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Book Reviews

The following list links to books selected by Dr. Maille for book reviews.

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Eleanor of Aquitaine - Desmond Seward
ISBN: 9781605986357
Publication Date: 2014-10-15
"A monstrous injurer of heaven and earth," as Shakespeare referred to this powerful medieval matriarch, Eleanor of Aquitaine's reign as England's stormiest and most ambitious queen has never been matched.As the greatest heiress in Europe, she was in turn Queen of France and Queen of England; among her sons were Richard the Lionheart and King John. A magnificent independent ruler in her own right, she lost her power when she married Louis VII of France. She received neither influence nor fame by her second marriage to King Henry II, who jailed her for fifteen years for conspiring and supporting their son's claim to the throne. Her husband was succeeded by their son, King Richard the Lionheart, who immediately released his mother from prison. Eleanor then acted as Regent while Richard launched the Third Crusade.Her loveliness and glamour, her throwing-off of the constraints that shackled women of the twelve century, and her very real gifts as a politician and ruler make Eleanor's story one of the most colorful of the High Middle Ages.

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Medieval World Complete - Robert Bartlett (Editor)
ISBN: 9780500283332
Publication Date: 2014-12-09
The Medieval World Complete re-creates one of the great ages of European civilization through a sequence of spectacular images accompanied by a lively, informed commentary. Organized by topic and thoroughly cross-referenced, this comprehensive volume enables the reader to explore and understand every facet of the Middle Ages, an era of breathtaking artistic achievement and religious faith in a world where life was often coarse and cruel, cut short by war, famine, and disease. Framed by chapters that bracket the beginning and the end of this misunderstood period, The Medieval World Complete covers religion and the Church, nations and laws, daily life, art and architecture, scholarship and philosophy, and the world beyond Christendom. The book is completed by biographies of key personalities, from Charlemagne to Wycliffe, as well as timelines, maps, a glossary, a gazetteer, and a bibliography.

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Pagans - James J. O'Donnell
ISBN: 9780061845352
Publication Date: 2015-03-17
A provocative and contrarian religious history that charts the rise of Christianity from the point of view of traditional" religion from the religious scholar and critically acclaimed author of Augustine. Pagans explores the rise of Christianity from a surprising and unique viewpoint: that of the people who witnessed their ways of life destroyed by what seemed then a powerful religious cult. These "pagans" were actually pious Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and Gauls who observed the traditions of their ancestors. To these devout polytheists, Christians who worshipped only one deity were immoral atheists who believed that a splash of water on the deathbed could erase a lifetime of sin. Religious scholar James J. O'Donnell takes us on a lively tour of the Ancient Roman world through the fourth century CE, when Romans of every nationality, social class, and religious preference found their world suddenly constrained by rulers who preferred a strange new god. Some joined this new cult, while others denied its power, erroneously believing it was little more than a passing fad. In Pagans, O'Donnell brings to life various pagan rites and essential features of Roman religion and life, offers fresh portraits of iconic historical figures, including Constantine, Julian, and Augustine, and explores important themes--Rome versus the east, civilization versus barbarism, plurality versus unity, rich versus poor, and tradition versus innovation--in this startling account.

 

Additional Available Reading

These books are also possibilities for book reviews.

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Atlas of Medieval Europe - Donald Matthew
ISBN: 9780871961334
Publication Date: 1983-08-01
The Cultural Atlas series combines intellectual depth and visual richness as it distills and synthesizes an enormous amount of information. Weaving together geography, history, archaeology, anthropology, architecture, the arts, and more, these handsomely designed, interdisciplinary volumes encompass the entire physical and cultural world of each civilization, evoking its unique spirit and vitality. Delight the Eye, Inform the Mind Designed to appeal to both the serious student and the more casual reader, the Cultural Atlas series is written with authority and clarity. Panoramic in scope, these volumes provide an overview of places and peoples through the centuries and are illustrated throughout with hundreds of striking and informative photographs and drawings. Each volume is divided into three key sections: -- Geographical/ethnographic background -- Cultural history -- A tour of present-day regions. Covering a vast and diverse period, this volume provides a fully developed portrait of the Middle Ages -- from the end of the Roman Empire to the discovery of the New World.

