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The University of Iowa Libraries

The University of Iowa Libraries


Medieval History: Home

"Medieval" or "Middle Ages" generally refers to the history of Europe from roughly the mid-fifth century to the end of the fifteenth century (450-1500).

Handbooks and Encyclopedias

The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages covers key aspects of the medieval world, 500-1500, including the Byzantine Empire, Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples of the period.

Oxford Bibliographies Online Medieval Studies combines an annotated bibliography with detailed encyclopedic entries on people, events, and cultural aspects in medieval studies. New entries are added on an ongoing basis. To see a complete list of articles, click on "About This Subject" in the lefthand column and scroll down the page. The Advanced Search screen allows searches in other subscribed bibliography modules such as Art History, Islamic Studies, and Philosophy as well as Medieval Studies.

Additional reference works are housed in Alcove 3 of the Main Reference Collection. These include Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, edited by Andre Vauchez , 2 volumes, D114 .E53 2000; Key figures in medieval Europe: an encyclopedia, edited by Richard Emmerson, D115 .K49 2006; and The medieval world, edited by Peter Linehan and Janet Nelson, D117 .M43 2001. The Dictionary of the Middle Ages, edited by Joseph Strayer, D114 .D5 1982, 13 volumes is older, but still useful. There is one supplement volume.

Also in Alcove 3 are some encyclopedias of the medieval period in specific countries: Medieval England, DA129 .M43 1998; Medieval France, DC33.2 .M44 1995; Medieval Germany, DD157 .M43 2001; Medieval Italy, DG443 .M43 2004; Medieval Scandinavia [Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland],, DL30 .M43 1993; Medieval Iberia [Spain and Portugal], DP99 .M335 2003; Medieval Islamic Civilization, DS36.85 .M434 2006; Medieval Jewish Civilization, DS124 .M386 2003.



Finding Articles

The International Medieval Bibliography (IMB) is the primary index of articles in academic journals and collections of essays in medieval studies. Searches can be restricted to the IMB or run in both the IMF and the Bibliographie de civilisation medievale, which will retrieve entries for books. Both the IMB and the BCM are multilingual, but the Advanced search screen allows limitation by language.

Academic Search Elite does not index as much scholarship in medieval studies as IMB, but it is updated more frequently.

As the title indicates, Feminae Medieval Women and Gender Index specializes in indexing articles, book reviews, and essays on women, gender, and sexuality in the Middle Ages.

Iter Bibliography indexes journals and essay collections covering the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, 400-1700.

Historical Abstracts indexes articles mainly covering 1450 onward so there is some overlap with the late medieval period.

Brepols Miscellanea Online contains full text scholarly essays on the history, literature, cultures, and societies of medieval Europe.

JSTOR (Journal Storage) is a massive multidisciplinary archive of academic journals in the humanities, sciences,  and social sciences. Searches can be made across multiple titles or limited to a single journal or selected journals. Note that this is primarily an archival database; it holds journals from their first issue up to the most recent 3 to 5 years, though in some cases, more recent issues are included.  


Subject Guide

Chris Africa
(319) 335-5017