contributor.author: David Nicholas

title.none: Jones, ed., The New Cambridge Medieval History VI: c.1300-c.1415 (Nicholas)

identifier.other: baj9928.0106.003 01.06.03

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: David Nicholas, Clemson University, nicholas@innova.net

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2001

identifier.citation: Jones, Michael, ed. The New Cambridge Medieval History VI: c.1300-c.1415. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Pp. xxx, 1110. $120.00. ISBN: 0-521-36290-3.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 01.06.03

Jones, Michael, ed. The New Cambridge Medieval History VI: c.1300-c.1415. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Pp. xxx, 1110. $120.00. ISBN: 0-521-36290-3.

Reviewed by:

David Nicholas
Clemson University
nicholas@innova.net

The sixth volume of the revised classic encyclopedia of medieval history contains an introduction by the editor and twenty-six substantive chapters. Eleven chapters dealing with general themes (28.6 per cent of the text pages) are followed by six concerning the states of the west (42.8 per cent), two on the church and politics (5 per cent), and a concluding section of seven chapters on northern and eastern Europe (21.2 per cent). Five of the six chapters of part 2 are internally divided and have multiple authors; all others are by a single author. Closer attention is paid to Britain than to the continent in the political/institutional chapters: 114 pages, against 53 for France, 72 for Italy, 137 for the Empire, the Low Countries, and the Iberian peninsula, and 186 for northern and eastern Europe. Updated bibliographies (180 pages, 16.7 per cent of the book exclusive of the index) are provided for each chapter, divided into sections of primary sources and secondary works; fortunately, no effort was made to remove duplication between chapter bibliographies. The primary foci of the seventh volume of the first edition, which this replaces, on western continental Europe and England and on politics and institutions are thus maintained here, but much less strictly, and the thematic chapters show the impact of topics and methodologies that were of less or no interest to the authors of 1932. Much of the discussion in the earlier volume, particularly in the analytical chapters, dealt with a broader time frame than this book, which thus provides more detail on the critical crises of the fourteenth century than its predecessor. Areas in which archival work has advanced since the earlier work are reflected in the increased attention to social and economic developments and particularly the diverse consequences of the series of plagues, public administration, and bureaucracy in addition to the more traditional story of the evolution of representative institutions and royal power and the decline of the temporal power of the church. By contrast, this volume is not well served by most of the chapters on cultural developments, which suffer from brevity and generalizations. Some important topics are not treated or are given only cursory mention, such as the proliferation of smaller schools that were not universities and the development of vernacular literature in Germany and the Slavic East. A major omission, which is particularly striking for the period of the Hundred Years War, is military tactics and strategy, although aspects are treated in articles whose main focus is elsewhere. The chronology is not entirely consistent; although this volume goes to c. 1415, some authors stop at 1400. Henry IV's reign in England (1399 - 1413) is discussed in volume VII rather than here. The individual authors seem to have had no common rule regarding annotation; some articles are densely footnoted, but others are completely unfootnoted. Some authors of political-institutional sections seem to have tried to avoid duplication with thematic chapters, while others held rigidly to what they perceived as their assignments. There appears to be an unstated consensus among the authors that the first half of the century was more interesting or important than the second, for in several of the articles, notably Peter Spufford on trade and Angeliki Laiou on the Byzantine Empire, the period after 1350 receives very cursory treatment.

The first part of the book, "General Themes," begins with four chapters on cultural topics and ends with three others, separating them by five chapters on economic and social developments. Albert Rigaudiere, "The Theory and Practice of Government in Western Europe in the Fourteenth Century," seeks common elements in the formulation of a "a theory of politics . . . in this century when feudalism died" (p. 17). Legal scholarship is basic to his discussion, but he sees an important transition between the jurists, who continued to emphasize the importance of the canon law tradition, and "political scientists" such as Dante and Marsilius and less radically Ockham. He discusses the theory of state, a term that he admits was not used by contemporaries, then switches to administrative kingship to conclude that the rise of administrative departments and bureaucracy were especially "burdensome for the governed" (p. 34) in France, considerably less so in England, with the Iberian kingdoms taking a middle way. Until c. 1340 the powers of the kings were growing, buttressed by a state apparatus; thereafter the wars and the kings' inability to finance them unassisted led to involvement of the commoners through representative institutions.

