Norman Frank Cantor (19 November 1929 – 18 September 2004) was a historian who specialized in the medieval period. Known for his accessible writing and engaging narrative style, Cantor's books were among the most widely read treatments of medieval history in English. His textbook The Civilization of the Middle Ages, first published in 1963, remains an all-time bestseller in the field.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Cantor received a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Manitoba in 1951. He moved to the United States to obtain an M.A. degree (1953) from Princeton University, then spent a year as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. He returned to Princeton and received his Ph.D. in 1957 under the direction of eminent medievalist Joseph R. Strayer. He also began his teaching career at Princeton.
After teaching at Princeton, Cantor became a professor at Columbia University from 1960 to 1966. He was a Leff professor at Brandeis University until 1970 and then was at SUNY Binghamton until 1976, when he took a position at University of Illinois at Chicago for two years. He then went on to New York University, where he served as Dean of NYU's College of Arts & Sciences, as well as a professor of history, sociology and comparative literature. After a brief stint as Fulbright Professor at the Tel Aviv University History Department (1987–88), he returned to NYU where he taught as a professor emeritus until his retirement in 1999, at which time he devoted himself to working as a full-time writer.