In this book, Hein Pirenne, the great Belgian economic historian, traces the character and general movement of the economic and social evolution of Western Europe from the end of the Roman Empire to the middle of the fifteenth century. From the breakup of the economic equilibrium of the ancient world to the revival of commerce, the redevelopment of credit, the trade of commodities, the origins of urban industry, and the rebirth of new forms of protectionism, mercantilism, and capitalism, Pirenne presents as complete a picture of the Medieval world as is possible in one volume. “I have tried,” says the author in his preface, “to envisage this great area as a single whole, of which the parts were in constant communication with each other; in other words I have adopted an international standpoint… I have been careful not to resort to theories lest I shoeld do violence to the facts… Finally, I have throughout tried to give s clear an account as possible, even of the most controversial problems.
Henri Pirenne born in Verviers, Belgium, was professor of medieval history at the University of Ghent. The author of many distinguished volumes on European history, he was also the recipient of various academic honors from universities in Brussels, Oxford, Paris, Leipzig, Strasbourg, and Bordeaux, among others. Pirenne died in 1935