Jeremy Catto, "Currents of religious thought and expression," sees the development of an "agreed theological language" (p. 42) through the major schools and the spread of theological education among the clergy as the crucial themes. Catto provides a survey of saints, sermons, religious guilds, and processions, stressing the informality of voluntary religious communities as a characteristic of fourteenth-century religion. Theologians, implicitly recognizing the limitations of reason as their thirteenth-century predecessors had not, simply speculated without trying to develop systems. Mysticism flourished among the confraternities, especially in Germany and the Low Countries. An important departure of this type of religious literature was its composition in the vernaculars, which previously had not generally been used for abstract thought.

Jacques Verger, "The Universities," is quite general, actually containing less on the German universities than Ivan Hlavacek's largely political chapter on the Empire. Some new universities, such as Orleans, amounted to a papal conferral of university standing on a studium generale that had existed long before. Verger also notes the unsuccessful attempts to found universities, particularly in Italy; most of these were efforts to transform urban grammar and law schools into studia generalia by papal privilege. He also discusses the expansion of the older universities through the addition of new faculties. The popes became more willing after mid-century to sanction theological faculties outside the older universities. Verger discusses university institutions, town-gown relations, the financial support of the universities through papal benefices and colleges, and the establishment of salaried professorships by towns and princes. He admits that the changes in curriculum were minor but finds that the development of new doctrines and debates meant that the universities remained vibrant.

Paul Binski, "Court Patronage and International Gothic," sees changes in patronage as the major element in the spread of Gothic from churches and courts to the cities. The thirteenth-century predominance of France passed to England in architecture, to Italy in painting, and in the late fourteenth century to Burgundy and Flanders in the figurative arts. There is some overlap between this chapter and Paul Crossley, "Architecture," but Crossley also includes changes in military architecture and castles, where the major role in the transformation of fortress to residential palace is given to the Valois kings and dukes. Nick Havely, "Literature in Italian, French and English: uses and muses of the vernacular," is disappointingly brief. He discusses the growing preference for vernacular over Latin writing, although this is not reflected in the holdings of most libraries. He considers the complex interaction of literacy, orality, and aurality and notes that in the fourteenth century few works appeared anonymously. This article is too concerned with literary form and not enough with the social implications of the growth of literature in the vernaculars to be of much help to historians.

The social and economic chapters are much stronger than the cultural. Paul Freedman, "Rural Society," is an admirably balanced piece that begins with a discussion of the historiography of the plagues. Although Freedman admits the strength of the demographic model, he also examines "forces external to the economy such as disease or climate shifts" and those within the economic system, "such as inheritance customs or the relations between peasants and their landlords" (p. 83). He provides important geographical comparisons of agrarian routines and peasant situations. In discussing antecedents of the great death of 1348-49, including the famine of 1315, Freedman discusses Michael Postan's attempt to determine population decline by structural failure (the Malthusian problem), and notes that although recent scholars have confirmed Postan's notion of population decline before 1348, it was not for Malthusian reasons: thus there is little evidence of expansion into marginal farmland. Freedman concludes that the short-term effect of the epidemics was generally positive for the lower orders; but in the long term, by 1400, there was depression, which he attributes to the repetition of plagues. His account of the peasant revolts is gratifyingly non-ideological. He discusses various typologies of the revolts but devotes most attention on rebellions triggered by political and military events. One important change in peasant rebellions after 1300 is that "they were framed in terms larger than local grievances" (p. 96).

