This book provides a classic introduction to a key period in the history of Europe - the transition from medieval to Renaissance Europe.
In this updated edition, Professor Holmes traces the main political events as well as describing broader changes in social structure and culture. He reveals the interactions between politics, society and ideas that contributed to the problems and changes of this period.
The book addresses the crises of the medieval world. At the start of the period, Europe was dominated by the institutions of the church, monarchy, armies of knightly cavalry and Gothic art. By the end, the Papacy had been drastically weakened, the Hussite movement was heralding the social and religious changes to come in the next century, the armoured knight was no longer a formidable force, and the cultural movement of the Italian Renaissance was beginning to unfold. The author shows how economic forces, including the Black Death and the fall in population threatened the power of the landowners, church and monarchy and how such changes prompted interaction not only between political powers but between different communities and divergent ways of life and thought.
Throughout the book, Professor Holmes relates his strong political narrative to the social and ideological movements of the period and explains the legacy of this period for the centuries that followed. For this edition, he has included updates to the text and bibliography.