The Art, Literature and Material Culture of the Medieval World
Transition, Transformation and Taxonomy
Reflecting contemporary approaches to the Middle Ages as a dynamic era of social, technological and political change, this volume of 18 essays explores the ideas of transition, transformation and taxonomy in subjects as varied as ethnic identity in medieval Córdoba, Old English poetry, the sculpture series of Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House, and Simon Semeonis’ 14th-century account of his pilgrimage from Ireland to Jerusalem.
Latin Psalter Manuscripts in Trinity College Dublin and the Chester Beatty Library
Because it formed the core of medieval devotional practice, the Book of Psalms was frequently copied as a separate volume for private reading. This study focuses on 13 examples, now in the collections of two Dublin libraries but with origins across Europe, which illustrate the diversity of such psalters’ design. Ranging from the lavishly decorated to the more austerely utilitarian, the manuscripts offer clues to the ways in which medieval readers scrutinized and engaged with the text.
The Man Who Conquered Europe
The identity of the fabled King Arthur has puzzled historians for centuries, but has never been established beyond the supposition that he was a British warrior who held the Saxons at bay in the 6th century. This study considers the available sources to identify a credible candidate, and explains one aspect of the legend that has eluded previous historians – the story of Arthur’s successful campaign against the Roman Empire in mainland Europe.
Long Live the King
The Mysterious Fate of Edward II
The brutal murder of Edward II with a red-hot poker at Berkeley Castle is perhaps the most infamous of all royal deaths – but is it true? A remarkable document discovered in a Montpellier archive more than a century ago claims that he escaped to Ireland before making his way to Italy, where he lived as a hermit. This historical investigation charts his reign and his downfall, before carefully evaluating all the evidence for and against his survival.
After the Conquest
The Divided Realm 1066–1135
As he lay dying in Rouen in 1087, William the Conqueror bequeathed to his sons Robert, William and Henry the dukedom of Normandy, the throne of England and £5,000 respectively. Twenty years of violence and treachery were to follow William’s death until the youngest son, ‘the lion of justice’ according to medieval chroniclers, succeeded his brother William Rufus as Henry I. Teresa Cole traces the turbulent history of the three brothers, from their births to the death of Henry in 1135.
Joanna of Flanders
Heroine and Exile
Joanna of Flanders, Countess de Montfort and Duchess of Brittany, was a formidable figure, leading her troops to rout the French at Hellebont in 1342. The following year however, after accompanying her ally Edward III to England, she vanished from public life. This biography draws on new research to reveal how her subsequent imprisonment in Yorkshire was the result not, as previously claimed, of mental illness, but of Edward’s determination to keep control of Brittany for himself.
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.
Medieval & Renaissance Interiors
In Illuminated Manuscripts
Illuminated manuscripts are an invaluable resource for understanding medieval and early modern life in castles, palaces and ordinary households, both urban and rural. Reproducing 140 little-known illuminations, mostly from the British Library’s collections, this book shows how these miniatures reflect medieval domestic interiors and how they provide information on topics ranging from the security of dwelling places to creature comforts such as heating and lighting, hygiene, beds and bedrooms, and the display of wealth and treasured possessions.
The Last Pagans or the First Modern Europeans?
Travelling hundreds of miles to trade and fight, the Vikings were undoubtedly great seafarers. But were they noble heathens or oafish pirates? How much do archaeological discoveries agree with what we read in the sagas? What happened to the Vikings as Christianity spread? This concise study addresses these questions by focusing on the lives of some of the most famous Vikings.
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 Medieval World Complete
This survey of one of the great ages of European civilization is illustrated with photographs of paintings, sculpture, buildings and objets d’art. Chapters covering the beginning and the end of the Middle Ages frame six sections on religion and the Church, nations and laws, daily life, art and architecture, scholarship and philosophy, and the world beyond Christendom. The book includes biographies of key personalities from Charlemagne to William Wallace, timelines, maps and a gazetteer.
