 'History of the Jerusalemites' : a translation of the 'Historia Ierosolimitana'  
  • Bayeux Tapestry (online)

Highlights from the Collection: Secondary Works

Bibliographies, catalogues, guides.

Ranging from general to subject specific they are a good way of locating publications and learning more about how to use sources. Each section of the library has sections for bibliographies and guides to sources near the beginning. 

  • International Medieval Bibliography  
  • Bibliography of British and Irish History
  • Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain and Ireland  
  • Makers and users of medieval books : essays in honour of A. S. G. Edwards  
  • Literature of the crusades
  • Corpus catalogorum Belgii : the medieval booklists of the southern Low Countries  
  • Understanding medieval primary sources : using historical sources to discover medieval Europe  
  • Introduction aux sources de l'histoire médiévale
  • Ruling the script in the middle ages : formal apsects of written communication (books, charters, and inscriptions) 
  • Le catalogue médiéval de l'abbaye cistercienne de Clairmarais et les manuscrits conservés 
  • A critical companion to English 'Mappae Mundi' of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
  • L'atelier du médiéviste
  • Archives Portal Europe (online) 

Biographical Works

Most of the library’s sections include biographical listings, both general resources such as National Biographical dictionaries, and themed listings such as by trade, religious office holders or listings of aristocratic households. Examples are: 

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (both print and online ) 
  • Dictionary of Welsh Biography (online)
  • Dizionario biografico degli Italiani  
  • Neue Deutsche Biographie
  • Who's who in the Middle Ages
  • Extraordinary women of the medieval and Renaissance world : a biographical dictionary  
  • An annotated index of medieval women 
  • History of Parliament 1386-1421  and online  
  • Religious office holders, e.g. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae , The heads of religious houses, England and Wales  
  • Registers of students within histories of universities, see Culture and Learning section . 
  • Dictionnaire des sculpteurs français du Moyen Age  
  • The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (online) 
  • England’s Immigrants 1330-1550 (online) 
  • A handlist of the Latin writers of Great Britain and Ireland before 1540 

The collections also include some biographies of individuals e.g. B.58 British collection

Dictionaries and Reference Works

Within the library, dictionaries are available at the beginning of the general and other sections. Online versions of medieval language dictionaries are also listed below. 

  • Logeion Includes The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources  
  • Anglo-Norman Dictionary
  • Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary
  • Middle English Compendium

Reference works and encyclopedias

  • Dictionary of the Middle Ages
  • Lexikon des Mittelalters print and online
  • The new Cambridge medieval history
  • A dictionary of medieval terms and phrases
  • Medieval France : an encyclopedia
  • The encyclopedia of the medieval chronicle
  • Encyclopedia of the hundred years war
  • Encyclopedia of medieval pilgrimage
  • Medieval Ireland : an encyclopedia
  • Medieval Iberia : an encyclopedia
  • Medieval Jewish civilization : an encyclopedia
  • Trade, travel and exploration in the middle ages : an encyclopedia
  • The Blackwell encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England

Historiography and Methodology

There are general works at classmark E.1 and subject-specific works within other collections. They range from historiography, methodology, works about individual historians, medievalism and the interpretation of medieval history. Examples are:

  • What is medieval history?
  • Writing medieval history
  • Medievalisms in the postcolonial world : the idea of the "Middle Ages" outside Europe
  • The Vikings reimagined : reception, recovery, engagement (on order)
  • Chronicling history : chroniclers and historians in medieval and Renaissance Italy
  • In their own words : practices of quotation in early medieval history-writing
  • Arabische Historiographie der Gegenwart
  • Universal chronicles in the high middle ages
  • Bede's Historiae : genre, rhetoric and the construction of Anglo-Saxon church history
  • A woman in history : Eileen Power, 1889-1940
  • Anna Komnene : the life and work of a medieval historian

Secondary Texts

The library doesn’t generally collect secondary material but some works are held where they are considered useful guides to the sources or have source-based appendices. We actively collect Festschriften. A few examples:

  • The medieval world / edited by Peter Linehan and Janet L. Nelson
  • Freedom of movement in the middle ages : proceedings of the 2003 Harlaxton Symposium
  • The Cambridge history of medieval political thought c. 350-c. 1450
  • Domesday : book of judgement
  • Writing medieval biography, 750-1250 : essays in honour of Professor Frank Barlow
  • Album Helen Maud Cam

Periodicals

The most recent years of most of our journals are on open shelves in the Current Periodicals room. Earlier issues can be ordered from the stack. Many are also available online within the building via the links on the catalogue. Bibliography of British and Irish History and JSTOR are examples of the online databases that can be used to locate journal articles. Examples of medieval history periodicals are listed below, but articles will be found across periodicals on many subjects:

  • Anglo Norman studies
  • Cambrian medieval celtic studies
  • Anglo-Saxon England
  • Early medieval Europe
  • Journal of medieval history
  • The journal of medieval military history
  • Journal of the Haskins Society : studies in medieval history
  • Medieval prosopography
  • Fourteenth century England  

Selected Themes

Medieval women.

Insights about the lives of medieval women are found within many primary sources across the collections. There are also compilations of sources on the subject, and some secondary works. Finding items in sources require some digging and knowledge of the likely places. Secondary works and collections of sources on the subject can be found using subject and keyword searches on the catalogue. Some examples: 

Collections of writings

  • The writings of medieval women : an anthology  
  • Women's lives in medieval Europe : a sourcebook
  • Medieval writings on secular women  
  • The letters of the queens of England, 1066-1547

Individual women or families

  • Letters of Margaret of Anjou
  • The Paston women : selected letters  
  • A companion to The book of Margery Kempe  

Women and religion

  • Guidance for women in twelfth-century convents  
  • Women's Books of hours in medieval England  
  • Saints Edith and Æthelthryth : princesses, miracle workers, and their late medieval audience : the Wilton Chronicle and the Wilton Life of St Æthelthryth  
  • The white nuns : Cistercian abbeys for women in medieval France
  • Religious women in medieval East Anglia : history and archaeology c1100-1540  

Spaces and objects

  • Gender in medieval places, spaces and thresholds  (open access) 
  • Medieval women and their objects  
  • Dress accessories c.1150 - c.1450
  • "For the salvation of my soul": women and wills in medieval and early modern France  (online)
  • Frauenstimmen in der spätmittelalterlichen Stadt? : Testamente von Frauen aus Lüneburg, Hamburg und Wien als soziale Kommunikation
  • The will of Aethelgifu : a tenth century Anglo-Saxon manuscript

Secondary works

  • Ale, beer and brewsters in England : women's work in a changing world, 1300-1600  
  • Motherhood, religion, and society in medieval Europe, 400-1400 : essays presented to Henrietta Leyser  
  • Popular memory and gender in medieval England : men, women and testimony in the church courts, c.1200-1500  
  • Medieval Italy, medieval and early modern women : essays in honour of Christine Meek  
  • Medieval women : texts and contexts in late medieval Britain : essays for Felicity Riddy
  • The Welsh law of women : studies presented to Professor Daniel A. Binchy on his eightieth birthday, 3 June 1980
  • Queen Emma and Queen Edith : queenship and women's power in eleventh-century England  
  • Women in the medieval English countryside : gender and household in Brigstock before the plague  

Travel Writing

These can be found both within the general travel and exploration sections (classmark C) and within the collections for the place being described. They include textual sources, maps and other trade and travel sources. Examples include: 

  • A traveller in thirteenth-century Arabia : Ibn al-Mujāwir's Tārīkh al-mustabṣir  
  • Mandeville’s travels (several editions) 
  • The voyages of the Venetian brothers, Nicolò & Antonio Zeno, to the northern seas in the XIVth century  
  • Quellen zur Geschichte des Reisens im Spätmittelalter  
  • Marco Polo’s Le devisement du monde: Edition and Simon Gaunt’s Marco Polo's Le devisement du monde : narrative voice, language and diversity  
  • The travels of Ibn Jubayr : a medieval journey from Cordoba to Jerusalem  
  • Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages : a reader   
  • Cathay and the way thither : being a collection of medieval notices of China  
  • Trade, travel and exploration in the middle ages : an encyclopedia  
  • Historical atlas of the Islamic world
  • A critical companion to English 'Mappae Mundi' of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries  
  • Local maps and plans from medieval England  

Clothing and Textiles

Examples include sources on clothing, laws on clothing and the textile trade, archaeological sources and secondary works. There will also be many examples within more general sources. See also the Fashion history guide .

  • The medieval clothier  
  • The right to dress : sumptuary laws in a global perspective, c. 1200-1800  
  • Cloth and clothing in medieval Europe : essays in memory of Professor E.M. Carus-Wilson  
  • Advance contracts for the sale of wool, c. 1200-c. 1327  
  • The Merchant Taylors of York : a history of the crafts and company from the fourteenth to the twentieth century  
  • Registre des délibérations et ordonnances des marchands merciers de Paris, 1596-1696  
  • Statuti dell'Arte dei rigattieri e linaioli di Firenze (1296-1340)  
  • Fleming, R, Acquiring, flaunting and destroying silk in late Anglo-Saxon England in Early Medieval Europe (2007)

Examples of descriptions from within sources:

  • Descriptions of the prescribed apparel for Servants, Esquires and Gentlemen, Merchants, Knights, the Clergy and Ploughmen in Statutes of the Realm , 37 Edward III c.8-15 1363
  • "A statute was approved during the parliament to prohibit the export of wool, while seeking to encourage the manufacture of cloth in England... No one was to use foreign made cloth, except the king, queen and their children" ( Parliament Rolls of Medieval England , 1337 March, Vol. 4 p.230)

Building and Households

The collection includes both primary sources such as estate and building records and secondary works. See also the separate Architectural History collections guide . Examples are:

Primary sources

  • The building accounts of Tattershall castle : 1434-1472
  • Building accounts of King Henry III
  • Building accounts of All Souls College Oxford, 1438-1443
  • London plotted : plans of London buildings c.1450-1720
  • The Plan of St. Gall : a study of the architecture & economy of & life in a paradigmatic Carolingian monastery
  • The medieval household : daily living c.1150-c.1450
  • Norwich households : the medieval and post-medieval finds from Norwich Survey excavations, 1971-1978
  • Household accounts from medieval England. Part 1, Introduction, Glossary, Diet Accounts

Reference and secondary works

  • The Pevsner Buildings of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales series
  • English mediaeval architects : a biographical dictionary down to 1550
  • The elite household in England, 1100-1550 : proceedings of the 2016 Harlaxton Symposium
  • Anglo-Saxon architecture
  • A gazetteer of medieval houses in Kent
  • The medieval peasant house in Midland England
  • Scottish abbeys : an introduction to the mediaeval abbeys and priories of Scotland
  • Jewish heritage in England : an architectural guide
  • The English Mediaeval House
  • Greater medieval houses of England and Wales 1300-1500
  • The early Norman castles of the British Isles
  • Arts of the medieval cathedrals : studies on architecture, stained glass and sculpture in honor of Anne Prache  
  • Mainz and the middle Rhine Valley : medieval art, architecture and archaeology

Education and Learning

There are sections within individual areas on this theme, also a large collection on the history of universities (including biographical listings) and, within the Religious history collection , works on monasticism and religious orders. 