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Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance - Richard W. Unger
ISBN: 0812219996
Publication Date: 2007-03-30
Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Richard W. Unger "This is an important book on the history of beer and brewing and is a valuable resource."--"Choice" "An important book, going beyond what is usually found in a synthesis. Unger's] analysis has important implications for the nature and comparative development of technology diffusion and social and industrial organization, as well as more obviously local and interregional trade."--"The Medieval Review" "Entertainingly written and amply illustrated and referenced, Unger's book on the beginnings of commercial brewing will be of interest to beer lovers; experts in economic, social, cultural, legal, medical, and food history; anthropologists; philologists; and feminists."--"Journal of Interdisciplinary History" The beer of today--brewed from malted grain and hops, manufactured by large and often multinational corporations, frequently associated with young adults, sports, and drunkenness--is largely the result of scientific and industrial developments of the nineteenth century. Modern beer, however, has little in common with the drink that carried that name through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Looking at a time when beer was often a nutritional necessity, was sometimes used as medicine, could be flavored with everything from the bark of fir trees to thyme and fresh eggs, and was consumed by men, women, and children alike, "Beer in the Middle Ages" and the Renaissance presents an extraordinarily detailed history of the business, art, and governance of brewing. During the medieval and early modern periods beer was as much a daily necessity as a source of inebriation and amusement. It was the beverage of choice of urban populations that lacked access to secure sources of potable water; a commodity of economic as well as social importance; a safe drink for daily consumption that was less expensive than wine; and a major source of tax revenue for the state. In "Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance," Richard W. Unger has written an encompassing study of beer as both a product and an economic force in Europe. Drawing from archives in the Low Countries and England to assemble an impressively complete history, Unger describes the transformation of the industry from small-scale production that was a basic part of housewifery to a highly regulated commercial enterprise dominated by the wealthy and overseen by government authorities. Looking at the intersecting technological, economic, cultural, and political changes that influenced the transformation of brewing over centuries, he traces how improvements in technology and in the distribution of information combined to standardize quality, showing how the process of urbanization created the concentrated markets essential for commercial production. Weaving together the stories of prosperous businessmen, skilled brewmasters, and small producers, this impressively researched overview of the social and cultural practices that surrounded the beer industry is rich in implication for the history of the period as a whole. Richard W. Unger is Professor of History at the University of British Columbia. He is also author of "A History of Brewing in Holland, 900-1900: Economy, Technology, and the State," The Art of Medieval Technology: Images of Noah the Shipbuilder," and "The Ship in the Medieval Economy, 600-1600." 2004 - 344 pages - 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 - 23 illus. ISBN 978-0-8122-1999-9 - Paper - $24.95s - 16.50 ISBN 978-0-8122-0374-5 - Ebook - $24.95s - 16.50 World Rights - History, Business, Economics"

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Before Galileo - John Freely
ISBN: 159020607X
Publication Date: 2012-08-30
Histories of modern science often begin with the heroic battle between Galileo and the Catholic Church, which ignited the Scientific Revolution and led to the world-changing discoveries of Isaac Newton. Virtually nothing is said about the European scholars who came before. In reality, more than a millennium before the Renaissance, a succession of scholars paved the way for the discoveries for which Galileo, Newton, and others are often credited. In Before Galileo, John Freely examines the pioneering research of the first European scientists, many of them monks whose influence ranged far beyond the walls of the monasteries where they studied and wrote. One of the earliest of them, Saint Bede, writing a thousand years before Galileo, was so renowned that two centuries after his death a Swiss monk wrote that "in the sixth day of the world [God] has made Bede rise from the West as a new Sun to illuminate the whole Earth." Before Galileo trenchently fills a notable gap in the history of science, and places the great discoveries of the age in their rightful context.

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Binding Words - Don C. Skemer
ISBN: 0271027231
Publication Date: 2006-02-01
In the Middle Ages, textual amulets&—short texts written on parchment or paper and worn on the body&—were thought to protect the bearer against enemies, to heal afflictions caused by demonic invasions, and to bring the wearer good fortune. In Binding Words, Don C. Skemer provides the first book-length study of this once-common means of harnessing the magical power of words. Textual amulets were a unique source of empowerment, promising the believer safe passage through a precarious world by means of an ever-changing mix of scriptural quotations, divine names, common prayers, and liturgical formulas. Although theologians and canon lawyers frequently derided textual amulets as ignorant superstition, many literate clergy played a central role in producing and disseminating them. The texts were, in turn, embraced by a broad cross-section of Western Europe. Saints and parish priests, physicians and village healers, landowners and peasants alike believed in their efficacy. Skemer offers careful analysis of several dozen surviving textual amulets along with other contemporary medieval source materials. In the process, Binding Words enriches our understanding of popular religion and magic in everyday medieval life.

