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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Introduction

Summary

This book is an attempt to explore the fundamental dimensions of the medieval history of Southeastern Europe from c. 500 to 1250, broadly the period between the last century of Roman power in the Balkans and the Mongol invasion of Eastern Europe. The primary aim of the book is to provide an overview of the historical developments that characterized a region of Europe about which there is generally little knowledge outside a small number of scholars with specific, often narrowly defined research interests. In the last few decades, the study of medieval societies in Eastern Europe has moved in new and significant directions. The successful use of interdisciplinary approaches, the growth of medieval archaeology, the revived interest in the history of the Church, the development of gender studies, and the encouragement to engage with comparative history have all informed research into the medieval past of Eastern Europe. The following chapters will make extensive use of the results of these new lines of research, in the process delineating a general conclusion that is worth stating plainly from the very beginning: medieval Southeastern Europe was in many ways similar to other parts of Europe, to a degree far greater than most scholars have so far been willing to admit. The secondary purpose of this book is therefore to relate to each other developments in the southeastern region of the European continent and to consider their implications for our understanding of the Middle Ages.