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The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity, 371-1386 AD [Paperback]

Richard Fletcher
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.99
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Book Description

21 Sep 1998

The story of how Europe was converted to Christianity from 300AD until the barbarian Lithuanians finally capitulated at the astonishingly late date of 1386. It is an epic tale from one of the most gifted historians of today.

This remarkable book examines the conversion of Europe to the Christian faith in the period following the collapse of the Roman Empire, to approximately 1300 when the hegemony of the Holy Roman Empire was firmly established.

Like Alan Bullock and Simon Schama, Fletcher is a historian with the true gift of a storyteller and a wide general readership ahead of him.

Fletcher’s previous book, The Quest for El Cid, won both the Wolfson History Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for History. This book is even better – the most impressive achievement so far of this strikingly gifted historian.


Frequently Bought Together

The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity, 371-1386 AD + The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000 + The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change 950 - 1350
Price For All Three: 30.69

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Product details

  • Paperback: 562 pages
  • Publisher: Fontana Press; New Ed edition (21 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006863027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006863021
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘An absorbing account of the most important event in the history of Europe: its conversion to Christianity… Richard Fletcher is a stylist of distinction, not merely in the sense that like Gibbon he is master of the memorable sentence, but in the historian’s task of weaving the particular instance into the web of a compelling narrative.’
Raymond Carr, Spectator

‘A vivid and thought-provoking book.’
Keith Thomas, The Times

‘Fletcher tells the story clearly and with enthusiasm… the book is very readable. It is an achievement to produce an intelligent and accurate survey of the expansion of Christianity within Europe over a period of a thousand years.’
Robert Bartlett, Literary Review

From the Back Cover

One of Christianity's first powerful converts, the Emperor Constantine, was baptised into the Christian church on his deathbed by Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, in 337 AD. But the religious character of his empire and the states which set themselves up as its successors was not thereby settled forever. It was not until 1386, over a millennium later, that the continent's last pagan ruler, Grand Duke Jogaila of the Lithuanians, was baptised and Europe became, at least nominally , a completely Christian continent. The epic story of the conversion of Europe over that millennium – the first, greatest and still most successful of all European integrations – is the subject of this book. Richard Fletcher's account of the growth of Christendom, its effect both on the character of European society and culture and on the civilisation of the world, is the most impressive achievement so far of this strikingly gifted historian.

"An absorbing account of the most important event in the history of Europe: its conversion to Christianity… Richard Fletcher is a stylist of distinction, not merely in the sense that like Gibbon his master of the memorable sentence, but in the historian's task of weaving the particular instance into the web of a compelling narrative."
RAYMOND CARR, 'Spectator'

"From Richard Fletcher's massive story, we learn about the otherness of the past: how different Christianity was then and now… It is the genius of this enthralling book that epic moments and tiny vignettes mingle to convey the flavour of Christian life as the people of Europe were experiencing conversion. The scale is ambitious, and the style lucid, but you never feel that you are adrift from the detailed reconstruction of modern scholarship."
ROBERT RUNCIE, 'Sunday Times'

"Fletcher tells the story clearly and with enthusiasm… the book is very readable. It is an achievement to produce an intelligent and accurate survey of the expansion of Christianity within Europe over a period of a thousand years."
ROBERT BARTLETT, 'Literary Review'

"A vivid and thought-provoking book."
KEITH THOMAS, 'The Times'


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic work 14 July 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Richard Fletcher, who sadly passed away earlier this year, has crafted one of the classic studies of Medieval Conversion. While vast and scholarly, it also manages to be highly readable - lively, light in tone, even humourous in places - which, believe me, makes a welcome change for those of us engaged in lengthy research!
The work takes a whistle-stop tour of Europe, north to south and east to west, focusing as any decent study should on the primary literature and archaeology. This signifies an almost impossible amount of research, but therein lies my one little niggle - such a broad study can never really get beneath the skin of the subject under discussion, in my opinion at least. Saying that, Fletcher raises many important and stimulating issues, and is one scholar of the past 10-15 years who does not try to foist modern values upon his Medieval subjects by saying that the only reason they converted to Christianity was the political advantages it afforded them. Instead, Fletcher attempts to understand them in the context of their own world, infinitely more pious than our own.
Thus, one of those rare things - an enjoyable, if sprawling, academic tome, and surely the starting point or benchmark for any student or enthusiast of conversion, religion or Medieval history in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice companion 24 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A nice companion to Bartlett: The making of Europe, I mean. When your interest is christianization of Europe, this is for you.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent history of early Christain Europe 14 Nov 2000
Format:Paperback
This book is superbly written and impeccably researched. Fletcher gives a gripping account of the passage of Christianity through Europe over the course of several hundred years. It is scholarly and accessible and patiently teases out many intriguing arguments.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely good. 24 July 2014
By Dommy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent book from Fletcher which I could not find a lot wrong with.

Firstly, it is eloquently written, maintaining a great standard while remaining accessible to historians or general readers. Secondly, it looks at the development of Christianity by considering key individuals, or events, not necessarily chronological. The author looks at various such instances and provides top analysis.

Overall, a great publication. Thoroughly recommended for students, or the general reader interested in Christianity. This book suits both.
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