The Middle Ages, 800-1400 were a rich and vibrant period in the history of European culture, society, and intellectual thought. Emerging state powers, economic expansion and contraction, the growing influence of the Christian Church, and demographic change all influenced the ideals and realities of childhood and family life. Movements for Church reform brought the spiritual and moral concerns of the laity into sharper focus, profoundly shaping attitudes towards gender and sexuality and how these might be applied to family roles. At the same time, the growth of trade, the spread of literacy and learning, shifting patterns of settlement, and the process of urbanization transformed childhood. This volume explores the ideas and practices which underpinned contemporary perceptions of childhood in the medieval West, and illuminates the enduring importance of the family as a dynamic economic, political, and social unit.
As with all the volumes in the illustrated Cultural History of Childhood and Family set, this volume presents essays on family relationships, community, economy, geography and the environment, education, life cycle, the state, faith and religion, health and science, and world contexts.