In the millennium between the fall of Rome and the Reformation - commonly known as the 'Middle Ages' - Europe emerged as something more than an idea, and many of the institutions, cultural forces and political ideas we associate with the 'modern' world were born. What is the continuing relevance of this era for contemporary society? And how are we to understand medieval history and culture on its own terms, rather than through the distorting prism of presentist concerns? These are among the most urgent and problematic questions facing medieval scholarship today. The James Lydon Lectures in Medieval History and Culture, delivered at Trinity College Dublin, is a biennial series providing a unique platform for a distinguished lecturer to reflect on these issues. The series is named for James Francis Lydon FTCD, Lecky Professor of History at Trinity College Dublin (1928–2013).