Examples of Histories of universities and alumni listings 

  • Die Matrikel der Universität Wien  
  • Die Matrikel der Universität Köln  
  • Die Matrikel der Universität Heidelberg von 1386 bis 1870  
  • A biographical register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500  
  • History of the University of Oxford  
  • A history of the University of Cambridge  
  • Alumni cantabrigienses: a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900 print and online version . 

Examples of other works:

  • University records and life in the Middle Ages 
  • The universities of Europe in the Middle Ages  
  • English schools in the Middle Ages  
  • Teaching and learning in medieval Europe : essays in honour of Gernot R. Wieland  
  • The church and learning in later medieval society : essays in honour of R.B. Dobson  
  • Writing history in the Anglo-Norman world : manuscripts, makers and readers, c. 1066-c. 1250  
  • Medieval libraries of Great Britain : a list of surviving books  
  • The Cambridge history of libraries in Britain and Ireland  

Food and Drink

There are references to food in many of the primary sources in the collections. Listed below are some examples of secondary works on the subject. See also the Guide to Food History Collections

  • Food and eating in medieval Europe  
  • Food, craft, and status in medieval Winchester : the plant and animal remains from the suburbs and city defences  
  • The book of Sent Soví : medieval recipes from Catalonia 
  • Medieval cookery : recipes and history  
  • A medieval capital and its grain supply : agrarian production and distribution in the London region c.1300  
  • Medieval masterchef : archaeological and historical perspectives on eastern cuisine and western foodways  
  • Agrarian history of England and Wales

Online Resources

Subscription online resources  are available within the building. See also the medieval section in  Open and Free Access Materials for Research . Free online resources are also included in the relevant sections above.

A few examples: 

  • International Medieval Bibliography
  • Acta Sanctorum
  • British History Online
  • Gatehouse: A comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales and the Islands
  • The Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture  
  • Historic England Archive
  • Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources
  • The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England
  • England’s Immigrants 1330-1550
  • Logeion  includes The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources  
  • English place-names
  • English medieval coins
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme database

Other Collections

  • ​​​​​​British Library
  • National Library of Scotland
  • National Library of Wales
  • National Archives
  • Bodleian Libraries
  • Warburg Institute
  • Senate House Library
  • Institute of Classical Studies

Related Content

medieval history research topics

European History 1150-1550

medieval history research topics

Earlier Middle Ages

Winding Stair

Interdisciplinary Seminar on Medievalism

The Interdisciplinary Seminar on Medievalism meets regularly to consider imaginings, re-imaginings and evocation of the Middle Ages...

Guy de Lusignan and Saladin in Battle

Crusades and the Latin East

medieval history research topics

Italy 1200-1700

White Tower Chapel

London Society for Medieval Studies

Founded in 1970/1, the London Society for Medieval Studies seeks to foster knowledge of, and dialogue about, the Middle Ages (c.500–c.1500 CE)...

medieval history research topics

Late Medieval

Volumes of the MGH

The Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH)

Find out more about the series Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH) in the IHR Wohl Library

Global Medieval Studies

  • Start Your Research
  • Find Books & Articles

Published Primary Sources

Primary source databases, archives & special collections, related research guides.

  • Find Background Information
  • Research Languages
  • Research Medieval Literature
  • Cite Sources

A lot of primary sources are published in books and you can use library catalogs like HoyaSearch to locate them.

This link will take you to a list of published primary sources about the medieval period.>

The Library of Congress tags every book that is published in the US with subject headings. There are several subject headings that are used for primary source materials, such as

  • Description and travel
  • Personal narratives
  • Correspondence

A more complete explanation is listed here . When you do a search in HoyaSearch (or another library catalog like  WorldCat ), try using one of these terms as a SUBJECT search and then adding in a keyword. Your keywords might have to be pretty broad, as you are only searching a very small amount of information about the books - NOT the full text of them.

If you find a book that is relevant for your topic, make sure you look at the subject headings by clicking on the full record tab in HoyaSearch. This will give you other good search terms. The Library of Congress often uses strange vocabulary, and you'll get better results if you can use it effectively.

  • Acta Sanctorum This link opens in a new window Electronic version of the complete printed text of Acta Sanctorum, from the edition published in sixty-eight volumes by the Société des Bollandistes in Antwerp and Brussels. It is a collection of documents examining the lives of saints, organised according to each saint's feast day, and runs from the two January volumes published in 1643 to the Propylaeum to December published in 1940. The Acta Sanctorum Database contains the entire Acta Sanctorum, including all prefatory material, original texts, critical apparatus and indices. Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina reference numbers, essential references for scholars, are also included.
  • Angelica: Art and Culture This link opens in a new window More than 90,000 textual descriptions and 8,000 digital images of thousands of art slides in the collection of the department of Art, Music and Theater. Database will eventually include other humanities-based images found in the University community (e.g., archaeology slides in the Classics department collection). The database is for the exclusive educational use only of faculty and students at Georgetown University. A NetID is required for access. Materials, text and image are copyrighted.
  • ARTstor This link opens in a new window Comprehensive digital library containing images of artworks, photographs, architecture, decorative arts, rare books, and items from popular culture. Images may be viewed live in ARTstor or offline in ARTstor's downloadable image viewer.
  • ATLA Historical Monographs Collection: Series 1 This link opens in a new window E-books on religion curated by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA), covering the 13th century through 1893.
  • Bloomsbury Medieval Studies This link opens in a new window Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is an interdisciplinary digital resource with a global perspective which opens up the medieval world for students and scholars. It brings together high-quality secondary content with visual primary sources, a brand new reference work and material culture images into one cross-searchable platform, to support this rich field of study.
  • British History Online A "digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles."
  • Catalogue of Digitzed Medieval Manuscripts Search or browse for digitized medieval manuscripts from archives and libraries worldwide.
  • Digital Index of Middle English Verse (DIMEV) The DIMEV provides transcriptions of the first two and last two lines of each witness of each Middle English verse text (i.e., for all witnesses for which this data has thus far been collected).
  • Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts This link opens in a new window Full-text collection of theological writings, biblical commentaries, confessional documents and polemical treatises written by more than 300 Protestant authors.
  • Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation This link opens in a new window Full-text collection of 16th- and 17th-century Catholic papal and synodal decrees, catechisms and inquisitorial manuals, biblical commentaries, theological treatises and systems, liturgical writings, saints' lives and devotional works.
  • Early English Books Online (EEBO) This link opens in a new window Features page images of almost every work printed in the British Isles and North America, as well as works in English printed elsewhere from 1470-1700. From the first book printed in English through to the ages of Spenser, Shakespeare and of the English Civil War, EEBO's content draws on authoritative and respected short-title catalogues of the period and features a substantial number of text transcriptions.
  • Epistolae Epistolae is a collection of letters to and from women dating from the 4th to the 13th century AD. These letters from the Middle Ages, written in Latin, are presented with English translations and are organized by the women participating. Biographical sketches of the women and descriptions of the subject matter or the historic context of the letter is included where available.
  • EuroDocs: History of Medieval and Renaissance Europe European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated.
  • Europeana This link opens in a new window Online access to paintings, music, films and books from Europe's galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
  • Gallica This link opens in a new window Digital library of French and francophone culture maintained by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Contains electronic texts, images, maps, animation, and sound files of French and other publications in history, literature, science, philosophy, law, economics, and political science. Almost all "classic" works of French literature are represented.
  • Global Medieval Sourcebook An open-access, digital repository of Medieval texts from Stanford University. It offers a flexible online display for the parallel viewing of medieval texts in their original language, in new English translations, and in their digitized manuscript form.
  • Global Middle Ages An international collaborative effort to visualize the world, c. 500 to 1500 CE, the stories of lives, objects, and actions in terms of dynamic relationship and change across time. From the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Internet Medieval Sourcebook Full-text primary sources on a variety of topics.
  • Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies An extensive directory of links in medieval studies, covering graphics, texts, manuscripts, and other forms of media. Describes medieval culture in the British Isles, France, Germany, Iberia, Italy, and Scandinavia. Addresses archaeology, arts and architecture, general medieval history, Latin, manuscripts, music, philosophy and theology, social and religious history, and the sciences.
  • Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online This link opens in a new window Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO) is an essential resource for the study of Britain and its place in the world during the medieval and early modern period (c. 1100-1800).
  • Medieval Family Life This link opens in a new window Medieval Family Life contains full-color images of the original medieval manuscripts that comprise the Paston, Cely, Plumpton, Stonor, and Armburgh family letter collections, along with full-text searchable transcripts from printed editions. Also includes family trees, chronology, a map, and a glossary.
  • Medieval Travel Writing This link opens in a new window Provides an extensive collection of manuscript materials for the study of medieval travel writing in fact and in fantasy. The main focus is accounts of journeys to the Holy Land, India and China. The core of the material is a magnificent collection of medieval manuscripts from libraries across Europe and dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries.
  • Middle English Compendium This link opens in a new window Provides links among three major Middle English electronic resources: an electronic version of the Middle English Dictionary (MED), a HyperBibliography of Middle English prose and verse (based on the MED bibliographies), and other related electronic resources including a collection of more than 50 Middle English texts. more... less... Middle English Dictionary: The print version (LAU Stacks and Cataloging PE679 .M54), now nearing completion, has been described as "the greatest achievement in medieval scholarship in America," offering a comprehensive analysis of lexicon and usage for the period 1100-1500. HyperBibliography of Middle English: Includes all the Middle English materials cited in the MED. Titles were adopted from A Manual of the Writings in Middle English (LAU Ref PR255 .S4). Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse: A growing collection of Middle English electronic texts eventually to include all editions of Middle English texts used in the MED and the more recent scholarly editions that may have superseded them.
  • Online Medieval and Classical Library Provides online access to authoritative modern English translations of some of the most famous and studied medieval texts.
  • Parker Library Digitized manuscripts spanning from the sixth-century Gospels of St. Augustine to sixteenth-century records relating to the English Reformation.
  • Past Masters This link opens in a new window Provides scholarly complete editions of classics (or selections from classics) in philosophy, literature, political science and economics. Examples of authors include Aristotle, Machiavelli, Shelley, Mill, Hume, Nietzsche, Bronte and Adam Smith. In English translation and/or the original language.
  • Post-Reformation Digital Library The Post-Reformation Digital Library (PRDL) is a select database that organizes the vast array of publicly available digital sources on the development of theology and philosophy during the early modern era (late 15th-18th c.).
  • Vatican Library: Digitized Collections
  • Witchcraft in Europe and America This link opens in a new window The earliest texts in this comprehensive collection on witchcraft date from the 15th century and the latest are from the early 20th century. The majority of the material concerns the 16th to 18th centuries, the so-called "classic period." In addition to these classic texts, the collection includes anti-persecution writings, works by penologists, legal and church documents, exposés of persecutions, and philosophical writings and transcripts of trials and exorcisms. Part of Archives Unbound .
  • ArchiveGrid A searchable collection of finding aids to primary source material held in archives, special collections, and manuscript collections around the world. Includes historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more.
  • GU Special Collections in European History Overview of materials that relate to European History in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.
  • GU Special Collections in the Book Arts Overview of materials that relate to the Book Arts, including medieval manuscripts, in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections..
  • Booth Family Center for Special Collections
  • Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts at Georgetown by Ted Jackson Last Updated Aug 15, 2022 58 views this year
  • Hand-written Manuscripts: Learn to Read Guide by Special Collections Staff Last Updated Mar 1, 2021 33 views this year
  • << Previous: Find Books & Articles
  • Next: Find Background Information >>
  • Last Updated: Nov 29, 2023 3:53 PM
  • URL: https://guides.library.georgetown.edu/medieval

Creative Commons

  • Directories
  • Books & eBooks
  • Encyclopedias
  • Primary Sources
  • Start Your Research
  • Research Guides
  • University of Washington Libraries
  • Library Guides
  • UW Libraries
  • History : Medieval

History : Medieval: Articles

Sample journals: Mediaevalia, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Journal of Medieval History, Early Medieval Europe and Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies

Find Articles on Medieval History

The International Medieval Bibliography is the best database to use when looking for academic journal articles and book chapters in the field of medieval European history.

