The Middle Ages has often been portrayed as a time of crisis, famine, war and ignorance. However, it was also a time of developments in exploration, invention, culture, art and literature. Divided chronologically and by themed chapters, The Middle Ages is a fascinating, yet concise history of this extraordinary time of human endeavour, covering subjects such as religion, the Crusades, employment and technology. It also looks at the impact that the Middle Ages had outside Europe, in countries such as Japan, China, and India. Beautifully illustrated, this book also tells the stories of individuals who lived through this period, from serfs to royalty and includes key figures like Joan of Arc, Marco Polo, Geoffrey Chaucer, El Cid and Saladin. The book is enriched by the inclusion of some 15 facsimile documents that offer a unique insight into this era in history.