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Suggested Reading

Introductory Histories

The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320, by Malcolm Barber, pub. Routledge, 1992. ISBN 0-415-09682-0
This book covers most of Europe for a period neatly straddling the official Ars Magica date. It handles political, social, intellectual, and artistic history, and is a good introductory survey. (David Chart)

Regional Histories


Dumbarton Oaks Online Publications
Numerous great electronic articles about Byzantium, which are written for academic purposes by professional researchers. (Emre Arin)


Anglo-Saxon England, by Sir Frank Stenton, pub. Oxford University Press 1971, ISBN 0-19-282237-3
The standard history of England from the 550-1087, including the Norman Conquest. Vast amounts of information. (David Chart)
Domesday Book to Magna Carta, by A. L. Poole, pub. Oxford University Press 1951, ISBN 0-19-285287-6
Dating a bit, but a good source of information on England 1087-1216, covering social and economic factors, as well as political history. (David Chart)
England in the Thirteenth Century, by Alan Harding, pub. Cambridge University Press 1993, ISBN 0-521-31612-X
A good counterpart to the Powicke, dealing more with the social history of the century. (David Chart)
The Fourteenth Century, by May McKisack, pub. Oxford University Press 1959, ISBN 0-19-285250-7
Primarily a political history, but a lot of useful background for Sagas running somewhat after the official date. (David Chart)
The Thirteenth Century, by Sir Maurice Powicke, pub. Oxford University Press 1962, ISBN 0-19-285249-3
Almost exclusively a political history, but gives an excellent account of the political events in the background of Sagas starting at the offical date. (David Chart)


Montaillou, by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie
Late fourteenth century Inquisitor's reports from a village in southern France. Lots of social detail. (Kevin Hardwick)

Intellectual Histories

The Book of Memory, by Mary Carruthers, pub. Cambridge University Press 1990, ISBN 0-521-42973-0
A fascinating study of the interplay of memorial and literary culture in the Middle Ages, which goes a long way towards making many academic works more comprehensible. (David Chart)
Early Medieval Philosophy, by John Marenbon, pub. Routledge 1988, ISBN 0-415-00070-X
A good account of the development of philosophy from 480-1150. This is the heritage within which most magi will be working. (David Chart)
Later Medieval Philosophy, by John Marenbon, pub. Routledge 1987, ISBN 0-415-06807-X
Philosophy from 1150-1350: this is the culture within which most magi will be working. (David Chart)

Social and Economic Histories

Captialism and Material Life, by Fernand Braudel. Harper & Row 1973 (English Translation by Miriam Kochan.)
An Economic History of Medieval Europe, by N. J. G. Pounds, pub. Longman 1994, ISBN 0-582-21599-4
An excellent survey of economic change in Europe, although it doesn't have much to say about Britain. (David Chart)
Medieval England: Rural Society and Economic Change 1086-1348, by Edward Miller and John Hatcher, pub. Longman 1978, ISBN 0-582-48547-9
Filled with information and analysis on rural life in Medieval England. Excellent as a source if you want to pay attention to details of farming, or have a realistic village. (David Chart)
Medieval England: Towns, Commerce and Crafts 1086-1348, by Edward Miller and John Hatcher, pub. Longman 1995, ISBN 0-582-48549-5
The companion volume to the above, and also very useful. Note the two books' publication dates: you thought RPG companies were bad! (David Chart)
The Medieval Underworld, by Andrew McCall, paperback edition pub. Sutton Publishing 2004, ISBN 0-750-93727-0
Discusses law, outlawry and all manner of unseemly and unusual behavior which clearly suggests many potential stories for an Ars Magica saga.
Standards of Living in the later Middle Ages, by Christopher Dyer, pub. Cambridge University Press 1989, ISBN 0-521-27215-7
The best single source I have found for hard numbers on how much various things cost (and the main source for the numbers in the Covenants chapter of ArM4). Also has lots of sensible discussion on what the numbers show. (David Chart)

History of Magic

Magic in the Middle Ages, by Richard Kieckhefer, pub. Cambridge University Press 1989, ISBN 0-521-31202-7
The best single-volume introduction to Medieval Magic I know of. Read this and find out how little Hermetic Magic has to do with the "genuine article". (David Chart)

Military History

The Atlas of the Crusades, by Jonathan Riley-Smith, pub. Swanston Publishing Ltd. 1990, ISBN 0-8160-2186-4
An overview of the Crusades with lots of maps. (Ian Klinck)
The First Crusade, by Steven Runciman, pub. Cambridge University Press 1980, ISBN 0-521-42705-3
A good history of the first crusade, giving some background to the movement and then tracing the crusade from Urban II's sermon to the fall of Jerusalem. (David Chart)
The New Knighthood, by Malcolm Barber, pub. Cambridge University Press 1994, ISBN 0-521-55872-7
A serious and scholarly history of the Templars, but with a final chapter on some of the myths that grew up around them. (David Chart)

Medieval Literature

Boccaccio: The Decameron, c. 1350, pub. Penguin 1972, ISBN 0-14-044269-5
100 stories, ranging from the profound to the obscene. Loads of story ideas. Send your players on an adventure to put the devil back in hell... (David Chart)
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales, c. 1390, pub. Penguin 1977, ISBN 0-14-044022-4
One of the great medieval classics. You ought to have read it. (David Chart)
Dante: The Divine Comedy, c. 1300, pub. Penguin 1984 in three volumes, Inferno (ISBN 0-14-044441-6), Purgatory (ISBN 0-14-044442-4), Paradise (ISBN 0-14-044443-2)
Medieval cosmology, theology, and morality in one superb package, with late thirteenth century Italian history thrown in for good measure. Absolutely brilliant, and don't just read the Inferno. (David Chart)
Jacobus de Voragine: The Golden Legend, c. 1250, pub. Princeton University Press 1993, ISBN 0-691-00162-6
A medieval collection of medieval legends of saints, and a wonderful source of genuinely medieval story ideas. Worth it for the names of some of the Saints: Saint James the Dismembered, for example. (David Chart)
Marie de France: Lais, c. 1180, pub. Penguin 1986, ISBN 0-14-044476-9
More legends and stories, and ones which characters could actually know at the official date. Short, and well worth reading. (David Chart)


The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
Not quite period, but such an influence on modern interest in the time that it should not be missed, just to see where people are coming from. It doesn't do it justice to say that it's a medieval murder mystery. (Erik Dahl)
Baudolino, Umberto Eco
A wonderful exploration of major events in the time period (~1150-1204) that touches on concepts Ars Magica has been playing with for years. Excellent material on Northern Italy and Constantinople. (Erik Dahl)

Other RPGs

Pendragon, Chaosium, Inc.
Arthurian Legend, but the supplements contain a lot of useful information on the middle ages in myth and legend. Some of the myth is post-medieval, but that doesn't matter a great deal. (David Chart)
Lionheart, Columbia Games
The British Isles in 1190. A well-researched and thorough gazeteer with a superb map, but the cultural information is unhelpfully scattered under alphabetical headings. (David Chart)

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