Access for all on-campus; login required from off-campus

  • Oxford Bibliographies: Medieval Studies Scholar selected articles and books on a range of topics in medieval studies

Link your search terms using the AND connector. For example: leprosy and england . On the search results screen, use the options on the left toolbar to narrow your search results. To find the fulltext of the article (if not provided directly in the database), click on the "Check for Full Text" button and work your way through the screens. Not all articles will be online, some may only be in print, others may not be available at the UW. Articles from journals which the UW does not own can be requested via  Interlibrary loan .

Other Useful Databases

  • Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index
  • Google Scholar
  • << Previous: Home
  • Next: Books & eBooks >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 1, 2024 2:19 PM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/history-medieval

Department of History

Professor Whalen’s Medieval Research Page

At the start of a research paper, rather than “forming a thesis” or an argument, really what you’re doing is “asking a question.” After all, how can you form a proper argument  before  you’ve read the materials?

Let’s say that you’re interested in the First Crusade and Christian attitudes toward Muslims. What you are essentially asking is a basic research question: What was the importance of the First Crusade for Christian attitudes toward Muslims? How did the crusade change (or not) Christian views of Islam? From here, you might develop an entire set of related questions: How did Christians view Islam before the First Crusade? Did the clergy on the crusade view Muslims in a different way from the laity? Did crusader views of Muslims inform their perceptions of other non-Christians, such as Jews?

To find some answers, you might investigate some Christian chronicles of the First Crusade. Unless you know Latin, you’ll need to read them in translation. Thus the search begins.

Reference Works(Davis Library Reference Section)

Dictionary of the Middle Ages.  Ed. Strayer. 13 vols. 1982–1988. D114 .D5 1982

Encyclopedia of Early Christianity.  Ed. Ferguson. 2 vols. 1997. BR162.2 .E53 1997

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages.  Ed. Vauchez. 2 vols. 2000. CB351 .E53 2000

Women in the Middle Ages.  Ed. Wilson and Margolis. 2004. HQ1143 .W643 2004

You might also start out by looking at a survey of your topic. In this case, for example, you could find a lot of basic information in Jonathan-Riley Smith,  The Crusades:A Short History  (New Haven, 1987).

Medieval Sources in Translation (Davis Library Stacks)

  • Author’s name (Guibert of Nogent / Fulcher of Chartres / etc.)
  • Genre (e.g. sermons / chronicles / theology / apologetics / polemics / etc.)
  • Subject (e.g. crusades / predestination / resurrection / marriage / etc.)
  • Series titles (Medieval Texts and Studies / Medieval Texts in Translation / Oxford Medieval Texts / Crusade Texts in Translation / etc.)
  • Some helpful tags: early works to 1800 / sources / translated / translation / English

If you’re searching for primary sources, you might also try the following site at Fordham, the Medieval Sources Bibliography .

After clicking on “Search the Site,” pay special attention to the search parameters: If you already know the name of your author (e.g. Guibert of Nogent), you can search that way. Be sure to click on the box “Translated into English.” There is an option to limit your dates (for example, onoy primary sources written between the years 1000–1200); and a menu for Subject Headings (which includes the Crusades).

Finally, there are two somewhat dated bibliographies of English sources in translation, both available in the David stacks:

Farrar, Clarissa Palmer. Bibliography of English translations from medieval sources. New York, Columbia university press, 1946. Z6517.F3 c. 2 Ferguson, Mary Anne. Bibliography of English translations from medieval sources, 1943–1967. Series: Records of civilization, sources and studies ; no. 88. New York, Columbia University Press, 1974. Z6517.F47. Finally, one can get started searching for sources consulting the Medieval Internet Sourcebook, which includes citations to print versions of the primary sources on the website (typically, in my assignments, students cannot rely exclusively on the Medieval Internet Sourcebook, but it might get you started in your hunt).

Search Engines for Scholarly Articles

The International Medieval Bibliography (IMB): a top-notch search engine for secondary literature, updated to include all but the most recent articles. NOTE: unlike JSTOR, the site does not include actual articles, but provides citations that will need to be tracked down in Davis Library. In terms of content, this site is far superior to JSTOR. Access the IMB via the Electronic Resources section on the Davis Library homepage.

Bibliography of the History of Art: similar to the IMB, but for art history. Also accessed through the Electronic Resources section on the Davis Library homepage.

Feminae – Medieval Women’s and Gender Index: search engine and resources with an emphasis on women’s and gender history.

L’Année philologique: search engine for secondary literature dealing with the patristic era and early Christianity, materials too early for the IMB. Also accessed through the Electronic Resources section on the Davis Library homepage. When using, start with the “full text” search mode (essential a k-word search option).

Again, be patient! If you search for “Guibert of Nogent” on the IMB in the “all index terms” line, you get zero hits. If you type “Nogent,” you get 134 hits. If you type “Nogent” and “crusade” in the subject line, you get 12 hits. If you look closely at the entries for those citations, you’ll see that the IMB generally lists his name as “Guibert de Nogent.” Now try that search in the “all index terms.” While “Guibert of Nogent” results in zero hits, “Guibert de Nogent” yields 105.

Please note: these sites do not include articles, just citations. Sometimes there is a link to the digital version of the text, sometimes not. If not, you need to find the volume or journal in the Davis library by searching the Davis catalog. JSTOR, of course, can be helpful and includes actual Pdf files of the articles, but JSTOR only offers a limited selection of the possible scholarship. Trust me—JSTOR does not cover all of your bases for a research paper.

Online Resources

The Internet simply has not supplanted the library as a source for research projects, not yet anyway. That’s why I generally forbid my students from using Internet resources for their research papers. However, it would be foolish not to admit that the Internet provides a possible starting point and source of inspiration for formulating research questions and finding materials. Not to mention, it’s convenient. Some helpful sites:

UNC Libraries Guide to Medieval & Early Modern Studies Online: If you want to explore resources beyond this homepage, this would be a good starting point.

The Labyrinth : A vast online resource at Georgetown with links to numerous other websites, including secondary literature and sources in translation.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook: An extensive site of sources in translation, often from older (frankly outdated) collections (with links to online Ancient History, Women’s History, Saints Lives Sourcebooks and more). Offers a starting point for research but NOT appropriate for your average research paper.

The Douay-Rheims Bible : If you’re using a Bible for a medieval paper, use this one, which includes both English and the Vulgate Latin text.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library : Collection of sources in translation for early Christian history, many from the Ante-Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (see above under Early Christian Sources in Translation).

This style sheet provides simplified examples of the format used for annotation and bibliographies in the Chicago Manual of Style.

Annotation Format

Book (Primary Source)

Robert of Clari, The Conquest of Constantinople, trans. E. H. McNeal (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936).

Book (Secondary Source)

Peter Brown, The Cult of Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981).

Article, Journal

Peter Brown, “A Dark-Age Crisis: Aspects of the Iconoclastic Controversy,” English Historical Review 88 (1973): 1–34.

Article, Edited Volume

Robert Lerner, “The Medieval Return to the Thousand-Year Sabbath,” in The Apocalypse in the Middle Ages, ed. Bernard McGinn (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002), pp. 234–55.

Note: Please use the “article, edited volume” format for a primary source that is translated and excerpted in a source-book or collection of primary source documents, including the medieval author and the title of their work, along with the title of the source collection, the modern editor and/or translator, publisher, date, etc. If your medieval work does not have an author, list the author as “anonymous,” and be sure to include the editor and/or translator of the text.

Citations should be in footnotes (not endnotes or internal citation). Footnotes should be consecutively numbered. Insert footnotes at the end of the sentence in question (using the “reference” option on the menu for Word documents). Cite a work the first time that you make any reference to it (including but not limited to direct quotations), providing a full citation of the work. Subsequent references to that work such use an abbreviated form of citation. Provide page numbers when quoting a source, or even when summarizing an important point from the text (play it safe and cite more rather than less).

AVOID multiple notes per sentence, and place notes at the end of the sentence.

For example:

Bibliography Format

When applicable, divide your bibliography into two sections, one for primary sources and one for secondary sources. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE FORMAT FOR ANNOTATION AND BIBLIOGRAPHIES.

Follow this example:

Primary Sources

Robert of Clari. The Conquest of Constantinople. Trans. E. H. McNeal. New York: Columbia University Press, 1936.

Secondary Sources

Brown, Peter. The Cult of Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Brown, Peter. “A Dark-Age Crisis: Aspects of the Iconoclastic Controversy.” English Historical Review 88 (1973): 1–34.

Lerner, Robert. “The Medieval Return to the Thousand-Year Sabbath.” In The Apocalypse in the Middle Ages, ed. Bernard McGinn, 234–55. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002.

NOTE: As a rule of thumb, provide your reader with more and not less information: Include volume numbers, edition numbers, editors and translators etc. Precise formats for more complicated works can be found in the Chicago Manual of Style.

The Bible does not have to be included in your Bibliography. In your text, you can use standard biblical abbreviations and internal citation (2 Thess. 4:3; Gen. 14:13–25, etc.).

If you use JSTOR, please don’t include the link in your citation or bibliography: this is simply not necessary. The original journal is the “real” citation.

Banner

The Middle Ages - Medieval History 7: Research Topics

  • Research Topics

1. Children's Crusade

Your name is Daniel of Cloyes. In 1212 AD you embarked on the fifth crusade to“capture” Jerusalem but ended up in Egypt. It was also known as the Children’s Crusade. Out of 30,000 crusading children, you were one of the few who returned home. All of your relatives and neighbors have gathered to hear your adventures. You must tell them the truth as you witnessed it. Describe your reasons for joining the Crusade, your observations and experiences on the crusade, and the results of the crusade.      