King Cnut and the Viking Conquest of England 1016
While referred to as 'the Great' in Denmark, Cnut (?995–1035) is mostly remembered in Britain for his legendary attempt to turn back the sea. Bartlett sets out to give this much-neglected king of England and his forgotten conquest their proper place in history. Beginning with the earlier Viking incursions, Bartlett tells the story of the protracted 'time of terror' and the epic conflict between Cnut and Edmund Ironside that culminated in the Danish warrior's victory at Assandun in 1016.
The Hundred Years War
Volume Three: Divided Houses
By the end of his reign, England's warrior king Edward III was a senile shadow of his former self, his conquests overrun by his enemies, his heir a neurotic child who would divide the nation. In this third volume of his magisterial narrative history, Jonathan Sumption sifts through contemporary sources to create a compelling account of the 30 years from 1369 to 1399, when the French attained the peak of their military, political and artistic confidence.
The Medieval World
The Illustrated History of the Middle Ages
Arranged thematically, this historical survey begins by tracing the growth of dynasties and empires, from the Carolingians to the Ottomans. Further sections cover warfare and conquest (in particular the Crusades and the Hundred Years’ War), as well as daily life under the feudal system and developments in religion and culture. Also featured are photographs of medieval maps, artworks and significant documents such as Magna Carta and Joan of Arc’s final letter. Includes material previously published in The Middle Ages.
Women in Medieval England
Arguing that the Normans’ imposition of a feudal system significantly reduced women’s rights and status, Telford uses a range of evidence from legal records to chart the struggles of ordinary women against the hypocritical sexual politics of medieval England. She considers such subjects as the pressure on young women to marry and bear children, the difficulty of legally ending an unhappy marriage, the special challenges faced by widows and the law’s attitudes to prostitution. Foreword by John Ashdown-Hill.
Edward the Elder
King of the Anglo-Saxons Forgotten Son of Alfred
‘A remarkable and successful king of the Anglo-Saxons’, but overshadowed by the illustrious reputation of his father, Alfred the Great, Edward the Elder reigned between 899 and 924 and was pivotal in the transformation of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms into a recognizable, unified English nation state which his son Æthelstan developed further. Drawing on tenth-century sources, Michael John Key gives an assessment of the reign and, as far as possible, an account of Edward’s early life and kingship in Anglo-Saxon Wessex.
A Brief History of
Between the Romans’ departure from Britain and the Norman Conquest, a distinct English identity developed, the legacy of which is still felt today. As Hindley tells the story of Anglo-Saxon England he highlights its cultural glories, such as Beowulf and the Lindisfarne Gospels, and its powerful women, from the war leader Æthelflæd to the abbess Hilda. He also shows how the centralized English bureaucracy helped create Europe’s first true ‘nation’.
The Norman Conquest
William the Conqueror's Subjugation of England
Did the Normans bring civilization to England and enable stronger links with continental Europe? Was William’s victory the result of supreme strategy – or just luck? As new discoveries have cast doubt on the traditional picture of 1066, Cole reassesses the evidence for the Conquest and its effects. Explaining the background to the invasion, she highlights the long development of English relations with Normans and Scandinavians; describing the aftermath, she considers how the conquerors crushed resistance and exploited the kingdom’s riches.
A True King's Fall
From his birth in Bordeaux in 1367 and early years in Aquitaine, to his deposition by Henry of Lancaster in 1399 and his death, a few months later, in Pontefract Castle, this biography of Richard II is intended as a portrait of an individual rather than an account of his reign. It is, nevertheless, a very complete study that reassesses Richard’s reputation as a crazed and vicious ruler, and depicts a complex and conflicted man thrust into a role that demanded greatness.
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.
Glorious Son of York
A charismatic Plantagenet ruler, described by a contemporary as ‘the handsomest prince my eyes ever beheld’, Edward IV (1442–1483) fought hard for his crown, contesting some of the most important battles of the medieval period, including Mortimer’s Cross, Towton, Barnet and Tewkesbury. Covering Edward’s background, the Yorkist takeover and the tensions created by the king’s controversial Woodville marriage, this history follows his struggle to gain and regain the kingship of England during a period of great dynastic turmoil.
