A Brief History of the Normans
The Conquests that Changed the Face of Europe
The history of the Normans began a long time before William the Conqueror arrived in England in 1066. In this absorbing and accessible introduction, Professor Neveux describes the 'extraordinary Norman adventure' that changed the landscape and culture of Europe, from the first Viking raids of the 8th century to the defeat of the Normans in Sicily in the mid 13th century. Translated by Howard Curtis.
Edward the Confessor
King of England
Peter Rex presents ‘an alternative view’ of Edward the Confessor’s life, character and achievements, drawing on the wealth of research into his reign since Frank Barlow’s major biography of the king appeared in 1979. Discounting the traditional emphasis on the influence of Earl Godwine, Rex examines Edward’s achievements in foreign policy and statecraft, looking in particular at his contribution to advancing the administration of the Old English state; and in a final chapter, he discusses the cult of the Confessor’s sanctity.
England, Magna Carta and the Making of a Tyrant
No English king has had a worse press than 'Bad King John'. The youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, John succeeded his brother Richard the Lionheart, only to squander his vast inheritance. However, in doing so he unintentionally laid one of the cornerstones of British democracy, in the form of the Magna Carta. This well-received biography disentangles truth from myth to present a rounded portrait of a complex and conflicted monarch.
Danes in Wessex
The Scandinavian Impact on Southern England, c.800–c.1100
Originating at a conference held at the Wessex Centre for History and Archaeology, this collection of 13 papers includes studies of West Saxon battlefields, an early medieval mass burial on the Dorset Ridgeway, and Danish royal burials, especially that of Cnut and his family, in Winchester.
Britain's Medieval Episcopal Thrones
History, Archaeology and Conservation
Six episcopal thrones survive from 14th-century cathedral churches. In this scholarly volume, Charles Tracy presents in-depth studies of the timber thrones in Exeter, St David’s and Hereford Cathedrals and the impressive, canopied oak bishop’s chair in Lincoln; and Andrew Budge contributes a chapter on the two stone episcopal thrones at Wells and Durham Cathedrals. There is much additional information in appendices, and the studies are lavishly illustrated with photographs, plans and line drawings of the thrones.
John Capgrave's Fifteenth Century
East Anglia in the 15th century was a centre of English culture, and its ferment of political, religious and cultural debate is reflected in the works, written in Middle English for lay audiences, of the Augustinian friar and scholar John Capgrave. Exploring the innovation and themes of his writings – piety, the intellectual, the spiritual integrity of the English Church, holy women, sainthood and governance – Karen Winstead argues against the prevalent view of Capgrave as a religious and political reactionary.
Although generally thought of as the hero of Agincourt, recent studies have depicted Henry V as an obsessive egoist. Matusiak's biography takes a fresh look at the life and nine-year reign of Henry and gives a more balanced view of the king, looking at the often neglected role of those who supported him, notably Henry and Thomas Beaumont; and showing Henry as indeed a man of prodigious gifts whose military achievements made a profound impression on his contemporaries.
The Medieval Roots of Modern Politics
Although published in the 800th anniversary year of Magna Carta, this is not a sweeping survey of its influence on British history, but a focused account of the years 1215 to 1225. Telling the story of the Charter and reflecting on its usefulness today, Starkey follows its evolution from revolutionary document in 1215, through the radical revision of 1216 to the 'constitution-in-the-making' of 1225. An appendix contains the three Charter texts in tabular form. American-cut pages.
The Warrior Queen
In 1464, on the death of her elder brother, the 23-year-old Isabella of Castile had herself crowned queen and seized control of Castile and Leon. She took up the fight against the Muslims in Andalusia; and her reign saw the Muslims banished, Spain unified, Columbus’s journey to the Americas, sponsored by Isabella, and Spain’s control over the New World, but she also instigated the religious Inquisition that was to darken the reputation of both Spain and its warrior queen. American-cut pages.
