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The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, c. 500 to 1050

The Early Middle Ages

Florin Curta

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A completely new approach to the history of Greece during the early Middle Ages

Winner of the Nicolae Iorga prize of the Romanian Academy, 2013

This volume traces the social, economic and political history of the Greeks between 500 and 1050. The book adopts an interdisciplinary approach and uses archaeological evidence, as well as coins and seals, fiscal documents, medieval chronicles, and hagiographic literature to examine the development of Greek culture in the early medieval period. Several themes provide the foundation for this volume and run through the chapters; these include the Balkan context, the Social Role of the Army and the Onset of Economic Growth. Special attention is paid to the size of the economy in early medieval Greece. Both the social and the economic are privileged and analyzed together as integrally connected spheres of life, thus filling a major gap in existing literature on this period.


Series Editor's Preface
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1. The last century of Roman power (ca. 500 to ca. 620): army, Church, and countryside
2. Collapse or adaptation? The problem of the urban decline in late antique Greece
3. Invasion or inflation? Hoards and barbarians in sixth- and seventh-century Greece
4. Dark-Age Greece (ca. 620 to ca. 800)
5. Revival and expansion (ca. 800 to ca. 900)
6. The beginning of prosperity (ca. 900 to ca. 1050)
7. Early medieval Greece and the Middle Byzantine economy
8. Social structures and Byzantine administration in early medieval Greece
9. Christianity in early medieval Greece
10. Conclusion: the people of early medieval Greece

About the Author

Florin Curta is Waldo W. Neikirk Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at the University of Florida. He is the author of the Making of the Slavs. History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, c. 500-700 (Cambridge University Press, 2001), which won the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association in 2003. Curta also wrote Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, ca. 500-1250 (Cambridge University Press, 2006), and edited three collections of studies dedicated to such diverse themes as Eastern and East Central Europe in the early Middle Ages; barriers, borders, and ethnogenesis in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages; nomads in Eastern Europe between the sixth and the twelfth century. He is the editor-in-chief of the Brill series "Eastern and East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 450-1450" and member of Medieval Academy of America Publication Advisory Board and the Advisory Board of the Cursor Mundi series of the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.


Curta applies his considerable archaeological expertise and historical acumen to questions of ethnic identity, migrations and cultural and economic change in the earlier middle ages. While focusing on Greece, he sets developments within the broader Balkan context, challenging assumptions about Byzantium's 'Dark Age' and offering an important and original synthesis.
- Jonathan Shepard, retired Lecturer in History, University of Cambridge

This very learned and detailed investigation represents an advance in the field… While the paucity of written (literary and epigraphic) sources is one challenge, Curta introduces much valuable numismatic and sigillographic evidence … There is no comparable book.

- Walter E. Kaegi, University of Chicago, American Historical Review

A highly informative collection of both archaeological and literary data. Curta presents the reader with detailed descriptions of fortified sites, lavish grave burials and coin hoards together with literary evidence. All is framed in the wider contexts of Europe and the Mediterranean… Due to his striking knowledge of numismatic evidence, sigillography, funerary archaeology and Quellenkritik, Curta is very generous with his reader, but he also demands a lot… The significance of this book will be evident. To the attentive reader the work will be an invaluable tool for further researches.

- Francesco Borri, Sehepunkte

An excellent and useful work. Overall, this is a nuanced and useful discussion of the social and economic history of medieval Greece. The work should be praised especially for its nuanced approach to the numismatic evidence and for its incorporation of evidence from saints' lives.

- Jason Fossella, Saint Louis University , Bryn Mawr Classical Review
This is a valuable book, both as a work of reference and as a contribution to ongoing debates surrounding what remains one of the least understood areas of medieval Europe.
- Will Bowden, University of Nittingham, Medieval Archaeology

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