  • Medieval Sourcebook: The Children's Crusade
  • Medieval Sourcebook; The Crusades
  • The Children's Crusades

medieval history research topics

2. Anna Comnena

Most histories of the Crusades tend to focus on the Crusaders themselves without thought of the people whose lands were invaded and cities destroyed. Anna Comnena (also called Anna Komnene) was the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor and was living in Constantinople when the First Crusade came through the city. She wrote a book entitled The Alexiad , which described her father’s reign that detailed her reactions to the Crusaders. Describe Anna to your classmates based on her opinions and writings, focusing on her thoughts and observations of the Crusades and the crusaders. 

  • Women in World History: Anna Comnena
  • Dangerous Women: Anna Komnene
  • Ancient History Encyclopedia: Anna Komnene

medieval history research topics

4. Apprenticeship

The son of a very progressive man, you have been given a choice that many medieval youth do not receive. You have been allowed to decide which trade you would like to pursue and must decide to whom you will apprentice. You narrowed your options down to becoming a mason, a fuller, a shoemaker, or a baker. Investigate the process of medieval apprenticeship, the life and duties of an apprentice, and the role of guilds in medieval society.  Research the trades you are considering and chose which one you wish to pursue.

Present your findings and your final decision to your father (and the class). 

  • Medieval England: Daily Life in Medieval Towns
  • Medieval Guilds
  • The Rise of Commerce and Towns
  • Medieval Trades
  • The Middle Ages: Tradesmen

medieval history research topics

5. Universities

Your Uncle Bartholomew has offered to pay for you to attend a university. Write your kind uncle four or more letters that keep him informed about the following topics: 

  • The culture and reputation of your university.  Have there been any riots? Is it considered “party school”?
  • The subject/curriculum you are studying
  • Your typical day as a student
  • Some of the more famous scholars and their publications in law, medicine, mathematics and philosophy that you are studying. Be sure to include some Muslim and Jewish scholars like Avicenna, Averroes, and Maimonides.
  • Medieval Science, the Church, and Universities
  • University of Cambridge: The Medieval University
  • Medieval University - The Medievalists The video at the top of this article offers a nice overview.
  • The Rise of Universities

medieval history research topics

6. Medicine and the Humors

As a child you were fascinated by the art of medicine because it combined elements of faith and the physical aspects of healing. You have decided to attend medical school in Salerno, Italy because they practice the latest advances in Arab medicine. After your first semester, you pay a visit to your family. Everyone is interested to know about the latest developments for healing people. In your conversations with your parents, be sure to tell them about the following:

  • the theory of the humors
  • the importance of Muslim scholarship and medical advances
  • examples of treatments for a few diseases
  • Middle Ages Health Click 'Enter' and then click 'Health' from the topics menu along the right side of the screen.
  • Medicine, Diagnosis, and Treatment in the Middle Ages
  • Medieval Medicine
  • The Science Museum: Humours
  • Arab Roots of European Medicine
  • The Islamic World in the Middle Ages This quick overview includes examples of Muslim advances in medicines and their influence on European medicine at the time -- scroll down a bit to find it!

7. The Black Death

During the years of the Black Death, one quarter to one third of the entire European population perished.  Villages turned into ghost towns.  The whole fabric of society was altered.  Create a documentary film about the impact of the plague on Medieval society.  In your film, you should explore: the cause and spread of the plague, the disease's major symptoms and any possible treatments or preventative measures used, and the wider effects of the plague on society. 

  • Plague and Public Health in Renaissance Europe
  • The Black Death: Bubonic Plague
  • Eyewitness to History: Plague
  • The Black Death and Early Public Health Measures

medieval history research topics

8. Medieval English Fashion

You have been hired to design costumes for the new movie Quest set in the England of 1250. Your job is to create original, accurate costumes for the main characters including: Eleanor, the young and beautiful noblewoman; William, the nobleman to whom she is betrothed; Stephen, the crusader secretly in love with Eleanor; Hilda, the middle class gossip; and Rufus, the elderly serf. You must then present sketches of your designs to the producers (your classmates), offering background information on clothing in the Middle Ages and explanations defending the historical accuracy of your costumes. Your costume plans should include hairstyles and hats or headpieces for each character. 

  • Costumes and courtiers: garments and fashion ideas in late medieval Western Europe
  • Medieval Clothing and Fabrics
  • Middle Ages Clothing Click 'Enter" and then click on 'Clothing' from the menu along the right side of the page.
  • Clothes in Medieval England

medieval history research topics

9. Falconry

After many years as Lord Falconer, the King has given you an assistant to help you prepare for an upcoming hawking festival. Unfortunately, your assistant is unacquainted with falconry. Explain the process, equipment, and skills involved in training a falcon to hunt and the historical significance of falconry.    

  • Ancient & Medieval Falconry: Origins & Functions in Medieval England
  • Medieval Hunting History
  • Medieval Falconry: Birds and Lovebirds
  • Leisure in an English Medieval Castle

You’re a wandering minstrel from the 13 th century who has been traveled through time to modern-day England.  Even though the world is now a strange and confusing place, you just can’t give up your minstrel ways.  But new advances in technology now allow your music to reach a large audience without having to hike all across the country by foot.  You’re going to create a podcast  to share your music. In your broadcast, you want to be sure to include samples of all the different kinds of music ( plainchant, polyphonic and monophonic) from the Middle Ages.

You might also discuss:

  • the importance of this music to your former culture.
  • the difference between music heard in churches and the type of music you sing
  • the difference between a jongleur, a minstrel, a bard and a troubadour like yourself?
  • the difference between your music and the music of today
  • Medieval and Renaissance Music
  • A Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Musical Instruments
  • The Middle Ages Arts and Entertainment
  • A Short History of Medieval Music

medieval history research topics

11. Gardening

In your role of head gardener, you have been told to plan a new garden for the lord of the manor’s house. The lord has asked that you include some medicinal plants to help with his aches and pains and his wife wishes you to include culinary herbs. Draw up a design to present to the lord and explain why you have chosen the plants you did. Include images of at least two plants you have chosen to grow in the lord’s new garden in your presentation.

  • The Bonnefort Cloister Herb Garden
  • Design: The Medieval Garden Style
  • Medieval gardens: Middle Ages to 1500
  • What to Grow in a Medieval Herb Garden

Feasts in the Middle Ages were a celebratory time for all, but they could also prove to be a lot of work! As the Chief Cook of the castle, you are responsible for preparing feasts for various holidays. Choose one of these important feast days: Twelfth Night, St. Valentines Day, or St. John’s Day, often called Mid-Summer’s Eve. Give a brief background of the holiday and create an annotated menu for a party. Present your feast proposal along with a taste of one of the dishes for the class.

  • Medieval and Renaissance Food
  • Dining in State: A High Cuisine Guide
  • Medieval Feast
  • Medieval Food

medieval history research topics

13. Illuminated Manuscripts

 You are a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  You are preparing a new exhibit focused on illuminated book and manuscript production from different cultures during the Middle Ages.    Investigate the calligraphy and the book/manuscript production processes during the Middle Ages in Western Europe, the Muslim world, and Chinese civilization. Prepare a presentation to introduce your peers to your exhibit and include visual examples of illuminated books and manuscripts from each culture.  

  • Illuminated Islamic Manuscript
  • Calligraphy in Islamic Art
  • Western European Illuminated Manuscripts
  • Making Illuminated Manuscripts: Video
  • Illuminated Manuscripts
  • Manuscript Illumination in Northern Europe
  • Chinese Calligraphy
  • Center for Global Education: Chinese Calligraphy
  • Chinese Calligraphy History

medieval history research topics

14. Marco Polo

Your name is Marco Polo and you have just returned to Venice after 24 years traveling to distant parts of the world. Your book, The Travels  of Marco Polo has become a best seller and you have been asked to go on a book tour to various Italian towns.    Share highlights and things that were especially wonderful or strange to you, such as a  postal system, coal,   and   paper money.  Be sure to describe your visits with the great Kublai Khan.      

  • Excerpts of Marco Polo's Travels
  • Marco Polo and His Travels
  • Mariners' Museum: Marco Polo

medieval history research topics

15. The Silk Road

The ancient Silk Road was a vast network of trade routes whose flow of ideas, culture, music and art crossed the mountains and deserts of Central Asia to connect East Asia and the Mediterranean. Your boss is a Chinese silk merchant who has left the business to his son. Before he officially retires, he has hired you to take his son on one trip to experience the wonders, risks, trade, religions, and hardships of the Silk Road.  You decide to give him a guidebook that will provide him with information ahead of time.

Your guidebook should include the following:

  • A map of the route that you are to travel.
  • Examples of the goods that will be traded along the route.
  • Brief descriptions of the different religions that he will encounter.
  • Descriptions of some of the sounds, sights, and tastes that he might experience.
  • Explanations of dangers that he must avoid such as bandits, extreme weather conditions, and geographic challenges.
  • The Secrets of the Silk Road
  • The Silk Road
  • UNESCO: About the Silk Roads

medieval history research topics

16. Zheng He

You are are eager recreate the voyages of the infamous Zheng He (San Bao), one of the most successful and admired admirals in the Chinese fleet as it reached the height in 1421.   Investigate Zheng He’s career and travels as well as the events that led to a shift in China’s approach to exploration and contact with the rest of the world. Create a “virtual field trip” that highlights all the important places Zheng He traveled and the key places in China that are significant to Zheng He’s life.  

 Please note: his name is  also spelled as Cheng Ho  in many books and web sites.

  • Admiral Zhen He
  • Zheng He's Voyages of Discover
  • The Ages of Exploration: Zheng He
  • The Seven Voyages of Zheng He

medieval history research topics

17. Tale of Genji

While the people of Europe were warring amongst themselves, literature’s first novel The Tale of Genji, was being written by Murasaki Shikibu, a woman of Japan’s Heian period. Murasaki’s was not the only prominent work written by a female in Japan during this period. Courtly women also wrote “Pillow Books,” similar to diaries, some of which have survived to this day. Imagine you are the famed Murasaki writing an entry in your own “Pillow Book,” discussing the following topics:

  • court life for women in the Heian period, including the clothing, music, activities, manner, and living spaces
  • the general plot and topics of  The Tale of Genji
  • the reasons for  The Tale of Genji' s   popularity
  • The Heian Period
  • Heian Period Court and Clan
  • The Tale of Genji

medieval history research topics

18. Timbuktu

You are living in the city of Timbuktu during the reign of Mansa Musa (1312 –1337). Write a persuasive letter to your family to convince them to travel across the Sahara Desert to live with you in Timbuktu. In your letter, you might discuss:

  • Timbuktu's fame and reputation
  • the trade routes passing through Timbuktu and the major waterway nearby
  • Timbuktu's major industries
  • the major structures and landmarks of the city  
  • Exploring Mali
  • The Empire of Mali
  • Sankore Mosque
  • Timbuktu: The El Dorado of Africa

medieval history research topics

19. Ibn Battuta

You are an established author of historical fiction writing your next novel about Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan explorer and scholar who lived and traveled in the 1300s.  But before you can begin developing plot and character ideas, you need to do more research on your subject.  Investigate:

  • Battuta’s reasons for initially leaving his home  
  • M ajor cities and landmarks he visited on his journeys  
  • C hallenges and  dangers  he faced  
  • His methods for funding his travels and gaining access to important people   
  • Medieval Sourcebook: Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354
  • The Travels of Ibn Battuta
  • Ibn Battuta

medieval history research topics

20. Saladin

One of the greatest known figures in the Middle Ages is Saladin, the  Muslim  warrior who recaptured Jerusalem from the European Crusader Kingdom, effectively ending the 3 rd  great Crusade.  Saladin was a greatly respected figure, not only in the  Muslim  world, but also throughout Europe. He was recognized as a great and honorable enemy by Richard the Lionheart.  Create a video about his life and legacy.    