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Black Death - Philip Ziegler
ISBN: 0061315508
Publication Date: 1971-04-28
A series of natural disasters in the Orient during the fourteenth century brought about the most devastating period of death and destruction in European history. The epidemic killed one-third of Europe's people over a period of three years, and the resulting social and economic upheaval was on a scale unparalleled in all of recorded history. Synthesizing the records of contemporary chroniclers and the work of later historians, Philip Ziegler offers a critically acclaimed overview of this crucial epoch in a single masterly volume. The Black Death vividly and comprehensively brings to light the full horror of this uniquely catastrophic event that hastened the disintegration of an age.

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Byzantium and the Crusades - Jonathan Harris
ISBN: 1852852984
Publication Date: 2003-08-01
The first great city the crusaders came to in 1089 was not Jerusalem but Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire. Almost as much as Jerusalem itself, Constantinople was the key to the foundation, survival and ulti-mate eclipse of the crusading kingdom. The Byzantines had developed an ideology over seven hundred years which placed Constantinople rather than Rome or Jerusalem at the centre of the world. The attitudes of its rulers reflected this priority, and led to tensions with the cru-saders over military and diplomatic strat-egy At the same time, the riches and sophistication of the great city made a lasting impression on the crusaders, even though they found Byzantine society alien and remote. Tn the end, the lure of the city's wealth was irresistibly fatal to the claims of Christian unity In 1204 the Fourth Crusade, under the Venetian doge Enrico Dandolo, captured and sacked Constantinople, signalling the effective end of almost a thousand years of Byzantine dominance in the east.


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Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality - John Boswell
ISBN: 0226067106
Publication Date: 1980-06-01

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Crusades - Thomas Asbridge
ISBN: 9780060787288
Publication Date: 2010-03-09
From a renowned historian who writes with "maximum vividness" (The New Yorker) comes the most authoritative, readable single-volume history of the brutal struggle for the Holy Land. Nine hundred years ago, a vast Christian army, summoned to holy war by the Pope, rampaged through the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean, seizing possession of Jerusalem, a city revered by both faiths. Over the two hundred years that followed, Islam and Christianity-both firm in the belief that they were at God's work-fought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars: the Crusades. For the first time, this book tells the story of that epic struggle from the perspective of both Christians and Muslims. A vivid and fast-paced narrative history, it exposes the full horror, passion, and barbaric grandeur of the Crusading era, leading us into a world of legendary champions-such as Richard the Lionheart and Saladin-shadowy Assassins, poet-warriors, and pious visionaries; across the desert sands of Egypt to the verdant forests of Lebanon; and through the ancient cities of Constantinople, Cairo, and Damascus. Drawing on painstaking original research and an intimate knowledge of the Near East, Thomas Asbridge uncovers what drove Muslims and Christians alike to embrace the ideals of jihad and crusade, revealing how these holy wars reshaped the medieval world and why they continue to influence events today.

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Discerning Spirits - Nancy Caciola
ISBN: 0801473349
Publication Date: 2006-07-13
Trance states, prophesying, convulsions, fasting, and other physical manifestations were often regarded as signs that a person was seized by spirits. In a book that sets out the prehistory of the early modern European witch craze, Nancy Caciola shows how medieval people decided whom to venerate as a saint infused with the spirit of God and whom to avoid as a demoniac possessed of an unclean spirit. This process of discrimination, known as the discernment of spirits, was central to the religious culture of Western Europe between 1200 and 1500. Since the outward manifestations of benign and malign possession were indistinguishable, a highly ambiguous set of bodily features and behaviors were carefully scrutinized by observers. Attempts to make decisions about individuals who exhibited supernatural powers were complicated by the fact that the most intense exemplars of lay spirituality were women, and the "fragile sex" was deemed especially vulnerable to the snares of the devil. Assessments of women's spirit possessions often oscillated between divine and demonic interpretations. Ultimately, although a few late medieval women visionaries achieved the prestige of canonization, many more were accused of possession by demons. Caciola analyzes a broad array of sources from saints' lives to medical treatises, exorcists' manuals to miracle accounts, to find that observers came to rely on the discernment of bodies rather than seeking to distinguish between divine and demonic possession in purely spiritual terms.