Jean-Pierre Leguay, "Urban Life," is too brief for the importance of its topic. He begins with a demographic survey, including as "urban" places that are quite small, following the current fashion. Given the coverage of these topics by Binski and Crossley, he spends disproportionate time on urban building. Calling this "a century of suffering" (p. 106), he discusses the plague in specific towns but also considers wartime devastations and local problems as diverse as fires and heavy taxation. Although he admits that the major urban revolts were political in nature, his attributions of general causes always come back to misery and insecurity. Although he discusses town government, correctly noting a major change in the fourteenth century with princes delegating tax-collection to town administrations, he does not discuss the basis for council membership for any city. He does not deal much with trade, the growth of town industry, or immigration, and he devotes only two pages to artisans and the fluctuation of markets for their goods and labor.

Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, "Plague and family life," provides a densely footnoted and conceptually sophisticated chapter that contains more information on the demographic impact of the plagues than the chapters on the urban and rural economies. Although she claims to deal more with methodology and "lines of inquiry" than with specific numbers, in fact she cites numerous case studies. Her figures show decline, not simply deceleration of demographic growth, before 1348 practically everywhere. After a discussion of the series of plagues, she adopts the thematic emphases appropriate to students of family history, beginning with life-cycle and continuing with death rates, the age pyramid, birth rates and fertility, and nuptiality. She provides an intelligent critique of J. Hajnal's European marriage model. Although she sees the standard household as conjugal, Italy and some northern communities often had multigenerational households. She makes the important distinction between "the consequences of death rates linked to subsistence crises" (p.148), which broke families and led to migration of displaced persons into the cities, and death rates associated with the plagues, which led more to the wealthier countryfolk going to the cities in search of better opportunities, and in some cases of wealthy city people moving to country estates. Movement of the rural lower classes into the towns in response to the plagues was more modest. This article is excellent for its examples from Italy, England, and northern France; it does not address conditions in Germany or the Low Countries or consider the extent to which family changes there correspond to those noted in her "model" areas.

Peter Spufford, "Trade in fourteenth-century Europe," is also very good. He finds that trading patterns in the first half of the fourteenth century largely prolonged those of the period of the "commercial revolution" of the late thirteenth. Although he does not ignore trade, his principal focus is long-distance trade, "which was primarily consumption rather than production led" (p. 156), while the local fairs were more oriented toward production, bringing the specialized goods of their districts into broader currents of trade. "Unlike modern producer-led economies, that of fourteenth-century Europe was predominantly a network of consumer-led economies" (p.156). Spufford discusses the trade in bulk commodities, dealing each item separately, then moves to the luxury trades, which, like the trade in bulk goods, were demand-driven. He discusses the major manufactured items and the areas that specialized in them. Much of this involved Europeans starting to make finished luxuries that had previously been imported from the east. Industrial borrowing becomes a major theme of the early fourteenth century, with conspicuous examples including the onset of Italian luxury textile manufacturing, for most Italian products imitated the expensive Netherlandish grades. The privileges and activities of the colonies of resident aliens in the major cities lead Spufford to the evolution of commercial techniques. The network of exchanges had not penetrated eastern Europe significantly before the late fourteenth century; until then, trade with these areas had to be handled by bullion taken to Bruges or Venice, from which it could enter the west European money system. He emphasizes the Atlantic trade route, noting its expense and the state involvement in the galleys, particularly from Venice. The profitability of this trade hinged on developing boats of greater capacity that could carry bulk as well as luxury goods. He also speaks of a "road revolution" (p.188) of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, with wider and better paved roads and numerous bridges. Pack horses and mules were yielding to two- and later to four-wheeled carts. The second half of the century saw overseas markets affected increasingly by military disturbances, high taxation, and coin debasements. He also sees some loss of position by the Italian merchants in long-distance trade and banking, due principally to the bankruptcies of the 1340s. He discusses the decline in money supply and shrinkage of international credit and of course the plagues; but although he calls the epidemics "the most evident" (p. 200) of the differences between first and second halves of the century, he considers mainly their impact on rents. Spufford presents few data from the early fifteenth century, interpreting his topic as fourteenth century rather than extending to 1415. His comparison of the first and second halves of the century also appears overdrawn, and he is imprecise in using some post-1350 material to show trends allegedly beginning 1300-1350.

