Why did European civilisation develop as it did? Why was it so different from that of Russia, the Islamic world and elsewhere? In this new textbook Antony Black explores some of the reasons, looking at ideas of the state, law, rulership, representation of the community, and the right to self-administration, and how, during a crucial period these became embedded in people's self-awareness, and articulated and justified by theorists. This is the first concise overview of a period never previously treated satisfactorily as a whole: Dr Black uses the analytical tools of scholars such as Pocock and Skinner to set the work of political theorists in the context of both contemporary politics and the longer-term history of political ideas. The book provides students of both medieval history and political thought with an accessible and lucid introduction to the early development of certain ideas fundamental to the organisation of the modern world and contains a full bibliography to assist students wishing to pursue the subject in greater depth.