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Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings - Amy Kelly
ISBN: 0674242548
Publication Date: 1991-01-01
The story of that amazingly influential and still somewhat mysterious woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has the dramatic interest of a novel. She was at the very center of the rich culture and clashing politics of the twelfth century. Richest marriage prize of the Middle Ages, she was Queen of France as the wife of Louis VII, and went with him on the exciting and disastrous Second Crusade. Inspiration of troubadours and trouvères, she played a large part in rendering fashionable the Courts of Love and in establishing the whole courtly tradition of medieval times. Divorced from Louis, she married Henry Plantagenet, who became Henry II of England. Her resources and resourcefulness helped Henry win his throne, she was involved in the conflict over Thomas Becket, and, after Henryâe(tm)s death, she handled the affairs of the Angevin empire with a sagacity that brought her the trust and confidence of popes and kings and emperors.Having been first a Capet and then a Plantagenet, Queen Eleanor was the central figure in the bitter rivalry between those houses for the control of their continental domainsâe"a rivalry that excited the whole period: after Henryâe(tm)s death, her sons, Richard Coeur-de-Lion and John âeoeLacklandâe#157; (of Magna Carta fame), fiercely pursued the feud up to and even beyond the end of the century. But the dynastic struggle of the period was accompanied by other stirrings: the intellectual revolt, the struggle between church and state, the secularization of literature and other arts, the rise of the distinctive urban culture of the great cities. Eleanor was concerned with all the movements, closely connected with all the personages; and she knew every city from London and Paris to Byzantium, Jerusalem, and Rome. Amy Kellyâe(tm)s story of the queenâe(tm)s long lifeâe"the first modern biographyâe"brings together more authentic information about her than has ever been assembled before and reveals in Eleanor a greatness of vision, an intelligence, and a political sagacity that have been missed by those who have dwelt on her caprice and frivolity. It also brings to life the whole period in whose every aspect Eleanor and her four kings were so intimately and influentially involved. Miss Kelly tells Eleanorâe(tm)s absorbing story as it has long waited to be toldâe"with verve and style and a sense of the quality of life in those times, and yet with a scrupulous care for the historic facts.

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Elves in Anglo-Saxon England - Alaric Hall
ISBN: 1843832941
Publication Date: 2007-03-15
Anglo-Saxon elves (Old English ælfe) are one of the best attested non-Christian beliefs in early medieval Europe, but current interpretations of the evidence derive directly from outdated nineteenth- and early twentieth-century scholarship. Integrating linguistic and textual approaches into an anthropologically-inspired framework, this book reassesses the full range of evidence. It traces continuities and changes in medieval non-Christian beliefs with a new degree of reliability, from pre-conversion times to the eleventh century and beyond, and uses comparative material from medieval Ireland and Scandinavia to argue for a dynamic relationship between beliefs and society. In particular, it interprets the cultural significance of elves as a cause of illness in medical texts, and provides new insights into the much-discussed Scandinavian magic of seidr. Elf-beliefs, moreover, were connected with Anglo-Saxon constructions of sex and gender; their changing nature provides a rare insight into a fascinating area of early medieval European culture. Shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2007 ALARIC HALL is a fellow of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

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Encyclopedia of the Medieval World - Edward D. English
ISBN: 0816046905
Publication Date: 2005-01-01
The Complete History of This Exciting Period—in One Comprehensive Reference The Middle Ages fascinates scholars and laypeople alike. The period has been romanticized, misrepresented, and misunderstood perhaps more than any other in history. Behind the imaginative stories of knights, castles, and epic quests there lies a medieval world that is every bit as incredible and intriguing as the fictional one—only its people really lived, its events actually happened, and its achievements helped create the world of today. The two-volume Encyclopedia of the Medieval World provides a detailed look at this significant thousand-year period. Broad Cultural and Geographic Coverage Based on reliable and accurate scholarship, this comprehensive yet accessible encyclopedia covers the medieval world from Scandinavia to the Maghreb and Iceland to Moscow, including Byzantium, Seljuk and early Ottoman Anatolia, Armenia, the Kurds, the Levant, Syria, and Palestine. Approximately 2,000 entries offer exhaustive coverage on everything from significant personalities, archaeology, arts and architecture, institutions, literature, philosophy, and religion to economy, law, science, technology, politics, and warfare. Reflecting the changes in scholarly interest that have occurred over the last two decades, this encyclopedia is interdisciplinary and comparative with attentive detail to cultural and geographic subject matter. Topics that have been treated only marginally in previous publications on the Middle Ages—such as women, ecology, ethnicity, nationalism, and labor—are treated more thoroughly here, making this an authoritative resource that readers with an interest in the Middle Ages will want to consult. Highly Accessible Historical Information Further readings listed at the end of all articles and a comprehensive bibliography in the second volume direct readers to the latest and most accessible scholarship. More than 120 black-and-white photographs and illustrations depict battles, significant individuals, artifacts, and more, and 52 stunning maps and charts make this period come to life. A detailed index, bibliography, cross-references, and chronology complete this magnificent encyclopedia. In a reference perfect for high school and college students, academic scholars, and general readers interested in the Middle Ages, Encyclopedia of the Medieval World covers more information than any single reference book of its kind. Coverage includes: Significant individuals (Charlemagne, Gregory VII, Saladin) Archaeological artifacts of particular importance (Sutton Hoo) Economic and agricultural practices, ideas, and commodities (plough, gold, banking, usury) Institutions of church and state (papacy, parliament, commune) Scientific and technological knowledge and inventions (Roger Bacon, the compass) Items and practices from daily life (games, food, cooking) Landmark documents (Magna Carta) Artistic production, styles, techniques, themes, producers, and patrons for painting, sculpture, architecture, and the minor arts (Romanesque, Gothic, manuscript illumination) Social ideas and practice (marriage, death and burial, childhood) from all levels of society Warfare (technology, battles, and wars) Kingship (dynasties and practices) National literary and cultural authors (Dante), monuments (Decameron), subjects (Gawain), and styles Religious ideas and practices (simony, reform movements, heresies, saints) Cultural interchange among peoples (peaceful and violent) Theological and philosophical ideas, individuals, and movements (scholasticism, Thomas Aquinas) Travel and expansion (Eastern Europe, the Levant, geographical knowledge, ships).