  • Richard and Saladin: Warriors of the Third Crusade

medieval history research topics

21. Eleanor of Acquitaine

You are auditioning to play Eleanor of Aquitaine in a new miniseries based on her long and fascinating life.  To convince the producers of your commitment and passion for the role, you have decided to research Eleanor’s life and create a special monologue based on your research.  Investigate the major events of Eleanor’s life and gain a sense of her personality. 

Use the results of your research to write a monologue (approximately 500 words in length) from Eleanor’s perspective, reflecting back on her life and sharing with the audience her greatest successes and her failures or regrets.  

  • Eleanor of Acquitaine
  • The Use of Power and Influence by a Medieval Woman

medieval history research topics

22. Heloise and Abelard

You are Heloise, one half of the world’s most tragic couples. Many years have passed since you and your beloved Peter Abelard have seen one another, but recently you have gotten your hands on a letter written by Abelard to one of his friends.  You’ve decided to write to Abelard, reflecting on your past together and your current situation as the abbess of a convent.

  • Peter Abelard's Historia Calamitatum
  • The Letters of Heloise and Abelard (Project Gutenberg)
  • Heloise (video by Professor Sara McDougall)
  • Epistolae: Heloise Brief bio of Heloise and translations of many of her letters, to Abelard and others.

medieval history research topics

Databases To Use

medieval history research topics

To access this database from home, you will need to log in using the following username and password:

Username : ncsstudent Password : student

See the video below for some tips and help from Ms. Dickinson on how to use this database effectively.

  • << Previous: Home
  • Last Updated: Jan 12, 2024 3:39 PM
  • URL: https://ncs-cathedral.libguides.com/middleages
  • Architecture and Design
  • Asian and Pacific Studies
  • Business and Economics
  • Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
  • Computer Sciences
  • Cultural Studies
  • Engineering
  • General Interest
  • Geosciences
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Library and Information Science, Book Studies
  • Life Sciences
  • Linguistics and Semiotics
  • Literary Studies
  • Materials Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Social Sciences
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Theology and Religion
  • Publish your article
  • The role of authors
  • Promoting your article
  • Abstracting & indexing
  • Publishing Ethics
  • Why publish with De Gruyter
  • How to publish with De Gruyter
  • Our book series
  • Our subject areas
  • Your digital product at De Gruyter
  • Contribute to our reference works
  • Product information
  • Tools & resources
  • Product Information
  • Promotional Materials
  • Orders and Inquiries
  • FAQ for Library Suppliers and Book Sellers
  • Repository Policy
  • Free access policy
  • Open Access agreements
  • Database portals
  • For Authors
  • Customer service
  • People + Culture
  • Journal Management
  • How to join us
  • Working at De Gruyter
  • Mission & Vision
  • De Gruyter Foundation
  • De Gruyter Ebound
  • Our Responsibility
  • Partner publishers

medieval history research topics

Your purchase has been completed. Your documents are now available to view.

book: Medieval History in the Modern Classroom

Medieval History in the Modern Classroom

Using project-based learning to engage today’s learners.

  • Lane J. Sobehrad and Susan J. Sobehrad
  • X / Twitter

Please login or register with De Gruyter to order this product.

  • Language: English
  • Publisher: ARC Humanities Press
  • Copyright year: 2022
  • Audience: Professional and scholarly;
  • Main content: 240
  • Illustrations: 8
  • Keywords: Project-Based Learning ; Pedagogy ; Medieval Studies
  • Published: May 31, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781802700329

Best History Research Paper Topics

Academic Writing Service

Dive into the world of historical scholarship with our comprehensive guide to the best history research paper topics . Primarily designed for students tasked with writing history research papers, this guide presents a curated list of 100 exceptional topics, divided into 10 distinct categories, each with a unique historical focus. The guide offers clear and practical advice on how to choose the most compelling history research paper topics, and provides 10 handy tips on crafting an outstanding research paper. In addition to academic guidance, the guide introduces the superior writing services of iResearchNet, a reliable option for students needing customized history research papers.

Comprehensive List of Best History Research Paper Topics

The following comprehensive list of the best history research paper topics is crafted to stimulate your curiosity and ignite your passion for historical study. These topics cover a range of historical periods and geographical locations to cater to the diverse interests of history students.

Academic Writing, Editing, Proofreading, And Problem Solving Services

Get 10% off with 24start discount code.

Ancient History Topics

  • The Causes and Effects of the Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
  • The Influence of Alexander the Great’s Conquests on the Hellenistic World
  • The Role of Women in Spartan Society
  • The Construction and Significance of the Great Wall of China
  • The Impact of Confucianism on Ancient Chinese Society
  • Trade Routes and their Role in the Expansion of Ancient Civilizations
  • The Cultural and Political Influence of the Phoenician Civilization
  • Comparing Democracy in Ancient Greece to Modern Democracy
  • The Religious Practices and Beliefs of the Mayans

Medieval History Topics

  • The Role of the Catholic Church in Medieval Europe
  • The Impact of the Black Death on Medieval Society
  • The Cultural Significance of the Knights Templar
  • Gender Roles and Family Structure in Medieval Japan
  • The Causes and Consequences of the Hundred Years War
  • The Political Structure of the Byzantine Empire
  • The Influence of the Carolingian Renaissance on Europe
  • The Role of Vikings in European Trade and Exploration
  • The Crusades: Causes, Events, and Consequences
  • The Architecture and Symbolism of Gothic Cathedrals

Early Modern History Topics

  • The Causes and Effects of the Protestant Reformation
  • The Role of the Enlightenment in the French Revolution
  • The Impact of the Scientific Revolution on European Society
  • The Socioeconomic Consequences of the Industrial Revolution
  • The Influence of the Ottoman Empire on Southeast Europe
  • The Role of Slavery in the Colonial Economies
  • The Politics and Culture of the Renaissance in Italy
  • European Imperialism in Africa and Asia
  • The Cultural and Political Impacts of the Mughal Empire
  • The American Revolution: Causes, Events, and Legacy

Modern History Topics

  • The Causes and Global Consequences of World War I
  • The Great Depression: Causes and Effects
  • The Role of Propaganda in World War II
  • The Impact of the Cold War on International Relations
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the United States
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the End of the Cold War
  • The Effects of Decolonization in the 20th Century
  • The Role of Women in the World Wars
  • The Formation and Impact of the European Union
  • The Causes and Consequences of the Arab Spring

Asian History Topics

  • The Cultural Impact of the Silk Road in Asia
  • The Effects of Colonial Rule in India
  • The Legacy of the Mongol Empire in Asia
  • The Cultural and Political Changes in China’s Cultural Revolution
  • The Korean War: Causes, Events, and Consequences
  • The Role of Samurai in Feudal Japan
  • The Impact of the Opium Wars on China
  • The Influence of Buddhism on Asian Cultures
  • The Cambodian Genocide under the Khmer Rouge
  • The Role of Gandhi in India’s Independence

American History Topics

  • The Impact of the New Deal on the American Economy
  • The Vietnam War: Causes, Events, and Legacy
  • The Influence of the Beat Generation on American Culture
  • The Role of Manifest Destiny in Westward Expansion
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis and Its Effects on the Cold War
  • The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States
  • The Native American Civil Rights Movement
  • The Role of the Transcontinental Railroad in American Expansion
  • The Civil War: Causes, Events, and Aftermath
  • The Immigration Wave at Ellis Island: Causes and Effects

European History Topics

  • The Impacts of the Russian Revolution
  • The Influence of Martin Luther’s Theses on Europe
  • The British Empire: Rise, Dominance, and Fall
  • The Role of Art in the French Revolution
  • The Impact of the Spanish Inquisition on Spain and its Colonies
  • The Rise and Influence of Fascism in Europe
  • The Role of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages
  • The Consequences of the Treaty of Versailles
  • The Formation and Impact of NATO
  • The Role of the Media in the Fall of the Berlin Wall

African History Topics

  • The Effects of Apartheid in South Africa
  • The Influence of the Trans-Saharan Trade on West African Societies
  • The Role of Nelson Mandela in Ending Apartheid
  • The Scramble for Africa and its Effects on the Continent
  • The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on West Africa
  • The Rwandan Genocide: Causes and Consequences
  • The Role of the African Union in Continental Politics
  • The Impact of Islam on North Africa
  • The Decolonization of Africa in the 20th Century
  • The Role of Women in Pre-Colonial African Societies

Military History Topics

  • The Influence of Technological Innovations on Warfare
  • The Role of the French Foreign Legion in Global Conflicts
  • The Impact of the Manhattan Project on World War II and Beyond
  • The Role of the Spartans in Ancient Greek Warfare
  • The Impact of Drones on Modern Warfare
  • The Influence of the English Longbow on Medieval Warfare
  • The Role of the Maginot Line in World War II
  • The Impact of Naval Power on the British Empire
  • The Influence of Nuclear Weapons on International Politics
  • The Role of Propaganda in World War I

This expansive list of best history research paper topics offers a comprehensive exploration of the past, crossing different eras, regions, and themes. They form a rich tapestry of human experience and a foundation for understanding our present and future. Choose a topic that piques your interest, ignites your curiosity, and promises a journey of intellectual discovery. Remember that the exploration of history is a journey into the roots of our shared humanity and an exploration of the forces that shape our world.

History and What Range of Best Research Paper Topics it Offers

As a subject of study, history is more than a chronological list of events, dates, and prominent figures. History is the exploration of human experiences, societal changes, political upheavals, cultural transformations, economic shifts, and technological advancements across different periods and regions. This exploration allows us to understand how the past has shaped our present and how it can potentially shape our future. It teaches us to appreciate the complexities and nuances of human nature and society, making history a rich field for research paper topics.

History is an interdisciplinary field, interweaving elements from various areas of study, including politics, sociology, economics, anthropology, geography, and literature. This interdisciplinary nature provides a wide array of best history research paper topics. Moreover, the global scope of history further broadens the pool of topics, as it encompasses every region of the world and every period from the dawn of human civilization to the present day.