Maurice Keen, "Chivalry and the Aristocracy," presents the thesis that "a growing secular and princely orientation was a significant feature of the fourteenth-century development of the chivalric ideal" (pp. 209-10) as reflected in the broadly similar statutes of knightly orders/societies, which rewarded nobles who had been loyal to their founding prince. The orders also have analogies to tournament practices, noble entertainment pageantry, the language and practice of retaining, and to the nature of the aristocratic household and the services performed for its head. Keen presents an intellectual history of chivalry, not a history of the nobility generally, and certainly not a definition of nobility.

The second part of this volume, "The States of the West," consists of generally uncontroversial chapters on political and military history whose emphases vary with the interests of the individual authors. W. Mark Ormrod, "England: Edward II and Edward III," begins with personality delineations of the two kings, then discusses wars and foreign affairs by enemy, starting with Scotland, then France. He thinks that the assumption of the French royal title by Edward III in 1340 was a diplomatic ploy and that the first stages of the conflict accordingly concerned territory rather than dynastic interests. After discussing the military and political conflict with the French through 1375, Ormrod switches to a more general treatment of how the war affected the English, for example how troops were raised, war damages from the Scots, levels of taxation, the burdens of purveyance, and war taxation. He then discusses Edward III's relations with the nobility and concludes with the "broadening of the political community" (p. 291), specifically the development of Parliament. Caroline M. Barron, "The Reign of Richard II," considers this king a far abler man than his grandfather, but she admits that Richard's inability to listen to constructive advice and criticism seriously undermined the authority that he sought to establish. She devotes considerable attention to Richard's travels about the kingdom in the 1390s. Given the constitutional issues at play, this chapter is surprisingly personal and unanalytical.

Contributions by A. D. Carr ("Wales"), Alexander Grant ("Fourteenth-century Scotland), and Robin Frame ("Ireland") conclude the chapter on the British Isles. Carr's discussion centers on Welsh relations with the English, although he has sections on the Welsh nobility and the economy. Grant contrasts the disasters of the fourteenth century with the prosperity of Scotland in the twelfth and thirteenth. War and dynastic problems with the English also dominate this piece, but he includes illuminating discussions of the growth of the Scottish wool export and of the internecine struggles of the nobles and their relations with the crown. While the thirteenth-century kings had had the nation behind them, their successors of the fourteenth century were heads of factions. Grant includes a discussion of the institutions of government, noting that parliamentary evolution and household government were much less advanced than in England. Frame highlights English activities in Ireland, including Richard II's inability to convince English persons born in Ireland to return there, but he does not minimize the importance of the native lords.

France is served by two articles of differing effectiveness. Michael Jones, "The last Capetians and early Valois kings, 1314-1364" uses a thematic approach, taking the situation left by Philip the Fair in 1314 as the benchmark to note the striking decline of the French crown and the French economy during the fourteenth century. He analyzes political instability and the often chaotic relations of the kings with the nobles, the rise of parlement, regional Estates, the Estates-General, and the elaboration of an ideology and image of monarchy under the Valois. His account of the early stages of the Hundred Years War is appropriately from a French perspective. Jones provides a particularly illuminating account of changes in both central and local royal administration, justice, and finance, including the altered relations of the apanages and the crown. A major theme is the fixing of the principal administrative departments in the Palais de la Cite by John II's period, followed by Charles V's move to the Louvre and the Hotel de Saint-Pol, which became an "administrative city"(p. 410). This is an admirable chapter, like Ormrod's combining politics and military affairs with institutional evolution. Francoise Autrand, "France under Charles V and Charles VI," is adequate but less thorough than Jones' article. She deals realistically with Charles V, noting recent scholarship suggesting that he was less "wise" than his patronage of intellectuals and Christine de Pizan's encomium would have it. Autrand deals briefly with the war until 1375, then the power struggles after 1380, but the latter are discussed very superficially; her main focus is the period of hostility with the English. A discussion of the nobility and of the apanages forms the background of her pages on the domestic turmoil after 1392. She notes that with many nobles, not only the princes of the blood, had larger incomes in patronage than from lands and lordships. She deals very generally with the central institutions of government, with her best material on parlement.