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End of Empire - Christopher Kelly
ISBN: 9780393061963
Publication Date: 2009-06-01
Conjuring up images of savagery and ferocity, Attila the Hun has become a byword for barbarianism. But, as the Romans of the fifth century knew, Attila did more than just terrorize villages on the edge of an empire. Drawing on original texts, this riveting narrative follows Attila and the Huns from the steppes of Kazakhstan to the opulent city of Constantinople and the Great Hungarian Plain, uncovering an unlikely marriage proposal, a long-standing relationship with a treacherously ambitious Roman general, and a thwarted Roman assassination plot. Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome reframes the warrior king as a political strategist, capturing the story of how a small, but dedicated, opponent dealt a seemingly invincible empire defeats from which it would never recover.


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Fall of Constantinople 1453 - Steven Runciman
ISBN: 0521398320
Publication Date: 1965
This classic account shows how the fall of Constantinople in May 1453, after a siege of several weeks, came as a bitter shock to Western Christendom. The city's plight had been neglected, and negligible help was sent in this crisis. To the Turks, victory not only brought a new imperial capital, but guaranteed that their empire would last. To the Greeks, the conquest meant the end of the civilisation of Byzantium, and led to the exodus of scholars stimulating the tremendous expansion of Greek studies in the European Renaissance.

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God's Crucible - David Levering Lewis
ISBN: 9780393064728
Publication Date: 2008-01-17
In this panoramic history of Islamic culture in early Europe, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian reexamines what we once thought we knew. At the beginning of the eighth century, the Arabs brought a momentous revolution in power, religion, and culture to Dark Ages Europe. David Levering Lewis's masterful history begins with the fall of the Persian and Roman empires, followed by the rise of the prophet Muhammad and the creation of Muslim Spain. Five centuries of engagement between the Muslim imperium and an emerging Europe followed, from the Muslim conquest of Visigoth Hispania in 711 to Latin Christendom's declaration of unconditional warfare on the Caliphate in 1215. Lewis's narrative, filled with accounts of some of the greatest battles in world history, reveals how cosmopolitan, Muslim al-Andalus flourished -- a beacon of cooperation and tolerance between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity -- while proto-Europe, defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of hereditary aristocracy, religious intolerance, perpetual war, and slavery. A cautionary tale, God's Crucible provides a new interpretation of world-altering events whose influence remains as current as today's headlines.

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Great and Glorious Adventure - Gordon Corrigan
ISBN: 1605985791
Publication Date: 2014-07-15
In this captivating new history of a conflict that raged for over a century, Gordon Corrigan reveals the horrors of battle and the machinations of power that have shaped a millennium of Anglo-French relations. Military historian Gordon Corrigan's gripping narrative of these epochal events is combative and refreshingly alive, and the great battles and personalities of the period - Edward III, The Black Prince, Henry V, and Joan of Arc among them - receive the full attention and reassessment they deserve.

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Great Mortality - John Kelly
ISBN: 0060006935
Publication Date: 2006-01-31
La moria grandissima began its terrible journey across the European and Asian continents in 1347, leaving unimaginable devastation in its wake. Five years later, twenty-five million people were dead, felled by the scourge that would come to be called the Black Death. The Great Mortality is the extraordinary epic account of the worst natural disaster in European history -- a drama of courage, cowardice, misery, madness, and sacrifice that brilliantly illuminates humankind's darkest days when an old world ended and a new world was born.