Exploring Different Periods

Historical research often focuses on specific periods, each offering unique topics for exploration. For instance, Ancient History provides topics related to ancient civilizations like Rome, Greece, Egypt, China, and India, and key events such as Alexander the Great’s conquests or the fall of the Roman Empire.

The Medieval Period offers topics related to the socio-political structure of societies, the influence of religion, the impact of plagues, and the role of significant historical figures. Researching the Renaissance can focus on cultural, artistic, and scientific revolutions that have shaped the modern world.

The Modern History category contains topics related to significant events and transformations, such as world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, decolonization, and various national and international movements.

Geographical Perspectives

Geographical focus is another common approach in historical research. Asian history encompasses topics ranging from the influence of Confucianism in China to the impact of colonial rule in India. European history explores events such as the Enlightenment, the French and Russian revolutions, and the formation of the European Union. American history topics can cover everything from Manifest Destiny to the Civil Rights Movement. African history can delve into the effects of the Atlantic Slave Trade, the apartheid era, and decolonization.

Thematic Approaches

In addition to period- and region-based topics, history offers an extensive range of thematic topics. These themes often intersect with other disciplines, leading to exciting interdisciplinary research opportunities.

Social and cultural history, for instance, covers diverse topics such as the influence of the Harlem Renaissance on African American culture, the counterculture movement of the 1960s, the role of film and television in shaping societies, or the impacts of the Internet on global culture.

Military history provides a wide range of topics related to warfare, strategy, technological developments, and the influence of military conflicts on societies and politics. From the use of the English longbow in medieval warfare to the impact of drones on modern warfare, this field offers a variety of fascinating topics.

Making the Right Choice

The choice of a research paper topic in history should ideally be guided by your interest, the available resources, and the requirements of your assignment. With such a wide range of topics, it can be challenging to make a choice. But remember, a good history research paper topic is not just about the past; it should also engage with the present and potentially shed light on the future. The best research paper topics are those that not only delve deep into the annals of history but also resonate with current issues and debates.

The study of history is a gateway into the vast narrative of human civilization. With an extensive range of periods, regions, and themes to choose from, history offers a rich reservoir of research paper topics. As we delve into the past, we discover the forces that have shaped our world, gain insights into the human experience, and glean lessons for our future. This journey of exploration makes history an incredibly exciting field for research papers.

How to Choose Best History Research Paper Topics

Choosing the best history research paper topic can be the first step towards a rewarding intellectual journey. It’s not just about meeting academic requirements; it’s about uncovering facets of the past that intrigue you and may potentially contribute to the broader understanding of history. Here are twenty in-depth tips that will guide you through the process and help you select the best topic for your history research paper.

  • Understand the Assignment: Understanding your assignment’s requirements is the primary and most critical step in selecting a topic. Take time to carefully read the guidelines given by your instructor. Are there any specific historical periods, geographical regions, or themes you are required to focus on? Do the instructions indicate the scope or complexity level of the topic? Comprehending the parameters set by your instructor will significantly narrow down your options.
  • Choose a Time Period: One way to approach the topic selection is by focusing on a particular time period that sparks your interest. It could be anything from the Bronze Age, to the Renaissance, to World War II. The more interested you are in the chosen time period, the more engaged you will be in the research process.
  • Pick a Region: Similar to choosing a time period, selecting a particular region or country can also help narrow down potential topics. Are you fascinated by the history of East Asia, intrigued by ancient Egypt, or drawn to the socio-political history of Europe? Starting with a geographic focus can provide a strong foundation for your research.
  • Identify a Theme: In addition to or instead of a time period or region, you might want to choose a theme that you wish to explore. Themes can range from political history, cultural history, history of science and technology, to gender history, among others. A thematic approach can offer a unique perspective and can even allow you to cross over different time periods or regions.
  • Conduct Preliminary Research: Even before you have a firm topic in hand, engage in some preliminary research. This could involve reviewing textbooks, scholarly articles, or reputable online resources related to your chosen period, region, or theme. Preliminary research can give you a general sense of the historical context and inspire potential topics.
  • Seek Inspiration from Existing Works: As part of your preliminary research, look at other research papers, theses, or dissertations in your area of interest. This can give you a good idea of what has been done, what gaps exist in the research, and where your research could potentially fit in.
  • Scope Your Topic: The scope of your topic should be proportionate to the length and depth of your paper. If your paper is relatively short, a narrow, focused topic would be more suitable. For a longer and more complex paper, a broader topic that explores multiple facets or perspectives would be more appropriate.
  • Consider the Relevance: Another aspect to consider when selecting a topic is its relevance. Does the topic have any relation to the course you are undertaking? Does it reflect on current historical or social debates? A topic that connects your historical research to broader academic or social issues can make your paper more impactful and engaging.
  • Look for Unique Angles: While not every research paper can revolutionize the field, striving for some degree of originality in your work is always a good practice. Look for unique angles, underexplored areas, or new perspectives on a well-trodden topic. Presenting a fresh approach can make your paper more interesting for both you and your readers.
  • Assess the Availability of Sources: Your research paper is only as good as your sources. Before finalizing your topic, make sure there are enough primary and secondary sources available to you. This could be in the form of books, academic articles, documentary films, archives, databases, or digital resources.
  • Evaluate the Feasibility: Beyond the availability of sources, consider other practical aspects of your chosen topic. Is it feasible to conduct the research within the given time frame? Is the topic too complex or too simplistic for your current academic level? A realistic evaluation of these factors at an early stage can save you a lot of time and effort down the line.
  • Reflect on Your Interests: Above all, select a topic that genuinely piques your curiosity. A research paper is a significant undertaking, and your interest in the topic will sustain you through potential challenges. If you are passionate about the topic, it will reflect in your writing and make your paper more compelling.
  • Solicit Feedback: Seek advice from your instructor, classmates, or any other knowledgeable individuals. They may be able to provide valuable feedback, point out potential pitfalls, or suggest different perspectives that can enrich your research.
  • Be Flexible: Be prepared to tweak, adjust, or even overhaul your topic as you delve deeper into the research process. New information or insights may emerge that shift your focus or challenge your initial assumptions.
  • Bridge the Past and Present: Try to find topics that allow you to connect historical events or phenomena with contemporary issues. This can provide additional depth to your paper and may also appeal to a broader audience.
  • Consult Specialized Encyclopedias and Guides: These can provide overviews of various topics and can often suggest areas for research. They also offer bibliographies which can serve as a starting point for your research.
  • Draft a Preliminary Thesis Statement: Once you have a potential topic, try drafting a preliminary thesis statement. This can help you focus your ideas and give you a clear direction for your research.
  • Ensure Your Topic Meets the Assignment Goals: Check back with your assignment guidelines to make sure your chosen topic meets all the requirements. It’s a good idea to do this before you start your in-depth research.
  • Be Ready to Invest Time and Effort: Choose a topic that you are ready to spend time on. Remember, you will be working on this topic for an extended period, so choose something that you find interesting and engaging.
  • Enjoy the Process: Finally, remember that the process of researching and writing a history paper can be a source of enjoyment and intellectual satisfaction. Choose a topic that not only meets academic requirements but also gives you a sense of accomplishment and discovery.

Choosing the best history research paper topic is not merely about fulfilling an academic requirement. It’s about setting the stage for a journey into the past, an exploration of humanity’s collective memory. The right topic will not only make this journey enjoyable but also deeply enlightening. By considering these tips, you can select a topic that resonates with you and holds the potential for a meaningful scholarly contribution.

How to Write a Best History Research Paper

Writing a history research paper can be a rewarding experience, providing an opportunity to delve into the past and explore the events, ideas, and personalities that have shaped our world. However, crafting a high-quality paper requires more than just an interest in the subject matter. It involves thorough research, analytical thinking, and clear, persuasive writing. Here are twenty comprehensive tips on how to write a best history research paper.

  • Understand the Assignment: Begin by thoroughly understanding the assignment. Ensure you grasp the requirements, the scope of the paper, the format, and the deadline. Clear any doubts with your professor or peers before you start.
  • Select a Suitable Topic: As discussed earlier, choosing an appropriate topic is crucial. It should be engaging, manageable, and meet the assignment’s requirements. Consider your interests, the available resources, and the paper’s scope when choosing the topic.
  • Conduct In-Depth Research: Once the topic is decided, embark on thorough research. Use a variety of sources, such as books, academic journals, credible online sources, primary sources, and documentaries. Remember to take notes and record the sources for citation purposes.
  • Formulate a Thesis Statement: The thesis statement is the central argument or point of your paper. It should be clear, concise, and debatable, providing a roadmap for your entire paper. The thesis statement should guide your research and each main point you make in your paper should support this central idea.
  • Create an Outline: An outline helps organize your thoughts and arguments. Typically, it should include an introduction (with the thesis statement), body paragraphs (with topic sentences), and a conclusion. Each point in your outline should be a reflection of your thesis statement.
  • Start with a Strong Introduction: The introduction should be engaging, provide some background on the topic, and include the thesis statement. It sets the tone for the rest of your paper, so make it compelling and informative.
  • Develop Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph should focus on one main idea that supports your thesis. Begin with a topic sentence, provide evidence or arguments, and then conclude the paragraph by linking it back to your thesis. Be clear and concise in your arguments.
  • Use Evidence Effectively: Support your arguments with evidence from your research. This could include quotations, statistics, or primary source materials. Remember to interpret the evidence and explain its relevance to your argument.
  • Maintain a Logical Flow: The ideas in your paper should flow logically from one point to the next. Use transitional words and phrases to maintain continuity and help guide your reader through your paper.
  • Write a Compelling Conclusion: Your conclusion should sum up your main points, restate the thesis in light of the evidence provided, and possibly offer areas for further research or a concluding insight. It should leave the reader with something to think about.
  • Cite Your Sources: Always cite your sources properly. This not only gives credit where it’s due but also strengthens your argument by indicating the breadth of your research. Ensure you follow the required citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Revise for Clarity and Coherence: After finishing your initial draft, revise your work. Check for clarity, coherence, and consistency of argument. Ensure each paragraph has a clear focus, and that the paragraphs flow smoothly from one idea to the next.
  • Proofread: Proofread your paper for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Such errors can distract from the content and undermine your credibility as a writer. Reading your paper aloud or having someone else read it can help catch errors you might have missed.
  • Seek Feedback: Before finalizing your paper, consider seeking feedback from your professor, peers, or a writing center tutor. They can provide valuable perspectives and suggestions for improvement that you might not have considered.
  • Write in a Formal Academic Style: Your paper should be written in a formal academic style. Avoid slang, colloquialisms, and overly complex language. Be clear, concise, and precise in your expression.
  • Avoid Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. Ensure that all ideas and words that are not your own are properly cited. When in doubt, it’s better to over-cite than to under-cite.
  • Stay Objective: A good history paper is objective and does not include personal opinions or biases. It relies on facts and evidence, and presents balanced arguments. Stick to the evidence and avoid emotional language.
  • Be Original: Strive for originality in your argument and interpretation. While your topic might not be entirely new, your perspective on it can be. Don’t be afraid to challenge established interpretations if you have evidence to support your argument.
  • Use Primary Sources Wisely: Primary sources are invaluable in historical research. However, remember that they should be used to support your argument, not to construct it. Your analysis and interpretation of the sources are what matters.
  • Enjoy the Process: Finally, remember to enjoy the process. Writing a research paper is not just an academic exercise, but a journey into the past. It’s a chance to learn, explore, and contribute to our understanding of history.

