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, Eleanore 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.
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.
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 Medieval Book of Birds
Hugh of Fouilloy's Aviarium
Written some time between 1132 and 1152, Hugh of Fouilloy’s Aviary is an appealing treatise designed as a teaching text for monastic pupils. It comprises simple moralizing descriptions of birds’ appearance and behavioural traits, often based on biblical passages where the different species are mentioned. This volume presents a critical edition of the Latin text, with a facing English translation, an extensive introduction and more than 100 illustrations from some of the many manuscripts of the work.
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.
The Wars of the Roses
The conflict that wracked England between 1455 and 1487, known as the Wars of the Roses, is generally seen as a dynastic struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster, which were finally united in the Tudors. Ashdown-Hill's study sets the record straight, dispelling myths and clarifying complex family relationships. Bringing to life a large cast of colourful characters, it underlines the precariousness of the Tudor claim and explains why the last Lancastrian was actually Philip II of Spain.
A Brief History of the Knights Templar
A Brief History of the Warrior Order
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 Anglo-Saxon Age
The Birth of England
Inspired by the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in 2009, Martin Wall attempts to unravel some of the mysteries of the treasure: who it belonged to, where it was made and why it was buried. To place the hoard in context, he tells the story of the so-called ‘Dark Ages’, the lives of the Anglo-Saxon people and the new emphasis on the kingdom of Mercia in the early formation of England that the Staffordshire hoard seems to indicate.
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.
The Third Horseman
Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century
William Rosen, author of the acclaimed Justinian’s Flea, examines one of medieval Europe’s most astonishing catastrophes, when exceptional summer rains, freezing winters, animal epidemics and the destruction of farmland through warfare reduced Europe’s total population by one eighth. He combines insights from modern economics and climate science to analyse the complex and interrelated forces that led to the Great Famine, tracing their centuries-long gestation and assessing their implications in the context of today’s changing climate.
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.
Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition in Medieval Quercy
Inquests in the 1240s found that Catharism and the Waldensian heresy had taken firm hold in the county of Quercy in Languedoc, which had previously played a significant role in the Albigensian crusade against the Cathars. With detailed analysis of the evidence gathered by the inquisitors, this study investigates the cultural and political origins of Quercy's dramatic confessional shift, the divergent beliefs and allegiances within families and the impact of heresy on everyday life.
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.
A Year in the Life of Medieval England
In medieval England, 1 January rather than Christmas was the day to exchange gifts; the summer solstice on 24 June had been transformed from pagan festival to the feast of St John the Baptist; while the end of the year was the anniversary of the murder of Thomas Becket on 29 December 1170. Day by day, this engrossing book uses excerpts from a great diversity of writings to build up a picture of what life was like, and record historic events, in medieval England.
The Son of Magna Carta
The son of King John, Henry III came to the throne – and a kingdom at war with itself – aged nine, and ruled for 56 years until his death in 1272: yet still he is the forgotten king. Matthew Lewis examines Henry's long, complicated and neglected reign, looking in particular at the legacy of Magna Carta; the political landscape of the Angevin Empire and England; and the role of the dominant figures among the barons – Sir William Marshal and Simon de Montfort.
Celtic Saints of Wales
The history of Wales is rich with saints from the early days of Christianity. Focusing on the evocative sites associated with them, this book peels away layers of myth to recreate their lives by examining archaeological evidence, inscriptions and early texts. Illustrated with the author's own photographs throughout – including 16 pages of colour plates – and detailed maps, it is a scholarly but engaging guide to the world these men and women inhabited.
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.
The Lady Queen
The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily
Accused by her in-laws of murdering her husband, Joanna, Queen of Naples, stood trial in Avignon in 1348. She was 22 years old, yet spoke (in Latin) in her own defence. In this compelling account of how, despite her youth and sex, Joanna triumphed over her enemies, raised an army and took back her realm, Nancy Goldstone paints a richly detailed portrait of a medieval queen notorious throughout history for a crime she did not commit.
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.
The Wars of the Roses
The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors
Dan Jones looks beyond the story of dynastic rivalry promoted by Tudor historians to the complex civil conflict that followed a disastrous collapse of royal authority during the reign of Henry IV, became a crisis of legitimacy when Richard, Duke of York decided to claim the crown, and ended with the elimination of the Plantagenets. Finally, Jones examines the early history of the Tudor family and presents them 'not according to their own myth, but as the 15th century really found them'.
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'.
The Kings that Made Britain
At the accession of Henry II in 1154, the Plantagenets ruled over a realm that stretched from the Scottish borders to the Pyrenees. When Richard III died in 1485, only Calais was left on the European mainland, but the Plantagenets had consolidated and secured royal control within Britain. In this lucid account of their 300-year reign, Wilson chronicles the turbulent and often blood-soaked world of kings such as Richard the Lionheart, King John and Henry V, the hero of Agincourt.
Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass
in the Victoria and Albert Museum
The V&A's collection of medieval and Renaissance stained and painted glass is the largest and most comprehensive in the world. This selection of the Museum's panels spans the period 1140 to 1540 and shows the technical and artistic advances between the Romanesque and Renaissance eras, while also illuminating the beliefs and images, sacred and secular, of the medieval world. The collection is represented here by 110 plates, including full page details of important pieces, with following commentaries.
Jocelin of Wells
Bishop, Builder, Courtier
Jocelin, a royal administrator and the bishop of Wells from 1206 to 1242, played a major role in the growth of Somerset's towns, fairs and markets as well as the completion of Wells Cathedral and its Bishop's Palace. This volume comprises ten essays on Jocelin's life, career and reforms, his building projects and the findings of recent architectural, archaeological and botanical investigations into the curious physical nature of the palace site.
Magna Carta and the England of King John
What was the social, economic, legal and religious background to Magna Carta? How was King John perceived by those who knew him, and what was England like during his reign? The studies in this collection analyse such issues as the legacy of earlier Angevin rulers, the burgeoning economy of the early 13th century and Magna Carta's effects on widows and property. The volume ends with the first critical edition of an open letter of 1210 from the king himself.