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History of the Crusades - Harry W. Hazard (Editor); Kenneth M. Setton (Editor)
ISBN: 9780299066703
Publication Date: 1975-07-15
The six volumes of A History of the Crusades will stand as the definitive history of the Crusades, spanning five centuries, encompassing Jewish, Moslem, and Christian perspectives, and containing a wealth of information and analysis of the history, politics, economics, and culture of the medieval world.

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Holy Warriors - Jonathan Phillips
ISBN: 9781400065806
Publication Date: 2010-03-09
From an internationally renowned expert, here is an accessible and utterly fascinating one-volume history of the Crusades, thrillingly told through the experiences of its many players-knights and sultans, kings and poets, Christians and Muslims. Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoes-from the mysteries of the Templars to the grim reality of al-Qaeda. Holy Warriors puts the past in a new perspective and brilliantly sheds light on the origins of today’s wars. Starting with Pope Urban II’s emotive, groundbreaking speech in November 1095, in which he called for the recovery of Jerusalem from Islam by the First Crusade, Phillips traces the centuries-long conflict between two of the world’s great faiths. Using songs, sermons, narratives, and letters of the period, he reveals how the success of the First Crusade inspired generations of kings to campaign for their own vainglory and set down a marker for the knights of Europe, men who increasingly blurred the boundaries between chivalry and crusading. In the Muslim world, early attempts to call a jihad fell upon deaf ears until the charisma of the Sultan Saladin brought the struggle to a climax. Yet the story that emerges has other dimensions-as never before, Phillips incorporates the holy wars within the story of medieval Christendom and Islam and shines new light on many truces, alliances, and diplomatic efforts that have been forgotten over the centuries. Holy Warriors also discusses how the term “crusade” survived into the modern era and how its redefinition through romantic literature and the drive for colonial empires during the nineteenth century gave it an energy and a resonance that persisted down to the alliance between Franco and the Church during the Spanish Civil War and right up to George W. Bush’s pious “war on terror.” Elegantly written, compulsively readable, and full of stunning new portraits of unforgettable real-life figures-from Richard the Lionhearted to Melisende, the formidable crusader queen of Jerusalem-Holy Warriors is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval Europe, as well as for those seeking to understand the history of religious conflict. From the Hardcover edition.


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In the Wake of the Plague - Norman Cantor; Norman F. Cantor
ISBN: 0060014342
Publication Date: 2002-04-16
The Black Death was the fourteenth century's equivalent of a nuclear war. It wiped out one-third of Europe's population, takingmillion lives. And yet, most of what we know about it is wrong. The details of the Plague etched in the minds of terrified schoolchildren -- the hideous black welts, the high fever, and the awful end by respiratory failure -- are more or less accurate. But what the Plague really was and how it made history remain shrouded in a haze of myths. Now, Norman Cantor, the premier historian of the Middle Ages, draws together the most recent scientific discoveries and groundbreaking historical research to pierce the mist and tell the story of the Black Death as a gripping, intimate narrative.

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Invasion 1066 - Rupert Furneaux
Publication Date: 1966

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King Arthur's Enchantresses - Carolyne Larrington
ISBN: 1845111133
Publication Date: 2006-10-17
King Arthur: the very name summons visions of courtly chivalry and towering castles, of windswept battlefields and heroic quests, and above all of the monarch who dies but who one day shall return again. The Arthurian legend lives on as powerfully and enduringly as ever. Yet there is an aspect to this myth which has been neglected, but which is perhaps its most potent part of all. For central to the Arthurian stories are the mysterious, sexually alluring enchantresses, those spellcasters and mistresses of magic who wield extraordinary influence over Arthur's life and destiny, bestriding the Camelot mythology with a dark, brooding presence. Echoing the search for the Grail, Carolyne Larrington takes her readers on a quest of her own - to discover why these dangerous women continue to bewitch us. Her journey takes in the enchantresses as they appear in poetry and painting, on the Internet and TV, in high culture and popular culture. She shows that whether they be chaste or depraved, necrophiliacs or virgins, the Arthurian enchantresses are manifestations of the feared, uncontainable Other, frightening and fascinating in equal measure.