The Empire receives a two-part chapter. Neither section includes the territorial principalities except in their connection with the emperors. Peter Herde, "From Adolf of Nassau to Lewis of Bavaria, 1292-1347," provides a reign-by-reign political and dynastic summary, with scant attention paid to the minimal evolution of the institutions of government, except to some extent with Albert of Habsburg. Herde concludes that the Swiss confederation was initially intended merely to preserve existing rights; only with the double election after Henry VII's death in 1313 did the Swiss take an overtly anti-Habsburg position. Most of his attention is given to the Italian involvements of Henry VII and the domestic and foreign problems of Lewis of Bavaria. Ivan Hlavacek, "The Luxemburgs and Rupert of the Palatinate, 1347-1410," is less detailed but more analytical than Herde, although his article too neglects government institutions. Charles IV followed two main lines of policy: consolidation of his position and domain in Bohemia, thus abandoning the pretext of imperial grandeur, and promoting commercial and urban development in Bohemia. Although his French training conditioned Charles's foreign policy, he actually spent more effort consolidating his position in the east, especially relations with Poland and Hungary, on whose thrones he hoped to put Luxembourgs. The reign of Wenceslas IV receives relatively sympathetic treatment. Hlavacek does not argue that Wenceslas was a successful king, but he does say that his faults tended to be of overly ambitious designs rather than negligence. Exceptionally for the political chapters, this one includes short sections on economic, social, and cultural developments, where Hlavacek deals cursorily with the Czech movement.

Walter Prevenier, "The Low Countries, 1290-1415," discusses internal politics and problems and foreign policy separately for Flanders, Brabant, Holland-Zeeland-Hainault, and the principality of Liege through c. 1360. The entry of the dukes of Burgundy into Low Country affairs after 1369 marks a transition to a half-century of Netherlandish involvement in the broader problems of France and to a lesser degree the Empire. Prevenier concludes the chapter with uncharacteristically brief sections on cultural and socio-economic developments, which of course are handled in other chapters.

While the chapters on France, England, and the Empire are divided chronologically, and the principalities of the Low Countries, which bridged France and the Empire, are considered as a unit, Mediterranean Europe is treated regionally. John Law, "The Italian North," leads from the political and ideological ramifications of Henry VII's Italian expedition to the general theme of foreign involvements in Italy. He discusses the governmental institutions of ecclesiastical and lay principalities that had a feudal origin, "communes ruled by republican forms of government affording participation to privileged citizens" (p. 450), and signorie, which in the fourteenth century were "the most prevalent form of government in northern Italy"(p. 450). There were both rural and urban signorie, but in the latter case, the ruling family derived much of its income and influence from its rural estates. Although most signori seized power, they sought titles, either a legitimizing from the communes that they ruled or, in the case of the Visconti, titles from the French kings and the imperial vicariate. Law devotes a separate section to the republics of Venice and Genoa, citing recent work on Venice showing that the serrata of 1297 was actually an effort to broaden the government and ensure flexibility, rather than rigidity. Louis Green, "Florence and the Republican Tradition," is cast in the light of such modern buzzwords as democracy and tyranny. Internal politics are considered under the aegis of almost constant warfare: except between 1317-20 and 1339-41, Florence was at war between 1312-42. Green regards Guelf ideology as a force in the city's external policy, and he appears to think that the Florentine regimes were opposed in principle to despots, despite the inconvenient episode of Walter of Brienne. He finds a double political and economic turning point in the 1340s with Walter's expulsion and the bank failures: Florence lost most of its dominions, albeit temporarily, and Florentine bankers never regained the degree of supremacy that they had had before 1343. The plagues had a major political impact, for the large numbers of prominent deaths, combined with the discrediting of old policies, led to the rise of numerous genti nuove. Green's discussion of the second half of the century is less detailed, but he enunciates a major transitional theme: while in the late thirteenth century many merchants had been willing to ally with artisans against the magnates, after 1382 they were more likely to ally with the nobles against the popolo minuto. David Abulafia, "The Italian South," deals mainly with the conflicts between the mainland and island kingdoms of Sicily. He starts with Robert of Anjou "the Wise" and emperor Henry VII, includes Angevin involvement at Genoa, and concludes the chapter with the disorders in southern Italy after King Robert's death, the reign of Joanna I, and Hungarian involvements and the intervention of Louis of Anjou of France after 1380 and the succession to Naples of Ladislas.