The Battle of Towton 1461
Taking its title from Henry VI's lament at the Battle of Towton in Shakespeare's play, this book examines Henry's disastrous reign and the personal failings of the king, then describes the events leading up to Towton and the battle itself – the first savage clash of arms between Lancastrians and Yorkists in the Wars of the Roses. In his introduction, David Starkey sketches the evolution of English kingship, providing the background to 1461.
Plantagenet Queens and Consorts
Family, Duty and Power
The Plantagenet dynasty ruled medieval England during a period of immense socio-political change when the role of queen consorts was redefined. Indeed, as this book reveals, royal women played a significant role in the maintenance of the Plantagenets’ political power. Corvi focuses on ten influential figures from the period 1236–1485, such as the ‘She-Wolf’ Isabella of France, who deposed her husband Edward II, and Margaret of Anjou, who was often in control of government during Henry VI’s bouts of madness.
The Mythology of the 'Princes in the Tower'
Were the sons of Edward IV – the boy king Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York – genuinely held against their will in the Tower of London; and were they murdered there? Bones found in the Tower were interred in Westminster Abbey in 1674, and their burial urn was opened in 1933. Now, drawing on genetic science, John Ashdown-Hill re-examines the case of the two princes, questioning the orthodox view and stripping away the myths that surround their fate.
Edward III's Round Table at Windsor
The House of the Round Table and the Windsor Festival of 1344
In 1344, Edward III proposed forming a secular order of knights, the Order of the Round Table, and building a home for its gatherings. This book describes the archaeological evidence for that fabled Domus Rotunde Tabulae, unearthed by the BBC’s Time Team in 2006.
Clerks, Wives and Historians
Essays on Medieval English Language and Literature
This collection of ten Studientage Englisches Mittelalter (SEM) essays in medieval English literature includes studies of monsters in Spenser’s Faerie Queene; treachery in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Piers Plowman; and tensions between Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and the Clerk. English text.
Preaching, Building, and Burying
Friars in the Medieval City
By preaching in the open and visiting lay people at home, mendicant friars took religion outside church buildings. Yet, despite their dedication to apostolic poverty, the friars were criticized for their churches’ considerable size. In her study of the ‘social lives of buildings’, Bruzelius describes how friars’ activities shaped the interior and exterior spaces of medieval cities; in particular explaining how individual donors’ requests for intercessory prayers and burial rights led to the episodic expansion and decoration of the friars’ convents.
Texts in Translation
The central and later Middle Ages were a critical formative period for the Italian peninsula, which lay at the centre of trading networks stretching from Britain to Byzantium. This volume’s 120 newly translated sources range in date from c.1000 to the early 15th century. They illustrate the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of medieval Italy, highlighting both its continuities with the Latin West and the ways in which it was exceptional, such as its new communal forms of government.
The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses that convulsed 15th-century England sprang from a family quarrel as fraught and intimate as any before or since. It is often viewed in terms of its male protagonists but, as this history makes clear, women played a key role, among them the Yorkist matriarch Cecily Neville; Margaret of Anjou, formidable wife of the mad King Henry VI; and Margaret Beaufort, whose ambition for her son ushered in the Tudor dynasty.
The Black Prince of Florence
The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici
The illegitimate son of Lorenzo II and a maidservant, Alessandro de’ Medici ruled Florence for six turbulent years until he was assassinated in 1537. This first complete account of his life charts the rise through the intrigue-ridden courts of Renaissance Italy of the model for Machiavelli’s Prince, assesses the qualities of a ruler branded a tyrant by his enemies after his death, and considers the possible ethnic origins of this ‘first European ruler of colour’.
And the Road to Magna Carta
On the death of Richard I in 1199, his brother John took possession of the vast Angevin lands in England and France. By the time of his own death in 1215, King John had lost control of the continental lordships, England was facing invasion, and his English subjects had confronted him with the Magna Carta. Church's study of John approaches the king as a man ill-suited to his position of power, who came to be seen by his contemporaries as a tyrant.
