This collection expands previous regional and individual studies of queenship and female political agency in order to engage in a comparative study of premodern female rule on a global scale. While the field of queenship studies and examinations of gender and power have been flourishing, the literature has tended to be dominated by studies of European royalty. This volume aims to embrace and develop the trend towards an increasingly global outlook for the field of queenship studies. Case studies of women from different periods, places, and religions are deliberately mixed to compare and contrast the realities of queenship in varied settings. Lesser studied examples of queens are provided alongside fresh perspectives on more familiar figures and regions. The authors increase our understanding of understudied individuals and groups of queens, and they encourage the comparison of the practice of queenship in the premodern era. This authoritative and comprehensive Companion will be required reading for all scholars and students of premodern gender and political studies.
Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2008
A Cultural History of Animals in the Medieval Age investigates the changing roles of animals in medieval culture, economy and society in the period 1000 to 1400. The period saw significant changes in scientific and philosophical approaches to animals as well as their representation in art.
Animals were omnipresent in medieval everyday life. They had enormous importance for medieval agriculture and trade and were also hunted for food and used in popular entertainments. At the same time, animals were kept as pets and used to display their owner’s status, whilst medieval religion attributed complex symbolic meanings to animals.
As with all the volumes in the illustrated Cultural History of Animals, this volume presents an overview of the period and continues with essays on the position of animals in contemporary Symbolism, Hunting, Domestication, Sports and Entertainment, Science, Philosophy, and Art.
The period spanning the 15th to the 17th Centuries saw an unprecedented interest in childrearing and the family. Renaissance humanist thought valued the education of children while promoting the family as a mirror of a well-ordered society, based on class, gender, and age hierarchies. Protestant and Catholic reformers and state-sponsored disciplinary measures further reinforced authority within the family, with marriage seen as a primary instrument for moralizing sexual customs. The proliferation of printed books and artworks representing the family popularized models of domestic life across Europe and its newly acquired colonies. At the same time, high mortality, repeated wars, poverty, increased migration, and geographical mobility severely undermined these idealized notions of family and childhood, giving rise to a wide range of unconventional and highly unstable households.
As with all the volumes in the illustrated Cultural History of Childhood and Family set, this volume presents essays on family relationships, community, economy, geography and the environment, education, life cycle, the state, faith and religion, health and science, and world contexts.
During the medieval period, people invested heavily in looking good. The finest fashions demanded careful chemistry and compounds imported from great distances and at considerable risk to merchants; the Church became a major consumer of both the richest and humblest varieties of cloth, shoes, and adornment; and vernacular poets began to embroider their stories with hundreds of verses describing a plethora of dress styles, fabrics, and shopping experiences.
Drawing on a wealth of pictorial, textual and object sources, the volume examines how dress cultures developed – often to a degree of dazzling sophistication – between the years 800AD to 1450AD.
Beautifully illustrated with 100 images, A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion in the Medieval Age presents an overview of the period with essays on textiles, production and distribution, the body, belief, gender and sexuality, status, ethnicity, visual representations, and literary representations.
Europe was formed in the Middle Ages. The merging of the traditions of Roman-Mediterranean societies with the customs of Northern Europe created new political, economic, social and religious structures and practices. Between 500 and 1300 CE, food in all its manifestations, from agriculture to symbol, became ever more complex and integral to Europe’s culture and economy. The period saw the growth of culinary literature, the introduction of new spices and cuisines as a result of trade and war, the impact of the Black Death on food resources, the widening gap between what was eaten by the rich and what by the poor, as well as the influence of religion on food rituals.
A Cultural History of Food in the Medieval Age presents an overview of the period with essays on food production, food systems, food security, safety and crises, food and politics, eating out, professional cooking, kitchens and service work, family and domesticity, body and soul, representations of food, and developments in food production and consumption globally.
The Middle Ages was a time of great upheaval - the period between the seventh and fourteenth centuries saw great social, political and economic change. The radically distinct cultures of the Christian West, Byzantium, Persian-influenced Islam, and al-Andalus resulted in different responses to the garden arts of antiquity and different attitudes to the natural world and its artful manipulation. Yet these cultures interacted and communicated, trading plants, myths and texts. By the fifteenth century the garden as a cultural phenomenon was immensely sophisticated and a vital element in the way society saw itself and its relation to nature.
A Cultural History of Gardens in the Medieval Age presents an overview of the period with essays on issues of design, types of gardens, planting, use and reception, issues of meaning, verbal and visual representation of gardens, and the relationship of gardens to the larger landscape.
The Middle Ages were a time of great innovation, artistic vigor, and cultural richness. Appearances mattered a great deal during this vibrant era and hair was a key marker of the dynamism and sophistication of the period. Hair became ever more central to religious iconography, from Mary Magdalen to the Virgin Mary, while vernacular poets embellished their verses with descriptions of hairstyles both humble and elaborate, and merchants imported the finest hair products from great distances.
