Senate House Library has a combination of print and electronic resources that will be useful for your dissertation. The information below is simply to get you started…
Your research will involve you using many different areas of the history collection, both general and country specific. A good place to start is with books on the Roman empire, these can be found in the classmark range starting LV. You will find Gibbon’s Decline and fall of the Roman Empire in LVM, whilst books within the range LVR-LVW deal specifically with the Roman Empire from Constantine until the fall of Rome in 476. You may also some useful material in LW – the Eastern empire.
Another very useful place for you is the general medieval European section at MB. Along with general histories of the period you will also find books on specific themes in European history such as Feudalism and medieval culture and civilization. It is also where you will find much of our material on the barbarian invasions. MBB is the classmark for barbarian invasions in general, and books within the range MBG-MBJL are on specific tribes and leaders, e.g. MBH Ostrogoths, MBHG Theodoric.
Histories of specific European countries can be found in the range MF-MY. Generally speaking each national sequence will start with treatment of particular topics such as social and economic history and then progress to chronological political history and then local history. In most national histories there is a specific place designated for the medieval period, e.g. MSC is Merovingian France.
You will find the history of the church in the gallery at 63 P. However there may be some books relating to the church in a particular country in the history of that country. A good example is A sacred kingdom: Bishops and the rise of Frankish kingship in French religious history at MRKB Moo. The History of the papacy can also be found in general European history at the classmark ME.
There may be other areas of the library of use to you as well. You may find books on early medieval culture and documents in the Palaeography collection. In the Politics collection at R you will find books on medieval political philosophy (R8C) and also on kingship (RGB)
Senate House Library has English translations of several significant chronicles and histories of the period such as Gregory of Tours’ History of the Franks, Paul the Deacon’s History of the Langobards and Jordanes’ History of the Goths. These are integrated into the main classification sequence. Ecclesiastical histories are also an important source of information for this period. Even those histories and chronicles written within the Eastern empire such as Sozomen and Socrates Scholasticus contain useful information about the Western empire.
Not all the primary sources will be in the history collection however. You will find some in the classical literature section such as Ammianus Marcellinus (XIP A515) and Procopius (XFN P94).
Journals and e-resources.
Senate House Library has a large collection of history journals. Bound volumes are held in the stack and need to be requested but many are also available online such as Early medieval Europe. E-journals will be listed on the catalogue with the print copies. You have access to most of the library’s electronic resources from home and all of the resources while here in the library. All you need to do is enter your name and library identification barcode when prompted.
You can access our online databases the same way, either by searching the catalogue or accessing the list of history related databases on the history page of the website. One you may find useful is the International medieval bibliography.
When you are searching databases and library catalogues, it might be useful to know the most frequently used controlled vocabulary, or search terms. Several Library of Congress Subject Authorities for your topic are: Rome history Germanic invasions 3rd 6th centuries, Goths history, Europe history 392-814
If you have any questions about the above information, please email me and just identify which King’s course you are taking. Best of luck with your dissertation.