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Medieval History: Basic Resources: Getting Started

What's Here?

Important general resources for researching the Middle Ages, as well as sections on religion, women, and specific countries.

Not Sure Where To Start?

Articles in scholarly encyclopedias usually present a good overview of the topic and identify the current issues, approaches, and scholarship relating to that topic. They often have good bibliographies that can lead you to other books and articles on the topic.


Bibliographies are great for finding out what has been written/is available on a specific topic.

Medieval Germany: Research and Resources
John Eldevik. Washington, DC, German Historical Institute, 2006
Dana Call Number: Ref. Z2237 .E54 2006
A Cumulative Bibliography of Medieval Military History and Technology
Kelly DeVries. Leiden, Brill, 2002.
The most comprehensive guide to literature relating to medieval military history.
Dana Ref. U37 .D48 2002
Medieval Warfare Bibliography
Partially annotated annual (1998- ) bibliography of books and articles dealing with medieval military history, including works on the Crusades and Military Orders.

Medieval Science and Technology: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography.
Claudia Kren. New York, Garland Pub., 1985.
Dana Ref. Q124.97 .K74 1985

The Middle Ages

Dictionary of the Middle Ages
New York, 1982-2003. 13 volumes.
About 5000 signed articles, with bibliographies, on all aspects of medieval civilization from about 500 to 1500 AD. The premier encyclopedic resource for medieval studies, this is an excellent starting point for research! [Sample Pages]
DANA Call Number: Ref. D114.D5 1982
Ancient Europe: 8000 BC to 1000 AD: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World
Peter Bogucki and Pam J. Crabtree, editors. New York, Thompson/Gale, 2004.
Vol. 2 includes signed entries with bibliographies on the early Middle Ages on subjects such as state formation, coinage, gender, agriculture, and clothing; and on groups such as the Goths, Huns, Scythians, Slaves, and Vikings. Strong archaelogical focus.Rutgers-restricted Access
Middle Ages Reference Library
Judson Knight and Judy Galens, editors. Detroit, Gale, 2001.
Electronic version of the 5-volume set. "Almanac" offers essays within a chronological and geographical framework. Volumes 2 and 3 consist of biographical entries; while volume 4 offers primary documents. Rutgers-restricted Access


New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2d edition
New York, Thomson Gale, 2002-2003.
About 12,000 signed articles with bibliographies [Sample Pages]; useful for biographical and hagiological information, as well as articles relating to the history of theological and doctrinal issues. Rutgers-restricted Access
Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2nd edition
Detroit, Macmillan Reference USA, 2007.
Thousands of signed articles, most with bibliographies, on all aspects of Judaism, Jewish life and history. The standard encyclopedia. Rutgers-restricted Access
Encyclopaedia of Islam.
New edition. 13 volumes. Leiden, Brill. 1960-2006.
Articles on all aspects of the Islamic world, the standard reference work for Islamic Studies. Includes extensive bibliographies.
DANA Call Number: Ref. DS37 .E523 Rutgers-restricted Access
The Crusades: An Encyclopedia.
Alan V. Murray, editor. 4 vols. Santa Barbara, Calif, ABC-CLIO, 2006.
1000 signed entries, with brief bibliographies, on topics, individuals, families and dynasties, anonymous works, places and countries. If you're working on the Crusades this is the place to start!
Dana Call Number: Ref. D155 .C78 2006
Cambridge Histories Online: Religious Studies
Includes The Cambridge History of the Bible; The Cambridge History of Christianity; The Cambridge History of Islam; and The Cambridge History of Judaism.


Women in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia
Edited by Katharina M. Wilson and Nadia Margolis. Westport, Conn., Greenwood Press, 2006. 2 vols.
300 signed one to ten-page entries with bibliographies relating to the history of women from the 3rd to the 15th centuries. Most entries are biographical but there are many entries on topics such as childrearing, clothing, convents, dowry, law, medicine, music, etc. [Sample Pages]
DANA Call Number: Ref. HQ1143 .W643 2004


Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture
James S. Donnelly Jr., editor. Farmington Hill, MI, Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.
More than 400 signed entries on historical, social, and cultural topics relating to Irish history from prehistory to the present. Includes 150 primary documents. Rutgers-restricted Access
Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia
Edited by E. Michael Gerli. New York, Routledge, 2003.
Over 800 signed entries with brief bibliographies on people, events, institutions and topics relevant to Spain and Portugal from 470 to 1500.
Dana Call Number: Ref. DP99 .M33 2003

The Cambridge Histories

The Cambridge Histories are scholarly, highly respected volumes of essays on the histories of countries and subjects. Each chapter is generally accompanied by an extensive bibliography. Among the volumes currently available online:

Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire c.500-1492
Jonathan Shepard, editor. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2008. Rutgers-restricted Access
New Cambridge Medieval History
Rosamond McKitterick, editor. 8 volumes. New York, Cambridge University Press, 1995-2005. Rutgers-restricted Access
The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought c.350-c.1450
J.H. Burns, editor. The Cambridge History of Political Thought v.2. New York, Cambridge University Press, 1988. Rutgers-restricted Access

Topical Dictionaries

Topical dictionaries may have shorter entries focusing on people and terms.

Dictionary of Medieval Knighthood and Chivalry: Concepts and Terms
Bradford B. Broughton. New York, Greenwood Press, 1986.
DANA Call Number: Ref. CR4505 .B76 1986 [Sample Pages]
The Late Medieval Age of Crisis and Renewal: A Biographical Dictionary
Clayton J. Dees. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.
Short signed entries with brief bibliographies on leading cultural figures of the late Middle Ages.
DANA Call Number: Ref. CB 353 L38 2001

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