This collection of essays examines different, but linked, aspects of the social organization of Europe from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. The essays broach two fundamental questions: how were social distinctions and divisions perceived and portrayed by the politically active, the writers, and the image-makers; and, bound up with the first question, according to what principles and methods should the modern enquirer perceive and portray the ordering of society during Western Europe's formative years? The contributors bring perspectives from a range of disciplines, from historical, sociological, and literary, to the art-historical and theoretical. Similarly, the contents are not limited to Northwestern Europe, but also address the Muslim Middle East, Dante's Italy, Renaissance Venice, and Adriatic Ragusa (Dubrovnik). An important contribution to the areas of late-medieval and early-modern European social history.