The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography
Hebrew prophets and Israelites appeared in early Christian art but only after 1000 CE did the Jew emerge as a recognizable figure, soon to become a poisonous symbol. Sara Lipton argues that the visual stereotypes were neither an inevitable result of Christian theology nor simple reflections of prejudice. She traces complex relationships between medieval Christians’ religious ideas, social experience and changing artistic practices, and shows how representations of Jews transformed over time from benign figures of ancient wisdom to vicious caricatures.
Pottery and Social Life in Medieval England
How can pottery studies contribute to the study of medieval archaeology? How do pots relate to documents, landscapes and identities? In this study, Ben Jarvis seeks to show how pottery might be used to better understand the medieval period; and in a series of case studies he demonstrates how pottery and material culture in general can play a central role in the understanding of social life in the Middle Ages.
The Templars, the Witch, and the Wild Irish
Vengeance and Heresy in Medieval Ireland
Medieval Ireland was a land of Christian faith and learning, with no experience of heresy trials before the 14th century; the Roman Church, however, viewed the ‘isle of saints’ as unorthodox, handing the English a reason to colonize. Illuminating the divisive relations between the native Irish, Anglo-Irish and English, this study examines the trials that began with the heretical inquest of the Templars in 1312 and includes the case of Alice Kyteler – the first ‘devil-worshipping witch’ – and her Anglo-Irish associates.
The Mystery Unravelled
The culmination of 30 years of research into the historical figure behind the king of Arthurian legend, Chris Barber’s book presents his identification of the real Arthur: a Celtic prince of the Silures in south-east Wales. Barber’s investigations reveal Arthur’s ancestors and immediate family, the locations of his courts, including the Isle of Avalon, the sites of battles he fought, his final resting place and sixth-century stones bearing his name.
A Medieval Legend and its Dark Age Origins
Beginning with the first appearance of Merlin in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (c.1139), this study surveys medieval Arthurian literature, searching for the historical and geographical origins of the Merlin legend. Clarkson goes back to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Celtic sources to uncover the mysterious figures of Myrddin Wyllt (Wild Merlin) and Lailoken; he discusses the legendary battle of Arfderydd, Merlin as Wild Man and seer; and reveals the Scottish origins of the legendary wizard.
Heresy, Inquisition and Life Cycle in Medieval Languedoc
Drawing on the interview records of mendicant inquisitors, this book examines the beliefs and lived religion of men and women of the Cathar sect in the Languedoc region of southern France during the 12th and early 13th centuries. In contrast to most studies of Catharism, Sparks’s book focuses on the popular religion of the ordinary, non-ordained laity rather than the theology or leadership of the sect.
1016 & 1066
Why the Vikings Caused the Norman Conquest
The Norman Conquest of 1066 was not the only ‘Conquest’ of the eleventh century; 50 years before William I’s victory at Hastings, the ‘Viking Conquest’ of 1016 made Cnut king of Denmark and England. This book argues that the consequences of that earlier conquest, including the exile of the Anglo-Saxon heirs to the English throne and the entanglement of English, Norman and Scandinavian politics, led to the defeat of Harold Godwinson in 1066.
Realities, Myths, Ballads
In 1411, the ageing Donald of Islay, Lord of the Isles, invaded mainland Scotland with a huge, battle-hardened army, only to be fought to a standstill on the plateau of Harlaw, 14 miles from Aberdeen. This great battle left around 3,000 dead or wounded, yet beyond Aberdeenshire, it has faded from historical memory. This book brings Donald’s invasion and Harlaw back into view, with translations of contemporary records and ballads, later historical accounts, and myths and legends of Harlaw.
Jewish Life in the Middle Ages
First published in 1896, this social and cultural history is the work of a distinguished scholar of rabbinic literature. He describes the experience of European Jews from the tenth century to the early 1500s, covering such topics as courtship and marriage, trades and occupations, pastimes and amusements, as well as the central role of the synagogue in social life, the institution of the ghetto and personal relations between Christians and Jews.
