A picture of the politics, society and religion of medieval Europe, the age that had as its theme the unity of Christendom. The author examines tribal wars, the Crusades, the growth of trade and the shifting patterns of community life as villages grew into towns and towns into sizeable cities. He explores how Papal victories, by blurring the distinction between temporal and spiritual matters, eventually undermined the spiritual authority of the Church. And he discusses how the Hundred Years War escalated from a feudal dispute into a full-scale national conflict, until, by the mid-15th century, changing economic and social conditions had transformed the unity of Christendom into merely a pious phrase.
Maurice Keen is Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, where he lectured in medieval history from 1961 to 2000.