Medieval Horizons

Medieval Horizons

Why the Middle Ages Matter


Brought to you by Penguin.

We tend to think about the Middle Ages as a dark and backward time, characterised by violence, ignorance and superstition. We believe that life was unchanging over the period, so if a peasant fell asleep in in the year 1000 and woke up six hundred years later, he would return to a world that was instantly recognisable. We hold that change is facilitated by science and technological innovation, and that it was the inventions of recent centuries, from the steam engine to the Internet, that created the modern world.

We couldn't be more wrong. As Ian Mortimer shows in this fascinating introduction to the Middle Ages, people's horizons - their knowledge, experience and understanding of the world -- expanded dramatically. All aspects of life - politics and economics, religion and the arts - were utterly transformed between 1000 and 1600, in the process laying the foundations on which our modern lives rest.

If Ian Mortimer's bestselling Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England revealed what it was like to live in the fourteenth century, Medieval Horizons provides the perfect primer to the period as a whole. It looks at the Middle Ages through the prism of a small range of topics - ranging from warfare to religion, travel to architecture, inequality to a new sense of self - thereby correcting misconceptions and presenting the period as one of the most important eras in our past, about which any reader with an interest in history should care.

© Ian Mortimer 2023 (P) Penguin Audio 2023


  • A sparkling re-evalutation of the Middle Ages ... An eye-opening book that challenges our preconceptions and prejudices about the past
    Mail on Sunday

About the author

Ian Mortimer

Dr Ian Mortimer is the Sunday Times-bestselling author of the Time Traveller's Guides to Medieval England, Elizabethan England, Restoration Britain and Regency Britain, as well as four critically acclaimed medieval biographies. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1998. His work on the social history of medicine won the Alexander Prize in 2004 and was published by the Royal Historical Society in 2009. He lives with his wife and three children in Moretonhampstead, on the edge of Dartmoor.
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