The History and Legends of Viking England
After a brief history of the ‘Viking Age’, which saw the movement of peoples from Scandinavia to the British Isles, Eleanor Parker turns to medieval chronicles and legends about the Vikings or ‘Danes’. Although the medieval narratives often portray the Scandinavians as raiders whose purpose was plunder and destruction, Parker’s close study of the stories reveals other motives – including participation in English politics and the need to settle – and she traces the positive Viking contribution to culture and identity in England.
The Taymouth Hours
Stories and the Construction of the Self in Late Medieval England
The Taymouth Hours, a devotional volume from 14th-century England, is remarkable for the series of nearly 380 images in its lower margins. In the first major study of this enigmatic manuscript, Smith argues that it was commissioned for Edward III’s sister Eleanor of Woodstock; analyses the content of its texts and illustrations; and explores how these stories relate to the self-fashioning of their royal female viewer. The complete manuscript is reproduced on the accompanying DVD.
Joan of Arc
Helen Castor, who told the stories of England’s early queens in the television series She-Wolves, turns to another remarkable medieval woman in this biography of ‘Joan the Maid’, the peasant girl who heard heavenly voices, led an army to victory and presided over the dauphin’s coronation before being condemned and burned for heresy. But the book is also a history of Joan’s era, setting her in the context of France’s political turmoil post-Agincourt and tracking her posthumous rehabilitation. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
With All for All
The Life of Simon de Montfort
Darren Baker’s biography traces the life of Simon de Montfort (c.1208–1265) and offers a fresh interpretation of his character, his feud with Henry III and his legacy. While not ignoring de Montfort’s faults, Baker presents him as a man of charisma, determination and fearlessness; but while history has often credited him with founding Parliament, this study sees his achievement as the recognition and cultivation of an awakening of national identity and political awareness in 13th-century England.
The People, the King & the Great Revolt of 1381
In 1381, England erupted in a violent popular uprising as unexpected as it was unprecedented. Juliet Barker's narrative history depicts a volatile society on the brink of profound change. Treating contemporary chronicles with scepticism, she draws on court proceedings and letters to give voice to the ordinary people from many walks of life who took part in the so-called Peasants' Revolt, illuminating their motives and demands, examining the ambiguous role of Richard II, and charting its long-term effects.
The Romance of the Middle Ages
With tales ranging from King Arthur’s Round Table to Alexander the Great’s journeys in the Far East, romance was the most fertile narrative form of the Middle Ages. This book presents treasures from the Bodleian Library to introduce the literary genre of romance and the manuscripts that preserve its texts. The authors also discuss later responses to the tradition: Pre-Raphaelites’ aesthetic appreciation, the enthusiasm of Sir Walter Scott and CS Lewis and the affectionate mockery found in Cervantes and Monty Python.
A Brief History of Medieval Warfare
The Rise and Fall of English Supremacy at Arms: 1344–1485
For much of the 14th and 15th centuries, England was almost continuously at war with its neighbours, and enjoyed an unprecedented degree of military supremacy in the region. Peter Reid's exhaustive account is not simply a catalogue of battles, but interweaves analysis of strategy and weaponry with a dramatic telling of how and why the wars, from Bannockburn to the Wars of the Roses, came about, and how they were fought.
The Foundation of Freedom 1215–2015
Described by Lord Denning as ‘the greatest constitutional document of all times’, Magna Carta is widely seen as a guarantor of individual rights and freedom from tyranny. But how is a charter forced on a medieval king by his barons relevant today? This comprehensive, accessible and richly illustrated volume explains its origins, how it has been interpreted through the centuries, and the inspiration it provides to those wishing to build democratic societies across the world.
A Brief History of the Knights Templar
The Knights of the Order of the Temple of Solomon are found in fictional literature from the Middle Ages to Sir Walter Scott and beyond, even appearing in computer games. Nicholson separates the surviving historical evidence from speculative associations with Freemasonry, the Holy Grail and space travel: beginning with the Templars' origins during the Crusades she considers their religious life, their service to Europe's kings and their commercial and economic activities, up to the order's dissolution in 1312.