Alan Forey, "The Crown of Aragon," is balanced thematically, basically political and royal-institutional but with some delineation of broad lines of policy, such as the expansion of Aragonese military activity to the Muslim regions of north Africa. He also notes the intertwining of commercial interests with the territorial policies of the monarchy. He concludes that the Aragonese monarchy lacked the financial resources to promote commercial expansion aggressively, and Aragon was not immune to the general economic troubles of the time. Religious tensions among the three religious groups under the crown of Aragon conclude the chapter; the author notes that despite some "tightening of restrictions on non-Christians" (p. 616), in general non-Christian populations were treated relatively well here, and the letter of the law was not always enforced in practice. Peter Linehan, "Castile, Navarre and Portugal," takes a kingdom-by-kingdom approach, proceeding in the order of his title, concluding with the Castilian war of succession and the attendant involvement of Castile and Portugal with English invaders. This chapter is entirely political, with nothing about the Castilian cortes or bureaucratic evolution.

The third part of this book, "The Church and Politics," includes only two chapters, but both are excellent. The nicely nuanced contribution of P. N. R. Zutshi, "The Avignon Papacy," begins with a pontificate-by-pontificate summary. Although claiming to dodge the question of whether the Avignon popes were tools of the French crown, Zutshi admits that in their diplomacy "the kings of France were undoubtedly favoured the most" (p. 658), particularly by Clement VI. Yet there was little open criticism of papal legitimacy until the Schism. He devotes a long section to crusades and missions, while conceding the minimal results of these efforts. He provides a very strong discussion of the administrative and judicial apparatus of the papal court and the cardinals. He discusses the cultural patronage of the Avignon papacy, including the papal chapel and library, and the establishment of a university by Boniface VIII in 1303, which made Avignon a center of law and theology. He devotes considerable attention to the growing degree of control that the Avignon papacy was able to establish over the western Church and finds the vast increase in papal provisions largely responsible for it. In his conclusion Zutshi emphasizes the importance of John XXII both in regard to stabilizing the curial bureaucracy and in the definition of doctrine. His condemnation of the doctrine of apostolic poverty ended "the alliance between the popes and the Franciscans which had been one of the great strengths of the thirteenth-century papacy" (p. 673). He notes in anticipation that the Avignon period represented the zenith of papal power; its institutional strength did not survive the Great Schism. Howard Kaminsky, "The Great Schism," offers balanced interpretations, and his writing is the most vibrant in the volume, with quotations from original sources interlacing the diplomatic narrative. Beginning with contemporary reactions to the division, he argues that "the historical import of the Schism . . . lies in this movement of ideas and the experiences that were its matrix "(p. 680), rather than the insoluble question of who was right or wrong in 1378. The ideas centered on conciliar theory, the growth of the papal state and bureaucracy, and also the extent of royal control already over national churches, which in some senses made the papal bureaucracy seem superfluous. The revenue of the Avignon popes was considerably less than before 1378, but they made up for it by using French money; Clement VII's papacy was so fiscally burdensome to the French clergy that they began thinking of a withdrawal of obedience before the notion spread to the royal court. But the Roman papacy, however, had to build up a new institutional apparatus, since the bureaucracy and financial organs had remained in Avignon. The family preoccupations of Urban VI and Boniface IX in effect made the Roman papacy a Neapolitan noble institution. Kaminsky discusses the Councils of Pisa and Constance very briefly and only from the perspective of ending the Schism.

