This cross-cultural encyclopedia takes a comparative approach to medieval history and culture. Entries are arranged alphabetically by 71 cultural concepts, ranging from agriculture, alchemy and architecture to weaponry, weight and writing. An introductory essay explores the significance of each topic and is followed by separate signed articles on the subject in each of the following regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Islamic World. Thus the scope is global and for every topic, each region is treated consistently. The arts, music and literature of each region are explored. So too are defining cultural practices related to diet, death, education and religion. The arrangement of cities, traditional occupations and specialized technologies also are compared. More than 80 international scholars were involved as contributors, advisers and editors. Nearly 100 excerpts from primary sources give the reader a flavor of contemporary attitudes. Extensive suggestions for further reading, occasional sidebars, plus more than 250 maps and illustrations support the text. Other aids include a regionally divided chronology, a substantial glossary and a detailed index. The result is a guide to everyday medieval life that is suitable for school, public and undergraduate libraries.