The Crusade of Richard I
The Third Crusade united European leaders in an expedition to reclaim the Holy Land from Saladin. It is particularly well-documented, with contemporary chronicles surviving from both sides of the conflict, some of which were written by men present in the region. First published in 1889, this compilation of translated sources juxtaposes accounts by different authors and illustrates how events such as the siege of Acre were viewed at the time.
The Deeds of Pope Innocent III
Translated, with a substantial introduction and notes by James M Powell, the Gesta Innocenti III, or Deeds of Innocent III is an account of the first eleven years of Innocent III’s reign (1198–1216), written between 1204 and 1209 and intended for the curia rather than a wide readership. The work provides a unique window into the activities, policies and strategies of the papacy during an important period in the history of the medieval church.
First Among Abbots
The Career of Abbo of Fleury
Elizabeth Dachowski presents a study of Abbo of Fleury, a prominent churchman in late tenth-century France, a leader in the revival of learning in France and England, and the subject of an important hagiography (Aimonius of Fleury’s Vita sancti Abbonis). Viewed as a whole, including the years before he became Abbot of Fleury, Abbo’s life demonstrates his devotion to the cause of monastic rights in a climate of political change.
Heroines of the Medieval World
‘Although there were many women in the medieval era who did the extraordinary, who stood out in a world dominated by men, they are not easy to find.’ This study scours the sources to uncover the achievements of famous women such as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Margaret of Scotland, and the less-familiar stories of women in convents, pawns in political marriages, mistresses, warriors and captive women like Ingeborg of Denmark, crowned queen of France, yet imprisoned by her husband for 20 years.
The Consolation of Queen Elizabeth I
The Queen's Translation of Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae
In 1593, Elizabeth I became one of several leading figures who translated Boethius’ Consolation. Its themes, particularly predestination and free will, made it one of the most important and most popular philosophical works in the medieval and early modern periods. This diplomatic edition of the text is accompanied by Quan Manh Ha’s introduction discussing Elizabeth’s reading and translation of the Consolation, parallels between her life and that of the imprisoned Boethius, and the manuscript itself. No jacket.
The True Origins of the Once and Future King
Adam Ardrey follows up the detective work in his Finding Merlin with this account of his wider investigations into the legend of King Arthur. He reaches the startling conclusion that the historical Arthur came from Scotland, and also presents evidence to suggest that some of the story’s most familiar features – the Round Table, the Sword in the Stone and the Lady of the Lake – have their origins in the landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.
The Mythology of Richard III
John Ashdown-Hill was a founder member of the Looking for Richard Project, committed to finding Richard's burial place and excavating the true history of the king's life and reign from the mire of myth and legend. In this book he sets about exploring and exposing the portrayal of Richard as monster and murderer by the Tudors; the legends created by writers such as Shakespeare; and the modern Ricardian mythologies perpetuated by a lack of research and the profit motive.
The Art of the Picts
Sculpture and Metalwork in Early Medieval Scotland
Drawing on two lifetimes’ experience and expertise in the field, George and Isabel Henderson dissect and scrutinize one of the genuine enigmas of early medieval art: the sculpture and metalwork of the Picts in seventh- to ninth-century northeast Britain. Through careful observation and comparison, the authors show how the hitherto marginalized art of the Picts both interacted with the currents of Insular art and was produced by a sophisticated society capable of sustaining large-scale art programmes. With maps and 326 illustrations.
Henry VIII, James IV and the Battle for Renaissance Britain
The decisive battle at Flodden Field in 1513 marked the climax of the personal and political tension between England’s Henry VIII and his brother-in-law James IV of Scotland. This book traces the origins and escalation of their rivalry, with analysis of the political and military manoeuvres leading up to Flodden. It ends with an account of the battle itself, which saw the first artillery exchange on a British battlefield, and an assessment of James’s level of responsibility for Scotland’s defeat.
