Books and Resources

Medieval England, 500-1500: A Reader, Second Edition

Author: Emilie Amt and Katherine Allen Smith

Time Period: 500-1500

About The Book

The new edition of Medieval England, 500-1500, edited by Emilie Amt and Katherine Allen Smith, spans several centuries in 102 documents that present the social and political history of England. The documents include constitutional highlights and records such as the Magna Carta and Froissart’s Chronicles, as well as narrative sources describing the lived experiences of a range of historical actors. These narratives fit into thematic clusters covering topics such as the Anglo-Saxon monarchy, lay piety, later medieval commercial life, queenship, and Jewish communities.

Thirty-nine new sources discuss significant events like the conquest of Wales, the Gregorian mission, and the Viking invasions. They also allow for multiple examples of particular genres, such as wills and miracle collections, to facilitate comparative analysis. Introductions and questions situate each source in the historical landscape and facilitate engagement with the text, inspiring readers to delve into the medieval past. The book also features 40 illustrations, a map, and an index of topics.

About The Author

Emilie Amt is the Hildegarde Pilgram Professor of History at Hood College, Maryland. Her books include The Crusades: A Reader (2003) and Women’s Lives in Medieval Europe: A Sourcebook (2010). Katherine Allen Smith is Associate Professor of History at University of Puget Sound. She is the co-editor of Negotiating Community and Difference in Medieval Europe (2009) and the author of War and the Making of Medieval Monastic Culture (2011).

Study Questions

The following prompts are designed to encourage students to think critically about key turning points and significant long-term developments in English history by developing close readings of relevant sources from the collection. Any of them might be the basis for a short essay assignment focused on a small number of relevant documents.