Covering a thousand years of history, this richly illustrated volume tells the story of the creation of Western civilization in Europe and the Mediterranean. Written by noted scholars and based on the latest research, it offers the most authoritative account of life in medieval Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire to the coming of the Renaissance. Exploring a period of profound diversity and change, the contributors focus on all aspects of medieval history from the empires and kingdoms of Charlemagne and the Byzantines to the new nations which fought the Hundred Years War; from the expression of religion in the great monasteries and cathedrals to the mixed ambitions of the Crusades; and from the cultural worlds of chivalric knights, popular festivals, and new art forms to the social catastrophe of the Black Death. Divided between the Mediterranean world and northern Europe, the six chapters in this book demonstrate the movement of the center of gravity in European life from the Mediterranean to the north. With over two hundred illustrations, including dozens in color, the volume also contains comprehensive reference material in maps, genealogies, a chronology, lists of further reading, and a full index.