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Maid of Orleans - Sven Stolpe; Eric Lewenhaupt (Translator)
ISBN: 1586171526
Publication Date: 1956
This acclaimed work on the life and legacy of Joan of Arc is considered by many historians as one of the most well researched, convincing and best written accounts of the maid of Orleans. Stolpe vividly creates the contemporary situation in France, evaluates the latest research in her life, and arrives at a highly original and yet completely believable portrait which is also a work of literature. Stolpe sees Joan of Arc as primarily a mystic, and her supreme achievement and lasting significance not in a mission to deliver France, though important, but in her share in the passion of Christ. By shifting the emphasis from the national to the universal, he brings the saint closer to the modern reader. His scholarship is informed by a profound understanding and sympathy for the Maid that gives this essentially sober work the absorbing interest of a novel. As one critic stated, Stolpe succeeds in producing a very tense interest, so that it is impossible to lay it aside until the last word is reached. It should do much to present a new evaluation of the life and significance of St. Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans."

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Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages - Frances Gies; Joseph Gies
ISBN: 0060157917
Publication Date: 1987-12-01
Historians have only recently awakened to the importance of the family, the basic social unit throughout human history. This book traces the development of marriage and the family from the Middle Ages to the early modern era. It describes how the Roman and barbarian cultural streams merged under the influence of the Christian church to forge new concepts, customs, laws, and practices. Century by century it follows the development -- sometimes gradual, at other times revolutionary -- of significant elements in the history of the family Book jacket.

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Medieval Dress and Fashion - Margaret Scott
ISBN: 0712306757
Publication Date: 2007-06-01
From Renaissance fairs to countless retellings of the legend of Robin Hood to the popular restaurant Medieval Times, people remain fascinated by the medieval era and in particular the clothing of the time. The richly varied dress of medieval days meant more than just fashion and style, and Margaret Scott offers here an insightful chronicle of the layered meanings of the garb worn by queens, kings, courtiers, and peasants. Scott draws upon the vibrant illuminated manuscripts of the era to analyze the beautiful design and functionality of medieval clothing. Fascinating changes mark the development of medieval fashion, such as the transition in men s grooming from wearing beards and long hair to being clean-shaven with short hair; the rise in women s fashion in the fourteenth century as a method of securing a husband; and the various types of jewelry, fabric, and subtle garment fittings that managed to convey the important distinctions between the upper class and the peasantry. Such distinctions, Scott reveals, were enforced by intricate and strict laws passed in countries throughout Europe that governed the color, styles, and number of a citizen s garments according to their career, social class, and even the times of year. Political and religious history were also critical factors, "Medieval Dress and Fashion" shows, as the book draws from first-hand accounts to analyze how pivotal historical moments such as the Crusades and the fall of the Roman Empire resulted in an unexpected blending of cultures and clothing styles. Whether their interest lies in class or corsets, readers curious about the costumes of the past will be charmed by Margaret Scott s lively and engaging book."



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Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages - Robert E. Bjork (Editor)
ISBN: 9780198662624
Publication Date: 2010-07-29
The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages is a major new reference resource for all key aspects of European history, society, religion, and culture from 500 to 1500. Since neighbouring areas of Asia and North Africa impinged on and helped shape the civilization of the West, relevant aspects of the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples such as the Avars and the Mongols are included. It is designed both for medievalists, who need a detailed and reliable reference toolfor their own research and teaching, and for non-specialists, who need an accessible guide to the study of the Middle Ages. All entries are written with both audiences in mind. Over 800 scholars, guided by an international advisory board of five and an international editorial board of 26, have written the over 5,000 entries, and these entries have been lavishly supplemented by more than 500 illustrations and 50 maps. Each entry contains a brief bibliography. Distinguishing this research resource are its balanced coverage of both the whole geographical extent of the European Middle Ages and sixteen major topics centrally important to the study of the period. Ten members of the editorial board have ensured ample coverage of geographical regions: France, Germany and Austria, Spain and Portugal, Italy, Sicily, and Latin Greece, the Low Countries, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, Scandinavia and Iceland, and Central and Eastern Europe. In addition sixteen members of the boardhave ensured similar coverage of major international topics: art and architecture, archaeology, science, medicine, technology, law, ecclesiastical history, intellectual history, philosophy, social and economic history, Romance, Germanic, and Slavic languages and literatures, Islam, Judaica, medieval Latin, and music and liturgy. There are also separate and substantial entries on women and children in each of the geographical areas represented and in Jewish and Islamic society.

