Medieval Cities Their Origins and the Revival of Trade

ISBN-10: 0691162395

ISBN-13: 9780691162393

Edition: 2014 (Revised)

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Description: Nearly a century after it was first published in 1925, Medieval Cities remains one of the most provocative works of medieval history ever written. Here, Henri Pirenne argues that it was not the invasion of the Germanic tribes that destroyed the civilization of antiquity, but rather the closing of Mediterranean trade by Arab conquest in the seventh century. The consequent interruption of long-distance commerce accelerated the decline of the ancient cities of Europe. Pirenne challenges conventional wisdom by attributing the origins of medieval cities to the revival of trade, tracing their growth from the tenth century to the twelfth. He also describes the important role the middle class played in the development of the modern economic system and modern culture.Featuring a new introduction by Michael McCormick, this Princeton Classics edition of Medieval Cities is essential reading for all students of medieval European history.

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Book details

List price: $14.95
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 7/21/2014
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 208
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.440
Language: English

Belgian-born historian Henry Pirenne spent most of his professional life as professor of history at the University of Ghent. During World War I, he was a leader of Belgian passive resistance and spent several years as a hostage of the Germans. As a historian Pirenne centered his attention on the urban development of the Low Countries during the medieval period. In Medieval Cities, published in 1925, he argues that medieval urban development grew out of regional fortresses. With the economic revival beginning in the tenth century, city and town life expanded. These communities created their own laws, allowing the development of individual freedoms. Pirenne is best remembered, however, for the "Pirenne thesis" about the foundations of European civilization, which he put forth in his 1937 work Mohammed and Charlemagne. The thesis is that the great event that pushed Europeans into the formation of their own civilization was not the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century but the Islamic conquest of much of the Mediterranean.

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