The Castle at War in Medieval England and Wales
After examining the origins of castle building in northern France, Dan Spencer’s military history focuses on the role of castles in warfare in England and Wales, from their introduction by the Normans in the 11th century to the death of Henry VIII in 1547. The book covers all the major conflicts, including the conquest of Wales, war with Scotland, 1295–1337, the Hundred Years’ War and the Wars of the Roses, ending with the early Tudors’ fortifications against invasion.
Richard, Duke of York
King by Right
Inheriting his dukedom at the age of four, Richard, 3rd Duke of York, became the wealthiest man in England at 13 and later rebelled against his king. Although remembered as the man who ignited the Wars of the Roses, the Duke has been largely eclipsed by his sons, Edward IV and Richard III. Lewis's biography challenges the myth of the Duke as a man of insatiable ambition who dragged a nation into civil war, and reveals a family man, yet one with unparalleled power and responsibilities.
The Triumph of Robert the Bruce
In a fresh account of Bannockburn, Cornell places the battle ‘within its wider context as a phenomenon inextricably linked to the political events within Scotland and England in this period’. He examines the internal conflicts in both countries, the leadership of Robert Bruce and that of England’s Edward II and his generals in a thorough reappraisal of why the battle occurred, how it unfolded and how the Scots achieved their extraordinary against-the-odds victory.
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.
A History of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, 1257–1301
Simon of Luton and John of Northwold
St Edmund’s Abbey, one of the country’s wealthiest religious houses, was closely involved with the central government of medieval England. This history, which covers the rule of two 13th-century abbots, uses evidence from the abbey’s extensive surviving records to provide insights into its governance and economy in difficult times as well as its religious, intellectual and cultural life. The monks’ dietary regime is examined in an appendix featuring recipes from the archives.
Silk and the Sword
The Women of the Norman Conquest
Sharon Bennett Connolly offers a new approach to the male-dominated history of 1066 and its cataclysmic events. She draws on the chronicles of those times to reconstruct the lives of the women who played significant roles in the years that led up to the Conquest and in its aftermath: among them, Emma of Normandy, queen of both Aethelred II and Cnut; Edward the Confessor’s queen, Edith of Wessex; William the Conqueror’s Matilda; and Margaret, the sainted Queen of Scotland.
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.
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 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.
Religious Men and Masculine Identity in the Middle Ages
The focus of these eleven essays is the complex relationship between masculinity and religion, with topics ranging widely to include studies of the rabbis of Babylonian Talmud; narratives of the First Crusade; and why men became monks in late medieval England.
The Culture of Food in England
In this study of food and drink, whether in the pauper’s bowl or on the elite table, and what it meant to people in the Middle Ages, Professor Woolgar shows how eating and drinking mattered for a multitude of reasons beyond simple sustenance. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the book looks at how food was acquired, cooked and eaten in the main social groups of late medieval England, and uses the cultures of food to open new perspectives on daily life.
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 Cave Church of Paul the Hermit
at the Monastery of St Paul, Egypt
The Coptic Monastery of St Paul grew up around the cave near the Red Sea where Paul, the first Christian hermit, lived in solitude. A shrine in late antiquity, the cave became a church in medieval times and was decorated with wall paintings in the 13th century. This richly illustrated volume records the work of the American Research Center in Egypt in conserving the paintings, and sets the Coptic art and architecture of the church in historical and spiritual context.
Heraldry in the Vatican
Taking the reader on 20 ‘walks’ around the Vatican, a former Prefect of the Papal Household draws attention to the City State’s abundant examples of armorial devices relating to popes from Eugene IV to John Paul II. The text, which is illustrated with hundreds of photographs, explains the significance of the coats of arms, inscriptions and other decorative features of the Vatican’s buildings, while also forming a brief history of 55 pontificates. Captions in English, French and German.
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.