© 2012

Studies in the Medieval Atlantic

  • Editors
  • Benjamin Hudson

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

About this book


This collection of essays offers fresh analysis of topics in the exciting area of Atlantic World studies. Challenging standard assumptions, the essays advance the argument that the Atlantic Ocean was a region that encompassed ethnic and political boundaries, in which a sub-community shaped by culture and commerce arose.


colonialism essay Europe

About the authors

Benjamin Hudson is a professor of History and Medieval Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

Bibliographic information


"This remarkable collection of essays offers unusual and thought-provoking vistas onto medieval Europe's history. It recasts familiar narratives of medieval conversion, colonization, and conquest by situating them in the Atlantic Ocean's special connectivity. Its welcome expansions of medieval maritime history range from discussions of Irish monks' 'liquid desert' to precocious Norse 'save the whales' tendencies, passing through Manx sea kings' sustained predation and more fleeting Atlantic hegemonies, like those of late medieval Iberian rulers. It nicely outlines a medieval Atlantic made of inter-related environmental, cultural, and political currents." - Paolo Squatriti, author of Water and Society in Early Medieval Italy

'Hudson's finely crafted opening essay effectively frames the six essays that, together, from different angles and using varied sources, illustrate how the environmental fact of the Atlantic was a force in shaping aspects of the thinking and practices of medieval Europeans.' - Richard W. Unger, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Study and Department of History, University of British Columbia

'Hudson's Studies in the Medieval Atlantic breathes a gale of life into an unknown chapter of humanity's last great global expansion. Threads of history, archaeology, and Norse sagas reveal the explorations of monks, Norse farmers, whalers, Irish sea-kings, and others who led the way. Taming the unruly North Atlantic bridged the barrier that separated western and eastern streams of humanity. It also extracted the largest toll in human lives and resources of any other human geographic endeavor. Centuries of advances in ship technology and accumulation of nautical skills, coupled with amazing human ingenuity and courage were required as demonstrated here in topics ranging from driftwood and whales to commerce, law, and national honor.' - William Fitzhugh, curator, North American Archaeology and Director, Arctic Studies Center