In conclusion, writing a best history research paper requires careful planning, thorough research, clear writing, and detailed revision. However, the process can be highly rewarding, leading to new insights and a deeper understanding of history. These tips provide a comprehensive guide to help you craft a top-notch history research paper. Remember, history is a continually evolving dialogue, and your paper is your chance to join the conversation.

Custom Writing Services

When it comes to academic writing, particularly in the realm of history, the challenges are manifold. Selecting a suitable topic, conducting thorough research, forming persuasive arguments, and structuring your thoughts in a coherent and scholarly manner can often be a daunting task. This is where iResearchNet comes to your aid. As a premier academic writing service, iResearchNet provides students with the opportunity to order a custom history research paper on any topic. The goal is to alleviate your academic stress while ensuring that you meet your educational goals.

Key features of iResearchNet’s services include:

  • Expert Degree-Holding Writers: Our team consists of professionals who are not just well-versed in various historical topics, but also have extensive experience in academic writing.
  • Custom Written Works: Every paper we deliver is created from scratch, tailored to your specific requirements and instructions, ensuring originality and uniqueness.
  • In-Depth Research: Our writers are committed to conducting meticulous and comprehensive research to gather relevant information and provide insightful perspectives for your paper.
  • Custom Formatting: Whether your paper requires APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, or Harvard style, our team is proficient in all these citation formats.
  • Top Quality: Quality is not negotiable for us. We strive to provide superior writing services that align with the highest academic standards.
  • Customized Solutions: Every student is unique, and so are our solutions. We customize our approach based on your individual needs and the demands of your project.
  • Flexible Pricing: We understand the financial constraints students may face, and therefore, we offer a variety of pricing plans to suit different budgets.
  • Short Deadlines: We accept orders with deadlines as short as 3 hours, always delivering on time without compromising the quality of work.
  • Timely Delivery: We understand the importance of meeting deadlines in academia and ensure timely delivery of all assignments.
  • 24/7 Support: Our customer service team is available round the clock to assist you with any queries or issues you may have.
  • Absolute Privacy: We maintain strict confidentiality and privacy policies to protect your personal information.
  • Easy Order Tracking: With our seamless order tracking system, you can easily monitor the progress of your paper.
  • Money Back Guarantee: We offer a money-back guarantee if our work does not meet the agreed-upon standards, giving you peace of mind when using our services.

In conclusion, iResearchNet offers a comprehensive suite of academic writing services designed to support students in their academic journey. From expert writers and custom written works to in-depth research and timely delivery, iResearchNet is equipped to handle any history research paper with excellence and dedication. We believe in delivering high-quality, original, and impactful research papers that can elevate your academic experience and success. So why wait? Avail of iResearchNet’s services today and experience the relief and satisfaction of handing in a top-quality history research paper.

You’re One Step Away From Your Perfect History Research Paper!

Students often find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to writing a history research paper. With so many topics to explore and limited time to do so, this can seem like an insurmountable challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. iResearchNet is here to transform this challenge into a remarkable academic journey.

Imagine handing in a meticulously researched and perfectly structured history research paper, crafted by an expert writer with a deep understanding of your topic. Picture the relief as you submit a top-quality assignment, knowing that you’ve fulfilled all the requirements to the highest standard. And visualize the sense of achievement when you receive the grade you’ve been striving for.

This is more than a possibility – it’s a reality with iResearchNet. Our expert writing services provide a path to academic success that’s both straightforward and stress-free. You can say goodbye to the anxiety of looming deadlines and the stress of achieving the perfect balance in your paper.

Why waste precious time and energy struggling with complex historical data, grappling with the perfect argument, or wrestling with formatting guidelines? Instead, invest in your future with iResearchNet, where we turn your academic challenges into milestones of success.

So, are you ready to excel in your history research paper and make a lasting impression on your professors? Click on the order button, provide your paper details, and let our expert writers do the rest. Success in your history class is just a click away with iResearchNet!

ORDER HIGH QUALITY CUSTOM PAPER

medieval history research topics

Banner

Medieval History End-of-Year Project (W.H. 1): Home

  • Library day 1, April 17 / 18
  • Library day 2, April 19 & 22
  • Scholarly Sources
  • MLA Citations
  • Contact a Librarian

Medieval History End-of-Year Research Project

The Medieval Period is one that we have a lot more information on compared to other older eras. Because of this, there is a lot more information about many different civilizations that we can learn about. In order to facilitate learning about EVERYTHING, you are going to become an expert in ONE thing and present it to the class. 

Medieval History Topics - for Partners or Individual Students

Topics from which to choose ( either for students working with a partner or  working  alone):

Gupta Empire*

Aksumite Empire*

Mayan Empire*

Mongol Empire*

Indian Ocean Spice Trade*

Heian Japan*

Renaissance Italy*

West African Kingdoms (Songhai, Mali and Ghana)*

Great Zimbabwe*

Rise of Christianity (Jesus through Great Schism)*

The Silk Road*

The Vikings*

Protestant Reformation*

Medieval History Topics - for Individual Students Only

Topics from which to choose ( for students   working  alone only ):

The Spanish Inquisition

The Song Dynasty (China)

Scientific Revolution

Mississippian Culture (Cahokia)

Angevin Empire

Seljuk Empire

Mughal Empire

Hundred Years War

The Black Death

Khmer Empire

Great Pueblo / Ancestral Pueblo (Chaco Canyon)

Medieval Universities

Medieval History Project Documents

  • Medieval History Project Overview Overview of the project, including the list of research topics, the final product requirements, and the project breakdown with due dates.
  • Medieval Project: Note Taking via Sources Document Use this document to record your project sources and to take notes about them.
  • Medieval History Project Rubric This is the grading rubric for the medieval history End-of-Year project,
  • Next: Library day 1, April 17 / 18 >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 19, 2024 8:50 AM
  • URL: https://robinsonss-fcps.libguides.com/c.php?g=1394743

Medieval History Research Topics: Uncovering the Untold Stories

Medieval History Research Topics

Table of Contents

Delving into the rich tapestry of medieval history offers a captivating journey through the ages. This era, spanning roughly from the 5th to the 15th century, witnessed monumental shifts in politics, culture, and technology that continue to influence our world today. Whether you’re a student, scholar, or history enthusiast, uncovering compelling research topics within medieval history can ignite a passion for this extraordinary period. Let’s embark on an exploration of intriguing research avenues that await your scholarly curiosity.

1. Feudalism and Manorialism: Unraveling the Social Structure

Delve into the intricate web of medieval society by investigating the dynamics of feudalism and manorialism. Explore the relationships between lords, vassals, and serfs, and analyze the impact of these systems on the distribution of power and resources. Consider the role of the manor as the cornerstone of agricultural production and the social hierarchy within these self-sustaining communities.

2. The Crusades: Religious Conflict and Cross-Cultural Encounters

Unravel the complex tapestry of the Crusades, a series of religious and military campaigns that reverberated across Europe, the Middle East, and beyond. Examine the motivations, strategies, and consequences of these expeditions, and explore the cultural exchange and conflict that shaped the interactions between Western Christian forces and their counterparts in the Islamic world.

3. Medieval Medicine and Healing Practices: From Folk Remedies to Early Hospitals

Chart the evolution of medical knowledge and healing traditions during the medieval period. Investigate the influence of classical, Islamic, and folk medicine on the development of medieval medical practices. Explore the role of apothecaries, physicians, and early hospitals in providing care and treatment, and examine the intersection of superstition and emerging scientific understanding in the realm of health and healing.

Medieval History Research Topics: Uncovering the Untold Stories

Credit: www.wm.edu

4. Gothic Architecture: Symbolism, Innovation, and Spiritual Expression

Embark on a journey through the soaring arches and intricate tracery of Gothic cathedrals and monastic complexes. Explore the technological innovations and symbolic meanings embedded in these awe-inspiring structures. Investigate the religious, cultural, and artistic dimensions of Gothic architecture, and consider its enduring impact on the urban landscape and collective imagination of medieval societies.

5. Courtly Love and Chivalric Codes: Romance and Gender Dynamics

Uncover the nuances of courtly love and chivalry as literary and social constructs in medieval Europe. Explore the portrayal of romantic ideals, gender roles, and moral values in troubadour poetry, Arthurian legends, and courtly literature. Examine the intersection of love, honor, and social conduct within the aristocratic circles of medieval courts, shedding light on the cultural mores and power dynamics of the time.

Medieval History Research Topics: Uncovering the Untold Stories

Credit: www.amazon.com

6. The Black Death: Plague, Society, and Demographic Impact

Delve into the devastating impact of the Black Death, a pandemic that reshaped the social, economic, and demographic landscape of medieval Europe. Investigate the origins and transmission of the plague, as well as the responses of individuals and communities to this unparalleled catastrophe. Explore the long-term consequences of the Black Death, including labor shortages, religious upheavals, and shifts in power structures.

7. Heraldry and Symbolism: Visual Language of Medieval Nobility

Unravel the intricate world of heraldry, the system of visual symbols and emblems used by medieval nobility to convey lineage, status, and identity. Explore the significance of heraldic devices, including coats of arms, crests, and banners, as expressions of familial pride and political allegiance. Investigate the role of heraldry in shaping dynastic narratives and the visual culture of medieval heraldic display.

8. Medieval Manuscripts: Illuminated Treasures and Scriptural Traditions

Explore the artistry and scholarship preserved in medieval manuscripts, from lavishly illuminated religious texts to secular literary works. Examine the techniques of manuscript production, the role of scribes and illuminators, and the cultural contexts that shaped the transmission and preservation of knowledge. Investigate the symbiotic relationship between text and image in medieval manuscripts, delving into their aesthetic, religious, and educational dimensions.

9. The Hundred Years’ War: Conflict, Alliances, and Political Transformations

Embark on an exploration of the Hundred Years’ War, a protracted conflict that engulfed England and France, shaping the course of medieval warfare and diplomacy. Investigate the military strategies, diplomatic intrigues, and social upheavals unleashed by this prolonged struggle for territorial control and dynastic claims. Examine the enduring legacy of the Hundred Years’ War on national identity, governance, and the evolving nature of warfare.

10. Intellect and Faith: Scholasticism, Theology, and Religious Thought

Immerse yourself in the intellectual ferment of medieval scholasticism, a system of philosophical inquiry grounded in religious faith and reason. Investigate the works of key scholastic thinkers, such as Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, and explore the intersections of theology, metaphysics, and ethics in their writings. Consider the impact of scholasticism on medieval education, religious institutions, and the pursuit of knowledge within the framework of faith.

