- The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern European History, 1350–1750
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Maps
- List of Illustrations
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: ‘Early Modern’ Europe and the Idea of Early Modernity
- The Cartographic Emergence of Europe?
- Weather, Climate, and the Environment
- Disease and Medicine
- Historical Demography
- Travel and Communications
- Languages and Literacy
- Printing and Printedness
- A Revolution in Information?
- Economic and Social Trends
- The Social Order
- Households and Family Systems
- Social Roles and Individual Identities
- Consumption and Material Life
- The Agrarian West
- The Agrarian East
- Country and Town in Mediterranean Europe
- Towns and Urbanization
- The Christian Church, 1370<i>–</i>1550
- Protestantism and its Adherents
- Early Modern Catholicism
- The World of Eastern Orthodoxy
- The Transformations of Judaism
- Islam and Muslims in Europe
- Cultures of Peoples
- Belief and its Limits
- Index of Names and Places
- Index of Subjects
Abstract and Keywords
Fernand Braudel likened the towns and cities of early modern Europe to ‘so many electrical transformers’. They exerted a disproportionate influence: functioning as centres of production, transportation, and exchange; providing legal, financial, and educational services; housing secular and ecclesiastical bureaucracies; acting as communications nodes, marketing verbal, written, and printed information; offering increasingly varied and sophisticated leisure facilities. This chapter explores the reasons behind changing patterns of European urbanization, the character and role of its towns, and their place in key economic, social, political, religious, and cultural changes. It charts: the revival of towns during the Middle Ages and their subsequent growth, location, and population; specialized economic functions; distinctive social structures and social relationships; governance and political life; the existence of a distinctive urban mentalité and culture; material environment and spatial characteristics. It concludes with an overview of the development of historical writing on European urbanization over the last century.
R. A. Houston, School of History, University of St. Andrews.
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