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Race for Paradise - Paul M. Cobb
ISBN: 9780199358113
Publication Date: 2014-07-03
In 1099, when the first Frankish invaders arrived before the walls of Jerusalem, they had carved out a Christian European presence in the Islamic world that endured for centuries, bolstered by subsequent waves of new crusaders and pilgrims. The story of how this group of warriors, driven byfaith, greed, and wanderlust, created new Christian-ruled states in parts of the Middle East is one of the best-known in history. Yet it offers not even half of the story, for it is based almost exclusively on Western sources and overlooks entirely the perspective of the crusaded. How did medievalMuslims perceive what happened?In The Race for Paradise, Paul M. Cobb offers a new history of the confrontations between Muslims and Franks we now call the "Crusades," one that emphasizes the diversity of Muslim experiences of the European holy war. There is more to the story than Jerusalem, the Templars, Saladin, and theAssassins. Cobb considers the Arab perspective on all shores of the Muslim Mediterranean, from Spain to Syria. In the process, he shows that this is not a straightforward story of warriors and kings clashing in the Holy Land, but a more complicated tale of border-crossers and turncoats; of embassiesand merchants; of scholars and spies, all of them seeking to manage a new threat from the barbarian fringes of their ordered world. When seen from the perspective of medieval Muslims, the Crusades emerge as something altogether different from the high-flying rhetoric of the European chronicles: as acultural encounter to ponder, a diplomatic chess-game to be mastered, a commercial opportunity to be seized, and as so often happened, a political challenge to be exploited by ambitious rulers making canny use of the language of jihad. An engrossing synthesis of history and scholarship, The Race for Paradise fills a significant historical gap, considering in a new light the events that distinctively shaped Muslim experiences of Europeans until the close of the Middle Ages.

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Restoration of Rome - Peter Heather
ISBN: 9780199368518
Publication Date: 2014-03-21
In 476 AD, the last of Rome's emperors, known as "Augustulus," was deposed by a barbarian general, the son of one of Attila the Hun's henchmen. With the imperial vestments dispatched to Constantinople, the curtain fell on the Roman empire in Western Europe, its territories divided among successor kingdoms constructed around barbarian military manpower. But, if the Roman Empire was dead, Romans across much of the old empire still lived, holding on to their lands, their values, and their institutions. The conquering barbarians, responding toRome's continuing psychological dominance and the practical value of many of its institutions, were ready to reignite the imperial flame and enjoy the benefits. As Peter Heather shows in dazzling biographical portraits, each of the three greatest immediate contenders for imperial power--Theoderic, Justinian, and Charlemagne--operated with a different power base but was astonishingly successful in his own way. Though each in turn managed to put back together enough of the old Roman West to stake a plausible claim to the Western imperial title, none of their empires long outlived their founders' deaths. Not until the reinvention of the papacy in the eleventh century would Europe's barbarians find the means to establish a new kind of Roman Empire, one that has lasted a thousand years. A sequel to the bestselling Fall of the Roman Empire, The Restoration of Rome offers a captivating narrative of the death of an era and the birth of the Catholic Church.


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Set in Stone - Charles T. Little
ISBN: 0300117817
Publication Date: 2006-11-06
The face in medieval sculpture was an exploration in human identity, marked not only by evolving nuances of style but also by the ongoing drama of European history. The 81 magnificent sculpted heads featured in this volume provide a sweeping view of the Middle Ages, from the waning days of the Roman Empire to the dawn of the Renaissance. Each sculpture bears eloquent witness to its own remarkable history, whether it was removed because of changing tastes or for political reasons, such as being cut off the head of a king on a grand cathedral facade.  The book is organized into seven thematic sections, including "Iconoclasm” and "The Stone Bible,” which explore the process of reconnecting these works to their origins using both traditional art historical methods as well as the latest scientific technology. An essay on medieval physiognomy by the distinguished scholar Willibald Sauerländer introduces the volume.

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To Have and to Hold - Philip L. Reynolds (Editor); John Witte (Editor)
ISBN: 0521867363
Publication Date: 2007-02-05
This 2007 book analyzes how, why, and when pre-modern Europeans documented their marriages - through property deeds, marital settlements, dotal charters, church court depositions, wedding liturgies, and other indicia of marital consent. The authors consider both the function of documentation in the process of marrying and what the surviving documents say about pre-modern marriage and how people in the day understood it. Drawing on archival evidence from classical Rome, medieval France, England, Iceland, and Ireland, and Renaissance Florence, Douai, and Geneva, the volume provides a rich interdisciplinary analysis of the range of marital customs, laws, and practices in Western Christendom. The chapters include freshly translated specimen documents that bring the reader closer to the actual practice of marrying than the normative literature of pre-modern theology and canon law.

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Western Church in the Later Middle Ages - Francis Oakley
ISBN: 0801493471
Publication Date: 1985-08-06
Francis Oakley addresses late-medieval church history in its own terms, pointing out not only discontinuities but also continuities with earlier medieval experience. "By doing so," he writes, "I hope to have avoided the distortions and refractions that occur when that history is seen too obsessively through the lens of the Reformation."


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