Embarking on a research journey into medieval history opens a door to a world of intrigue, spectacle, and profound human experiences. These captivating research topics offer a glimpse into the multifaceted tapestry of medieval societies, inviting exploration and scholarly inquiry. Whether your interests lie in the realms of politics, culture, religion, or technology, the medieval period beckons with a treasure trove of compelling subjects to investigate and illuminate for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions On Medieval History Research Topics: Uncovering The Untold Stories

What were the major events in medieval history.

The major events in medieval history include the Crusades, the Black Death, the Hundred Years’ War, and the Norman Conquest. These events shaped the course of history and had a significant impact on medieval society.

Who Were The Key Figures In Medieval History?

Key figures in medieval history include Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, William the Conqueror, and Pope Gregory VII. These individuals played pivotal roles in politics, warfare, religion, and culture during the medieval period.

What Were The Main Causes Of The Decline Of Feudalism?

The decline of feudalism can be attributed to factors such as the rise of strong central governments, the Black Death, the Crusades, and the growth of trade and commerce. These factors led to a shift in power dynamics and the weakening of feudalism.

How Did The Medieval Church Influence Society?

The medieval church wielded significant influence over society through its control of religious doctrine, education, and moral guidance. It acted as a unifying force and played a central role in the lives of medieval people, shaping their beliefs and values.

Guest Author Sakhawat-Shuvo wrote and edited this Article based on his best knowledge and understanding. These opinions and remarks are not endorsed or guaranteed by epichistoria.com or EpicHistoria. The Epic Historia  does not guarantee this article’s content. Readers should verify and use their judgment before trusting the content. Also, the Images used in this Article are the copyright of their Respective Owners. Please use our Comment Box or Contact Us form to report this content. This information is not accountable for losses, injuries, or damages.

Post navigation

Previous post.

Famous Medieval Battles

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Articles on Medieval manuscripts

Displaying all articles.

medieval history research topics

For 600 years the Voynich manuscript has remained a mystery. Now we think it’s partly about sex

Keagan Brewer , Macquarie University

medieval history research topics

Uncovering the mysteries of The Book of Kells – from myopic monks on magic mushrooms to superhuman detail

Rachel Moss , Trinity College Dublin

medieval history research topics

Weird Medieval Guys: this deeply researched book takes you on a romp through the Middle Ages

Madeleine S. Killacky , Bangor University

Related Topics

  • Book reviews
  • German history
  • Give me perspective
  • History books
  • Illustrated manuscripts
  • Magic mushrooms
  • Manuscripts

Top contributors

medieval history research topics

Research Fellow, Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language, and Literature, Macquarie University

medieval history research topics

PhD Candidate, Medieval Literature, Bangor University

medieval history research topics

Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College Dublin

  • X (Twitter)
  • Unfollow topic Follow topic

IMAGES

  1. Research Paper Topics in Medieval History

    medieval history research topics

  2. Research Paper Topics in Medieval History

    medieval history research topics

  3. PPT

    medieval history research topics

  4. Poster Gallery

    medieval history research topics

  5. Poster Gallery

    medieval history research topics

  6. Medieval History UPSC Notes-Important Topics & PDFs for IAS Exam!

    medieval history research topics

VIDEO

  1. MEDIEVAL HISTORY , HISTORY II LECTURE -19 By Surendra Sir।I Kashmir #jenual aabdin#sikendrashah#upp

  2. MEDIEVAL HISTORY II HISTORY II LECTURE -8 II By Surendra Sir।। Jalaluddinkhilzi #upp#ssc

  3. Brief Introduction to Medieval Maps

  4. UGC NET June 2024

  5. Research Aptitude Paper 1

  6. MEDIEVAL HISTORY , HISTORY II LECTURE -18 By Surendra Sir।I ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF DELHI DYNESTY

COMMENTS

  1. Medieval History Research Paper Topics

    In this page dedicated to medieval history research paper topics, students are presented with a wide-ranging list of captivating subjects that delve into the intricacies of the medieval era.Divided into ten categories, each containing ten unique topics, this comprehensive collection explores various aspects of political, cultural, religious, and military life during this fascinating period.

  2. Middle Ages

    Updated: June 6, 2023 | Original: April 22, 2010. People use the phrase "Middle Ages" to describe Europe between the fall of Rome in 476 CE and the beginning of the Renaissance in the 14th ...

  3. The Medieval History Journal: Sage Journals

    The Medieval History Journal (MHJ) is a peer reviewed journal and derives its distinctive profile from encompassing the entire medieval world in scope and its multi-disciplinary foci. For the MHJ, `Medieval History` signifies open chronological and … | View full journal description. This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication ...

  4. Finding Primary Sources

    Topics include geography, exploration, trade, literature, and the new field of medieval postcolonial studies. ... The Virtual Library of Medieval Manuscripts (BVMM) from the Institute for Research and History of Texts (IRHT-CNRS) provides access to reproductions of a wide selection of manuscripts from the Middle Ages to the sixteenth century ...

  5. Journal of Medieval History

    The Journal of Medieval History is a major international periodical devoted to all aspects of the history of Europe broadly defined, from Iberia to the Urals and from the Mediterranean littoral to Scandinavia and the North Atlantic, also welcoming submissions of articles placing these regions within a global context. Founded in 1975, it has a distinguished record of publication on topics ...

  6. Medieval History

    Medieval History. This strand of our one-year MSt or two-year MPhil in History is the equivalent of a free-standing Master's in Medieval History before 1500. This strand offers a unique balance of breadth and depth in the study of the medieval history of Britain and Europe. It can be taken either as a free-standing degree course or as the ...

  7. Medieval Studies and Research: Home

    This research guide is co-owned and co-authored by Dr. Danielle Mihram & Dr. Melissa L. Miller. Welcome! This Research Guide focuses on Medieval and Manuscript Studies and Research. Medieval studies is an interdisciplinary and multifaceted field which includes the history of Europe from the fall of the Western Roman Empire until the emergence ...

  8. Medieval history News, Research and Analysis

    Medieval Christians saw the lunar eclipse as a sign from God — but they also understood the science. Beth Spacey, The University of Queensland. When it came to making sense of lunar eclipses ...

  9. LibGuides: Medieval Studies: A guide to library research at Cornell

    The first volume is an alphabetical listing of sets of chronicles, miscellanies, and other collections, together with their contents of sources of medieval history up to 1500. The "Fontes" section offers a repertory of medieval writings arranged by individual author's name or anonymous title of the chronicle or document treated. (Balay, 1996).

  10. Medieval History Collections

    The collections on medieval history are one of the strengths of the IHR library. The collections focus on editions of primary sources, alongside complementary aids to study such as reference works, guides and historiography. There are sections on medieval history across the library. Collections are both geographically-arranged (for example ...

  11. History : Medieval: Home

    The following research databases will help you identify articles on medieval history. Additional research databases are listed under Articles. International Medieval Bibliography This link opens in a new window. ... Annotated selection of the important articles and books on a range of topics in medieval studies. Starting Points - Primary Sources.

  12. Middle Ages

    Summarize This Article. Middle Ages, the period in European history from the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century ce to the period of the Renaissance (variously interpreted as beginning in the 13th, 14th, or 15th century, depending on the region of Europe and other factors). A brief treatment of the Middle Ages follows.

  13. Journal of Medieval History: Vol 50, No 1 (Current issue)

    Journal of Medieval History, Volume 50, Issue 1 (2024) See all volumes and issues. ... Research Articles. Article. The judgement of God and the fate of a dog: the ninth-century ordeal debate and the anonymous Song of Count Timo. Amos Bronner. Pages: 1-19. Published online: 16 Jan 2024.

  14. Electronic Resources

    The medieval era roughly corresponds to the 1,000 years between 500 and 1500. This research guide provides an overview of materials held by the Library of Congress as well as databases and external resources on the subject. ... Each topic has a unique editorial commentary to show how the cited sources are interrelated. The citations promote ...

  15. Research Paper Topics in Medieval History

    The medieval period spanned roughly from the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century to the Renaissance in the fifteenth century. It was a time of knights, lords, ladies, and-- if you believe the legends-- even dragons. Of course, in any discipline of history, it's important to separate fact from fiction when writing a research paper.

  16. Journal of Medieval History: Vol 49, No 1

    Article | Published online: 6 Sep 2023. A simple food with many meanings: bread in late medieval England. Christopher Dyer. Article | Published online: 3 Sep 2023. View all latest articles. All journal articles featured in Journal of Medieval History vol 49 issue 1.

  17. Guides: Global Medieval Studies: Find Primary Sources

    Contains electronic texts, images, maps, animation, and sound files of French and other publications in history, literature, science, philosophy, law, economics, and political science. Almost all "classic" works of French literature are represented. Global Medieval Sourcebook. An open-access, digital repository of Medieval texts from Stanford ...

  18. Articles

    The International Medieval Bibliography is the best database to use when looking for academic journal articles and book chapters in the field of medieval European history. Link your search terms using the AND connector. For example: leprosy and england. On the search results screen, use the options on the left toolbar to narrow your search ...

  19. Professor Whalen's Medieval Research Page

    You might also start out by looking at a survey of your topic. In this case, for example, you could find a lot of basic information in Jonathan-Riley Smith, The Crusades:A Short History (New Haven, 1987). Medieval Sources in Translation (Davis Library Stacks) Now that you've got some basic information, it's time to look for primary sources.

  20. The Middle Ages

    Research Topics. 1. Children's Crusade. Your name is Daniel of Cloyes. In 1212 AD you embarked on the fifth crusade to"capture" Jerusalem but ended up in Egypt. It was also known as the Children's Crusade. Out of 30,000 crusading children, you were one of the few who returned home.

  21. Medieval History in the Modern Classroom

    Topics. A practical guide to teaching medieval topics at university through project-based learning, demonstrating how incorporating formal educational research and pedagogy into the undergraduate medieval history classroom can benefit the educational experiences of both instructors and students.

  22. Best History Research Paper Topics

    Medieval History Topics. The Role of the Catholic Church in Medieval Europe. The Impact of the Black Death on Medieval Society. The Cultural Significance of the Knights Templar. Gender Roles and Family Structure in Medieval Japan. The Causes and Consequences of the Hundred Years War.

  23. Medieval History End-of-Year Research Project

    Medieval History End-of-Year Research Project. The Medieval Period is one that we have a lot more information on compared to other older eras. Because of this, there is a lot more information about many different civilizations that we can learn about. ... Medieval History Topics - for Partners or Individual Students. Topics from which to choose ...

  24. Medieval History Research Topics: Uncovering the Untold Stories

    Delving into the rich tapestry of medieval history offers a captivating journey through the ages. This era, spanning roughly from the 5th to the 15th century, ... Medieval History Research Topics: Uncovering the Untold Stories Posted by ...

  25. Medieval manuscripts News, Research and Analysis

    Weird Medieval Guys: this deeply researched book takes you on a romp through the Middle Ages. Madeleine S. Killacky, Bangor University. A wild and fun ride through the wackier bits of Medieval ...