A New History of the Middle Ages with Dan Jones

A New History of the Middle Ages

Lecture by Dan Jones

Given at the British Library on September 6, 2021

Abstract: The British Library collection contains some of the most celebrated and important documents to have survived from the Middle Ages. From the Beowulf manuscript and Magna Carta to Matthew Paris’s vividly illustrated History of England, the Library’s collection is a vital resource, which helps scholars and ordinary readers alike to understand this formative thousand years in western history.

In this lecture, internationally bestselling medieval historian Dan Jones puts all these treasures into context as he takes you on a vivid tour of the Middle Ages in the round, from the sack of Rome by barbarians in 410 to the age of the Renaissance and the New World voyages. Based on his new book, Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages, Dan will explore how the medieval world emerged from the ashes of the classical era, and how it left a commanding legacy to western politics, law, religion, art, architecture, music, language and identity.


Dan also argues that although many think of the Middle Ages as backward, brutish and ignorant – using ‘medieval’ as an insult – this was a time that was shaped by factors that are still of critical importance to us today. Climate change, mass migration, pandemic disease, technological change and global networks all shaped the medieval world. The better we understand these, the better we will be equip ourselves for the challenges of our own, rapidly changing world.

Dan Jones is a historian, broadcaster and award-winning journalist. His books, including The Templars, Crusaders and, with Marina Amaral, The Colour of Time and The World Aflame, have sold more than one million copies worldwide. He has written and hosted dozens of TV shows including the acclaimed Netflix/Channel 5 series, Secrets of Great British Castles. You can follow Dan on Instagram or on Twitter @dgjones


Top Image: Map of the world with continents depicted as different buildings, Jerusalem at the centre, divided by the seas. British Library MS Additional 8785 fol. 315r