The fourth part of this volume contains seven chapters on northern and eastern Europe. S. C. Rowell, "Baltic Europe," begins by discussing long-term cultural and economic bonds between the west and the Baltic, notably Prussia, Poland, and Lithuania. The main themes of change are identified as "the expansion of mercantile contacts, migration of artisans and other specialists, the flourishing of mendicant orders, the (re)centralization of kingdoms, the rise of aristocratic power at the expense of kings and the propagation of the chivalric ethic (p. 701)." His organization is regional, beginning with Lithuania, culminating in its union with Poland, then discussing the Teutonic Ordensstaat in Prussia and Livonia, brief sections on Sweden, Denmark, and the Union of Kalmar of 1397. He also includes useful discussions of social structure, the northern economy (where he concentrates on the Hanse), religious life and the crusade, and Baltic culture. Claude Michaud, "The kingdoms of central Europe in the fourteenth century," discusses the political development and international relations of Hungary, Poland, and Bohemia. His theme is that powerful princes, often of foreign extraction, brought these kingdoms to greatness. Predictably, he concentrates on Charles-Robert of Anjou and Louis the Great in Hungary and on Casimir the Great in Poland. Social developments and royal promotion of the economy are given more prominence in this chapter than in most of the political sections. Michaud is quite enlightening on how John the Blind of Luxembourg, king of Bohemia, contrary to the policies of his peers in Poland and Hungary, basically reversed the centralizing policies of his predecessors and left the nobles a freer hand in order to free himself for imperial and western ambitions. His great strength was his control of the Kutna Hora silver mines, which gave him an income; except to get money, he rarely visited Bohemia.

Nancy Shields Kollmann, "The principalities of Rus' in the fourteenth century," includes all areas that were heirs to Kiev Rus': Galicia and Volhynia, Novgorod and Pskov, as well as Lithuania and Moscow, whose eventual victory in the power struggles is clearer in retrospect than it was to contemporaries. Angeliki E. Laiou, "The Byzantine Empire in the Fourteenth Century," begins with the incomplete restoration of the Paleologan state in 1261. Michael VIII enlarged and consolidated the empire, but he made enemies who would haunt his successors. Relations with the west were initially peaceful after 1282, but Asia Minor became a problem, and the ideology of an omnipotent emperor conflicted with the reality of growing weaknesses. Before the fourth crusade, all justice had been imperial in Byzantium, without the various exemptions from the central system that were found in the west. But this changed in practice, if not in theory, in the fourteenth century. Laiou discusses social and economic changes as well as political, but she disposes of the collapse of the state and the redistribution of authority after 1354 in five pages.

Michel Balard, "Latins in the Aegean and the Balkans in the fourteenth century," is more an economic than a political chapter, concentrating on Genoese, Venetian and Catalan expansion. His remarks on long-distance trade and its infrastructure could easily go with Spufford's chapter. I. Metin Kunt, "The rise of the Ottomans," is a largely political and military treatment of its topic, with a brief concluding section on statecraft and on household and military recruitment. Peter Edbury, "Christians and Muslims in the eastern Mediterranean," discusses the continued crusades in the light of Muslim domination of the land routes and Christian control of the sea. Venice tended to back the crusading leagues; Genoa, with less to lose from Turkish inroads in the east, was more inclined to deal with them. He deals with the impact of the conquest of Rhodes by the Hospitallers between 1306-10 and their strained relations with Venice, Genoa, and the popes; they preferred the more pragmatic approach of the Aragonese. International commerce helped preserve both Cyprus and Armenia. Westerners realized that both Cyprus and Rhodes were essential to the protection of the sea lanes and took pains to defend them.

By their very nature, jointly authored volumes are uneven, but these articles are at a generally if not a uniformly high level. This magnificent reference book is a worthy successor to the first edition.