An introduction to the sources, methods, and theories most often used by historians of the western middle ages, this book explores the origins of the idea of the 'middle ages' and its development in Renaissance and modern European historical discourse, the problem of periodisation and the principal themes of modern historiography. The soures of medieval history are described in detail, with chapters on history-writing in the middle ages, administrative and legal documents, coinage and the evidence of archaeology. Professor Delogu examines the materials of medieval history and the historical circumstances of their production and use, with accounts of the methods of analysis and interpretation employed by medievalists. Throughout, the reader is provided with extensive and up-to-date bibliographies for the key areas of medieval studies. The aim of the book is to enable students of medieval history to approach the written and material cultures of the period directly.