You are on page 1of 1

Abstract

Since his death in 1935 much has been written about the contributions of Henri Pirenne to
history, particularly on his explanation for the origin of the medieval town and on his thesis
on the
reasons for the end of the ancient world and the beginning of the medieval. Scarcely
anything,
however, has been written about his ideas on methodology. This article, much of it based
upon
Pirenne's R~flexions d'un solitaire, recently edited from a manuscript yet in the Pirenne
family
archives, examines Pirenne's methodology prior to 1914 and argues that his war
experiences,
especially as a prisoner in Germany (1916-1918), caused him to re-evaluate his ideas on
history
and to repudiate much of the German methodology which had guided his research prior to
1914.
1997 Elsevier Science Ltd