Medieval History Bibliography:
Book Recommendations for each chapter or unit.
NOTE: Following are "suggested" living books and non-fiction sources to accompany your study. Working through a Portfolio will require that you access stories of the people and events indicated in the Portfolio's Table of Contents and the Teacher's Guide. But, exactly which books you find, or choose to use, is up to you. No one single book is indispensable. If a book recommended here becomes out of print and outrageously costly, just pick something else.
Having either the Kingfisher or Usborne World History Encyclopedia will be a convenience factor for you. Many times, when researching topics indicated in the Portfolio, your students will only need a short text entry with an image to glean the bit of information required. These books are as the title states, history encyclopedias. I highly recommend having one on your home library shelf.
Access lots of stories within a single volume! The History Portfolios cover history topically, so all people and events closely associated with an era, or movement are covered in a single chapter. The Story of the World series takes a chronological approach. The two approaches are perfectly compatible. I recommend using SOTW just as you would every other book listed below. When you need to read about a certain person or event, refer to the book's index or table of contents, and locate the necessary stories.
Access tons of stories, and read about history from a Christian world view. There are so many stories in each volume of Mystery of History! Volume II, for example, has stories about 84 distinct topics. Of the 84, 55 stories cover topics specifically indicated in the Medieval Portfolio! If you want to cover history from a Christian world view, and access a narrative history told in a conversational style, this book will be well worth your money and a great convenience.
The History Portfolios always incorporate the study of artists, musicians, architects, and engineers in addition to the obvious topics of people, events, geography etc. History of Art for Young People, by Janson and Janson, is the young people's version of the classic college art history text. It's a very useful book to include on your home library shelf. Be aware that this book will contain images of classical nudity. I use paper clips to clip pages of books together that I don't want to be accidentally viewed by my young historians.
The Christians – Pentecost to 1054 A.D:
The chapter or unit on The Christians, from Pentecost thru 1054 focuses on the foundations established during the first 1000 years of Christianity. The chapter therefore covers a broad range of topics including, a study of the compilation of the books of the New Testament; New Testament events and people; the disciples of the Apostles and Early Church Fathers; Christian art, symbols of the faith, and architectural forms; the trials of the years of persecution; the challenges and triumphs in the era of heresies; and the development of a written clarification of the Nature of Jesus Christ.
The West Roman Empire:
The Western Roman Empire chapter or unit covers the period from the late 2nd Century A.D. through 476 A.D. The focus within the unit is to explore the administrative challenges faced by Roman Emperors; Pax Romana or "Roman Peace"; Emperors; the Empire as it related to Christians and Germanic Tribes; comparing the Romans with the Germanic Tribes; and the internal and external causes for the decline of the Western Roman Empire.
The Celtic Tribes:
The chapter or unit on the Celts covers Celtic culture, such as dwellings and tools, as well as their unique forms of arts and crafts; legendary kings; Celtic contributions to the canon of Western Literature; contact with Christian missionaries and the resulting impact on Celtic society; and important saints, the Irish monastic tradition, and the Book of Kells.
The Germanic Tribes:
The chapter or unit on the Germanic Tribes covers the time period from 400 through 900 A.D. This unit or chapter focuses on the various tribes migrating, raiding, and trading throughout Western Europe. Highlights include patterns of migrations; noteworthy tribal or military leaders; the aesthetic traditions of northern Europe; technology during the Roman and Early Medieval periods; Viking explorations; Norse mythology; and the Anglo-Saxon contribution to the canon of Old English literature.
The Building of Kingdoms:
The chapter or unit titled The Building of Kingdoms covers the time period from 800 through 1453, and focuses primarily on France and England. Topics of this chapter or unit include the Carolingian (French Medieval) Renaissance; decisive battles; the Norman invasion in 1066 and the resulting political, cultural and linguistic effects; the full spectrum of life in Medieval England including art, castles, churches and cathedrals, feudalism, the Crusades, the plague, etc; a turning point in the history of constitutional rights; military technology and the Hundred Years' War; and the break down of the English feudal system in the 15th C.
The East Roman Empire / Byzantium:
The chapter or unit titled The Eastern Roman Empire / Byzantium covers the time period from 325 A.D. through 1453. Topics of this chapter or unit include the relocation of the seat of the Roman Empire to Constantinople; the Justinian Dynasty and the growth of the empire; the city of Constantinople, its landmarks, strategic location, and defensive strategies; Byzantine art and architecture and its influence within the empire; the spread of Christianity north from Constantinople into Eastern Europe; contacts with Vikings, sackings by Crusaders, and invasions by Ottoman Turks.
The chapter or unit titled The World widens the lens and expands coverage of Medieval History to Japan, China, and Mongolia and continues beyond Medieval History to set the stage for a study of the Renaissance and of the Age of Exploration. Topics include Japan and the Feudal Age; the Mongol Empire from 1206 thru 1294; Muslim advances into Western Europe; Spain, the Moors, and Ferdinand and Isabella’s Reconquest of Spain; Blocked trade routes from the west after the Fall of Constantinople and the necessity to locate new routes; and analyzing events during the Middle Ages to discover roots of the Italian Renaissance.