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Introduction 1 Daniel Power Why the 'central Middle Ages'? 3 Europe in the central Middle Ages: climate and environment 7 The faultlines of European culture 11 The political divisions of Europe 15 Europe around the year looo: a continent transformed? 22 An age of expansion 25 1 Society 28 Martin Aurell Scholarly discourses versus social realities 29 The castellan aristocracy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries 32 A 'nobility of privileges' in the thirteenth century 37 The peasantry: servitude and freedom 40 Proud to be merchants 43 The poor and marginalized 45 The family 47 The village and the lordship 54 2 Economy 57 David Nicholas The first phase of rural economic expansion (to c.n8o): an agricultural revolution? 58 The towns and the development of a market economy 63 The expansion of the rural economy: the second phase (c.ln8-c.133o) 66 The coinage revolution 69 The commercial changes of the thirteenth century 72 The situation of Italy 80 Credit and banking 82 The fairs 86 The 'commercial revolution' of the late thirteenth century? 88 3 Politics 91 Bjorn Weiler The political geography of Europe 91 Qualifications for kingship 96 The theory and practice of kingship 1oo The community of the realm 108 The means and ends of political communication 113 4 Religion 121 Julia Barrow Sources 121 The Church's ancien rdgime: bishops and ritual c.iooo 123 The process of transition 126 Law and the Church hierarchy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries 128 The lay experience of religion 133 Monks, nuns, regular canons, and friars 138 Heretics 144 Jewish communities 145 Muslims in Spain 147 5 Intellectual and Cultural Creativity 149 Anna Sapir Abulafia Education and learning: the schools 150 Education and learning: the universities 158 Historians and (auto)biographers at work 164 Vernacular culture 170 A twelfth-century Renaissance? 175 6 The Expansion of Latin Christendom 178 Nora Berend Christianization in Scandinavia and central Europe 179 The new polities of central Europe 185 The new polities of northern Europe 190 Iberia 194 Crusades 200 Travels, mission, and discoveries 206 Conclusion 209 Daniel Power