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: From the Preface: This book is intended as an investigation of the civilization of western Europe from the third to the fifteenth centuries. It presents not only the results, but some of the important problems, of contemporary scholarship in medieval history. It follows a topical treatment of economic, social, political, and cultural history within a chronological framework. Rather than trying to achieve consistently detailed coverage of every aspect of medieval civilization, I have concentrated upon individual or collective examples of important ideas, attitudes, institutions, or events. Discussions of the sources appear in each chapter, and the sources are quoted frequently in the body of the text in order to permit the reader to feel, as well as intellectually to grasp, the nature of medieval life. Pictures and maps are integrated with the text as illustrations of the topics discussed.