Inventing the Middle Ages

by Norman F. Cantor
Harper Collins Book Web Sampler: click on the link to read a sample from the book

This page has links to his other books, which also have web samples.
Cantor's obituary from the Telegraph has interesting quotes from his books:

Review of Medieval Sources Online

Class guide for Problems in History: Violence and Memory

Interesting links and ideas

The Cairo Geniza

Jessica Goldberg, "Mining Medieval Sources: Documents as Texts, Documents as Objects in the Cairo Geniza" from Bard Graduate Center on Vimeo.

Jessica Goldberg’s talk analyzes the structure and geography of the medieval Islamic commercial economy by looking at the ways in which the circle of Jewish merchants who left their papers in the Cairo Geniza engaged with local and long-distance infrastructures and institutions of trade. She also examines how notions of identity—religious, political, and geographic—govern non-literary medieval writing. Part of the Seminar in Cultural History Semiar Series at the Bard Graduate Center. For more information, visit

Background from Wikipedia
The Cairo Geniza is a collection of some 300,000[1] Jewish manuscript fragments that were found in the geniza or storeroom of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat orOld Cairo, Egypt. These manuscripts outline a 1,000-year continuum (870 CE to 19th century) of Jewish Middle-Eastern and North African history and comprise the largest and most diverse collection of medieval manuscripts in the world. The Genizah texts are written in various languages, especially Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic, mainly on vellum and paper, but also on papyrus and cloth. In addition to containing Jewish religious texts such as Biblical, Talmudic and later Rabbinic works (some in the original hands of the authors), the Genizah gives a detailed picture of the economic and cultural life of the North African and Eastern Mediterranean regions, especially during the 10th to 13th centuries. It is now dispersed among a number of libraries, including the libraries of Cambridge University and the University of Manchester. Some additional fragments were found in the Basatin cemetery east of Old Cairo, and the collection includes a number of old documents bought in Cairo in the latter nineteenth century

From the University of Missouri

Medieval Optics

A visit with MARK SMITH Curators' Professor, Department of History

Dr. Smith explains what medieval optics is really about. From physical sight to the pictures in our imagination, the issue of how we perceive the world and how that perception has changed over the years is a key part of Dr. Smith’s project. Click on the links below to watch the short segments of the interview.

The Eyes Have It

Looking Closer

Teaching in More Ways Than One

Into the Thick of It

Keeping it in The (Manuscript) Family

It’s All in the Details

More Than Words

The Medieval Publication Industry

Breaking Things Down

From the University of Edinburgh

Nicholas Evans: Constructing the Past

In this video Nick explains his research on depictions of the past in medieval Celtic chronicles, king-lists and origin legends, as a source for the nature of societies.

People in medieval times, as in contemporary societies, were fascinated by the past and were heavily affected by their perceptions of the history of their ancestors, countries and religions. How history is presented provides important evidence for the worldviews and concerns of the authors of these accounts, while the different genres of text used to do this can also be significant, reflecting how societies wanted to structure and present the past.
My research focusses on the historical texts of medieval Celtic-speaking countries, particularly of the Gaels, Picts and Britons of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and northern England. Many sources dealt with the past, but I currently focus on chronicles, king-lists and accounts of ethnic origins, reconstructing how they developed over time from surviving late medieval and early modern manuscripts.

Challenges and New Frontiers of Writing History: Liberal Arts Panel

The panelists further explore and debate the issues of writing history today and discuss some of the themes from their individual presentations. Part 8 of 8.

Donald Ostrowski, research advisor in the social sciences for the Master of Liberal Arts Program at Harvard Extension School
John R. McNeill, environmental and world historian, author, and University Professor at Georgetown
Megan Marshall, award-winning American biographer and author
John Stilgoe, the Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape, Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University
Nancy Kollman, William H. Bonsall Professor of History at Stanford University and Guggenheim Fellow
David Hackett Fischer, the Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis

Harvard Extension School Centennial
Liberal Arts panel: Writing History Now
February 19, 2010

Why Study Historiography with Alan Ford

"Professor Alan Ford introduces the notion of historiography: the history of history.
By studying how historians have constructed the past one can better understand the role of history in forming identities."

The Historical Association,6189_145.html
Click on this link to watch the video

Using Medieval Sources

In this short video Professor Mark Ormrod, Dr Jessica Lutkin and Dr Jonathan Mackman discuss their work on the England's Immigrants 1330-1550 project and give an idea of how they use primary medieval sources in their historical research.

Crash Course in History

The Crusades - Pilgrimage or Holy War?: Crash Course World History #15

"In which John Green teaches you about the Crusades embarked upon by European Christians in the 12th and 13th centuries. Our traditional perception of the Crusades as European Colonization thinly veiled in religion isn't quite right. John covers the First through the Fourth Crusades, telling you which were successful, which were well-intentioned yet ultimately destructive, and which were just plain crazy. Before you ask, no, he doesn't cover the Children's Crusade, in which children were provoked to gather for a Crusade, and then promptly sold into slavery by the organizers of said Crusade. While this story is charming, it turns out to be complete and utter hooey."

The Dark Ages...How Dark Were They, Really?: Crash Course World History #14

"John Green teaches you about the so-called Dark Ages, which it turns out weren't as uniformly dark as you may have been led to believe. While Europe was indeed having some issues, many other parts of the world were thriving and relatively enlightened. John covers European Feudalism, the cultural blossoming of the Islamic world, and the scientific and artistic advances in China, all during these "Dark Ages." Along the way, John will raise questions about the validity of Europe's status as a continent, reveal the best and worst years of his life, and frankly state that science and religion were once able to coexist."

Movie stars and their versions of history

Published on Dec 27, 2012

"Jim Cullen, author of Sensing the Past: Hollywood Stars and Historical Visions, on movie stars and their visions of history. Stars such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington, and Meryl Streep, choose roles that reflect their historical and world view.
Jim Cullen teaches history at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City. He is the author of Sensing the Past: Hollywood Stars and Historical Visions, The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation, Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition, and other books. Cullen is also a book review editor at the History News Network."

The Middle Ages in 3 1/2 minutes

Historian Andrew Roberts - History, Writing & Research

Published on Aug 11, 2010
Historian Andrew Roberts discusses his writing and research process, his historical works, and his future project - a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The interview is conducted by entrepreneur and author Sir David Tang in June 2010, prior to the Hong Kong Book Fair (21-27 July HKTDC)