What are some good reads on medieval Germany? Why are they so hard to find?

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Try Peter H Wilson’s “The Holy Roman Empire” (aka “The Heart of Europe” in some markets). It’s pretty readable and although it covers the whole history of the HRE it doesn’t yadda yadda the early bits.


I am reasonably confident that there probably is a bunch of scholarship, but it might be mostly written in German… I know of a few texts like Ottonian Queenship by Simon MacLean and Otto III by Gerd Althoff that are at least kind of in the ballpark area of the time period you’re interested in, though a little early. A few other possibly good titles: The High Middle Ages in Germany, Eleventh-Century Germany, Princes and Territories in Medieval Germany, Count and Bishop in Medieval Germany (this one actually nearly exactly fits your timeframe, 1100-1350) among others.


Did you execute a search using a search argument such as “Deutschland im Mittelalter”? Don’t expect all literature to be in English.


A lot of stuff is going to be in German, but the book I use for the “central Middle Ages” period is Alfred Haverkamp, *Medieval Germany 1056-1273 (*Oxford University Press, 1992). It’s a bit old now as far as these things go but 1992 is not so bad. Plus it’s in English!


A lot of it is likely in German and hasn’t been translated. As for why it hasnt been translated to English like the French or Italian history, I would offer the following possibilities. France was England’s primary rival and they engaged in war multiple times during the middle ages. Furthermore the French political system is the same as that of England’s post 1066. The history of England and France is so interlinked it makes lot of sense for the English to want to know more about the French side of things. Italy of course had the Pope (except when France did). Although Italian politics was often a fractured thing, the heavily religious nature of life in this time means that Italy gets more attention than Germany since papal politics is more relevant to an English audience. I think the fractured nature of german politics and lack of the Pope being in germany means that a) it has less interest to an English audience since the story isn’t an interconnected and b) is heavily decentralized and full of changes in ruling dynasties making the political history of Germany more complex than the french/English stories of monarchies slowly consolidating power over centuries. Which can be frustrating if you can’t read german.