The Siege of Jerusalem
Crusade and Conquest in 1099
In this vivid narrative history Kostick retells the events that unfolded following the arrival of a Christian army at Jerusalem in June 1099. He also sets this siege and the brutal sack of the city against the wider background of the First Crusade, following the crusaders on their march towards Jerusalem, highlighting tensions and factions among their ranks and assessing both the immediate aftermath and the longer-term legacy for the Crusade's leaders.
Henry V, the Man-at-Arms and the Archer
Agincourt is one of the most celebrated battles in English history, a victory that made Henry V a national hero and still resonates six centuries later. This title peels away the layers of myth to tell the human story through the eyes of key participants, from the king himself to a Somerset squire and an archer from Dorset. Drawing on historic accounts, it assesses the casualties and discusses the massacre of French prisoners that shocked contemporaries.
A Lost Work by Amalarius of Metz
Interpolations in Salisbury, Cathedral Library, MS.154
Amalarius of Metz (c.775–c.850) has borne much of the credit – and the blame – for establishing the ‘allegorical’ interpretation of the liturgy as an exercise unto itself. This volume presents a full study of a long neglected manuscript: Salisbury, Cathedral Library MS.154 contains a version of Amalarius’ Liber officialis that differs significantly from the accepted Hanssens edition. The text of the MS is given in full in Latin and an English translation. No jacket.
The Hundred Years War
What course would English history have taken had Henry V been defeated at Agincourt? What if Joan of Arc had not galvanized French resistance at Orléans? Venning's study focuses on key events during the reigns of kings Edward III to Henry VI, and offers an illuminating insight into some of the pressures and factors that shaped the Middle Ages.
Defending the City of God
A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem
After the First Crusade, the conquering knights established states on the lands they had wrested from Islam, and the largest and most powerful was the Kingdom of Jerusalem. This book charts the life and times of Queen Melisende, who ruled it from 1131 until her death in 1161. Using every scrap of evidence, it portrays a strong-willed woman who brought peace to a volatile population of warring knights, Muslim peasants and Jewish traders.
The Battle for a Nation
The year of Scotland's referendum, 2014 was also the 700th anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn, when 'a very different sort of campaign on the issue of Scotland's independence came to its climax'. Alistair Moffat follows in detail the events of those two days in June 1314, and captures all the fear, heroism, confusion and desperation of medieval warfare as he describes the tactics and manoeuvres that led to a stunning victory for the heavily outnumbered Scots.
North-East England in the Later Middle Ages
Originating in a conference organized under the auspices of the AHRB Research Centre for North-East England History, these 14 essays all deal in some way with issues surrounding the quest for regional identity. The emphasis of the volume is on the county palatine of Durham in the later medieval period, and specific essay topics include St Cuthbert in the border region, local law courts in Durham, and the city's monastic community. No jacket.
The Greatest Knight
The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power behind Five English Thrones
William Marshal (1147–1219) was the Lancelot of his era – a landless younger son who rose through the ranks to serve as right-hand man to five English monarchs, including Richard the Lionheart and his brother John. Drawing on contemporary evidence, including the sole surviving copy of a 13th-century biography, this compelling study resurrects a courageous warrior, tournament champion, wily politician and, ultimately, regent of the realm, against a rich tapestry of chivalry, grandeur and barbarity.
Against All England
Regional Identity and Cheshire Writing, 1195-1656
Examining late medieval and early modern English identity from the vantage point of an explicitly regional literature, this study of pageants, poems and prose works created in Cheshire between 1195 and 1656 challenges the dominant view of the Renaissance as a break with England's medieval past. In discussing texts such as Lucian's De laude Cestrie, the Chester Whitsun plays and the Stanley family romances, Barrett demonstrates both regional continuity and the 'complex intertwining of regional and national identities'.