Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Jackson State Community College logo

Early World History

A course guide for students in Early World History courses

Charles Martel (688-741), Duke and Prince of the Franks

Age of Charles Martel

Available at JSCC Jackson Campus
First glorified as the Savior of Christendom and then vilified as an enemy of the Church, Charles Martel's career has been written and rewritten from the time of his descendants. This important new study draws on strictly contemporary sources to assess his real achievements and offers new insights into a fascinating period.

The Carolingians: a family who forged Europe

Available at JSCC Jackson Campus
Until the seventh century Europe was simply a geographic term; as Isadore of Seville defined it, Europe was "the space that extended from the river Don to Spain and the Atlantic." By the ninth century, however, Europe had gradually acquired a collective being with a shared identity. The political, cultural, and spiritual activity of laymen and churchmen had fostered the creation of a common European fold, which stretched from the Atlantic to the Vistula, and the plains of the middle Danube.

The transformation was due in large part to the Carolinians, their relations, and their allies, who together became the masters of Gaul and then much of the West. Riché traces the destiny of the Carolingians and the parallel history of Europe, stressing the roles of the leaders who imposed themselves by force, diplomacy, and culture.

Religious Franks: Religion and Power in the Frankish Kingdoms

This volume in honor of Mayke De Jong offers twenty-five essays focused upon the importance of religion to Frankish politics, a discourse to which De Jong herself has contributed greatly in her academic career. The prominent and internationally renowned contributors offer fresh perspectives on various themes such as the nature of royal authority, the definition of polity, unity and dissent, ideas of correction and discipline, the power of rhetoric and the rhetoric of power, and the diverse ways in power was institutionalized and employed by lay and ecclesiastical authorities. As such, this volume offers a uniquely comprehensive and valuable contribution to the field of medieval history, in particular the study of the Frankish world in the eighth and ninth centuries.

Medieval Christianity: A New History

This new narrative history of medieval Christianity, spanning from A.D. 500 to 1500, attempts to combine both what is unfamiliar and what is a familiar to readers. Elements of novelty in the book include a steady focus on the role of women in Christianity; the relationships among Christians, Jews, and Muslims; the experience of ordinary parishioners; the adventure of asceticism, devotion and worship, and instruction through drama, architecture, and art. Madigan expertly integrates these areas of focus with more traditional themes, such as the evolution and decline of papal power, the nature and repression of heresy, sanctity and pilgrimage, the conciliar movement, and the break between the old Western church and its reformers.

A Sacred Kingdom: Bishops and the Rise of Frankish Kingship, 300-850

Drawing on the records of nearly 100 bishops' councils spanning the centuries, alongside royal law, edicts, and capitularies of the same period, this study details how royal law and the very character of kingship among the Franks were profoundly affected by episcopal traditions of law and social order.

Legal Practice and the Written Word in the Early Middle Ages: Frankish Formulae, C.500–1000

By examining Frankish legal formularies from the Merovingian and Carolingian periods, this book provides an invaluable, detailed analysis of the problems and possibilities associated with formularies, and will be required reading for scholars of early medieval history.

King Lombards (742-814), Carolingian Empire

The Carolingians: a family who forged Europe

Available at JSCC Jackson Campus
Until the seventh century Europe was simply a geographic term; as Isadore of Seville defined it, Europe was "the space that extended from the river Don to Spain and the Atlantic." By the ninth century, however, Europe had gradually acquired a collective being with a shared identity. The political, cultural, and spiritual activity of laymen and churchmen had fostered the creation of a common European fold, which stretched from the Atlantic to the Vistula, and the plains of the middle Danube.

The transformation was due in large part to the Carolinians, their relations, and their allies, who together became the masters of Gaul and then much of the West. Riché traces the destiny of the Carolingians and the parallel history of Europe, stressing the roles of the leaders who imposed themselves by force, diplomacy, and culture.

Charlemagne or Charles the Great (c. 742-814), King of the Franks

Charlemagne's Early Campaigns (768-777): A Diplomatic and Military Analysis

Charlemagne's Early Campaigns is the first book-length study of Charlemagne at war. The neglect of this subject has truncated our understanding of the Carolingian empire and the military success of its leader, a true equal of Frederick the Great and Napoleon.

Mohammed and Charlemagne

This posthumous work of the renowned scholar Henri Pirenne (originally published in 1939) offered a new and decisive explanation of the evolution of Europe from the time of Constantine to that of Charlemagne. His revolutionary ideas overthrew many of the most cherished conceptions concerning the Middle Ages: namely that 'the Germanic invasions destroyed neither the Mediterranean unity of the ancient world, nor the essential features of Roman culture 'and that 'the cause of the break with the tradition of antiquity was the advance of Islam…'

The Continuity of the Conquest: Charlemagne and Anglo-Norman Imperialism

The Norman conquerors of Anglo-Saxon England have traditionally been seen both as rapacious colonizers and as the harbingers of a more civilized culture, replacing a tribal Germanic society and its customs with more refined Continental practices. Many of the scholarly arguments about the Normans and their influence overlook the impact of the past on the Normans themselves. The Continuity of the Conquest corrects these oversights. Wendy Marie Hoofnagle explores the Carolingian aspects of Norman influence in England after the Norman Conquest, arguing that the Normans' literature of kingship envisioned government as a form of imperial rule modeled in many ways on the glories of Charlemagne and his reign. She argues that the aggregate of historical and literary ideals that developed about Charlemagne after his death influenced certain aspects of the Normans' approach to ruling, including a program of conversion through “allurement,” political domination through symbolic architecture and propaganda, and the creation of a sense of the royal forest as an extension of the royal court.

Charlemagne : The Formation of a European Identity

Charlemagne is often claimed as the greatest ruler in Europe before Napoleon. This magisterial study re-examines Charlemagne the ruler and his reputation. It analyses the narrative representations of Charlemagne produced after his death, and thereafter focuses on the evidence from Charlemagne's lifetime concerning the creation of the Carolingian dynasty and the growth of the kingdom, the court and the royal household, communications and identities in the Frankish realm in the context of government, and Charlemagne's religious and cultural strategies. The book offers a critical examination of the contemporary sources and in so doing transforms our understanding of the development of the Carolingian empire, the formation of Carolingian political identity, and the astonishing changes effected throughout Charlemagne's forty-six year period of rule. This is a major contribution to Carolingian history which will be essential reading for anyone interested in the medieval past.

The life of Charlemagne

Available at JSCC Jackson Campus

Medieval Europe

A spirited and thought-provoking history of the vast changes that transformed Europe during the 1,000-year span of the Middle Ages The millennium between the breakup of the western Roman Empire and the Reformation was a long and hugely transformative period—one not easily chronicled within the scope of a few hundred pages. Yet distinguished historian Chris Wickham has taken up the challenge in this landmark book, and he succeeds in producing the most riveting account of medieval Europe in a generation. Tracking the entire sweep of the Middle Ages across Europe, Wickham focuses on important changes century by century, including such pivotal crises and moments as the fall of the western Roman Empire, Charlemagne's reforms, the feudal revolution, the challenge of heresy, the destruction of the Byzantine Empire, the rebuilding of late medieval states, and the appalling devastation of the Black Death.