Drawing on a wealth of visual, textual, and object sources, the volume examines how hairstyles and their representations developed—often to a degree of dazzling complexity—between the years AD 800 and AD 1450. From wimpled matrons and tonsured monks to adorned noblewomen, hair is revealed as a potent cultural symbol of gender, age, sexuality, health, class, and race.
Illustrated with approximately 80 images, A Cultural History of Hair in the Middle Ages brings together leading scholars to present an overview of the period with essays on politics, science, religion, fashion, beauty, the visual arts, and popular culture.
In 500, the legal order in Europe was structured around ancient customs, social practices and feudal values. By 1500, the effects of demographic change, new methods of farming and economic expansion had transformed the social and political landscape and had wrought radical change upon legal practices and systems throughout Western Europe. A Cultural History of Law in the Middle Ages explores this change and the rich and varied encounters between Christianity and Roman legal thought which shaped the period. Evolving from a combination of religious norms, local customs, secular legislations, and Roman jurisprudence, medieval law came to define an order that promoted new forms of individual and social representation, fostered the political renewal that heralded the transition from feudalism to the Early Modern state and contributed to the diffusion of a common legal language.
Drawing upon a wealth of textual and visual sources, A Cultural History of Law in the Middle Ages presents essays that examine key cultural case studies of the period on the themes of justice, constitution, codes, agreements, arguments, property and possession, wrongs, and the legal profession.
Historians of sexuality have often assumed that medieval people were less interested in sex than we are. But people in the Middle Ages wrote a great deal about sex: in confessors’ manuals, in virginity treatises, and in literary texts. This volume looks afresh at the cultural meanings that sex had throughout the period, presenting new evidence and offering new interpretations of known material. Acknowledging that many of the categories that we use today to talk about sexuality are inadequate for understanding sex in premodern times, the volume draws on important recent work in the historiography of medieval sexuality to address the conceptual and methodological challenges the period presents.
A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Middle Ages presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.
A Cultural History of Theatre in the Middle Ages provides a comprehensive and interdisciplinary overview of the cultural history of theatre between 500 and 1500. Drawing together contributions from leading scholars, this volume imaginatively pieces together the puzzle of medieval theatre. Each chapter takes a different theme as its focus, including institutional frameworks; social functions; sexuality and gender; the environment of theatre; circulation; interpretations; communities of production; repertoire and genres; technologies of performance, and knowledge transmission.
The Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities of medieval western Europe conceived of the human body in manifold ways. The body was not a fixed or unmalleable mass of flesh, but an entity that changed its character depending on its age, its interactions with its environment, and its diet. For example, a slave would have been marked by her language, her name, her religion, or even by a sign burned onto her skin, not by her color alone.
Covering the period from 500 to 1500 and using sources that range across the full spectrum of medieval literary, scientific, medical, and artistic production, this volume explores the rich variety of medieval views of both the real and the metaphorical body.
A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Medieval Age presents an overview of the period with essays on the centrality of the human body in birth and death, health and disease, sexuality, beauty and concepts of the ideal, bodies marked by gender, race, class and disease, cultural representations and popular beliefs, and self and society.
Understanding the senses is indispensable for comprehending the Middle Ages because both a theoretical and a practical involvement with the senses played a central role in the development of ideology and cultural practice in this period. For the long medieval millennium, the senses were not limited to the five we think of: speech, for example, was categorized among the senses of the mouth. And sight and hearing were not always the dominant senses: for the medical profession, taste was more decisive. Nor were the senses only passive receptors: they were understood to play an active role in the process of perception and were also a vital element in the formation of each individual’s moral identity.
From the development of specifically urban or commercial sensations to the sensory regimes of holiness, from the senses as indicators of social status revealed in food to the Scholastic analysis of perception, this volume demonstrates the importance of sensory experience and its manifold interpretations in the Middle Ages.
A Cultural History of the Senses in the Middle Ages presents essays on the following topics: the social life of the senses; urban sensations; the senses in the marketplace; the senses in religion; the senses in philosophy and science; medicine and the senses; the senses in literature; art and the senses; and sensory media.
Matthew Gabriele, Carlos Noreña, Matthew Gabriele, Ania Loomba, Ian Coller, Kirsten McKenzie and Patricia Lorcin
This volume explores a world that thought deeply about imperial power and emperors but one that perhaps never had an “empire” of its own. These synthetic essays from experts across a wide variety of disciplines mine the intellectual world of this period and begin to demolish the myth of the so-called “Dark Ages,” showing how the European Middle Ages were illuminated by vigorous debates that echo today. The story of medieval Western empires is both familiar and foreign. It is a story about politics, culture, religion, society, gender, sex, and economics, and how porous the boundaries between those categories can often be.
A Cultural History of Western Empires in the Middle Ages offers a detailed and highly-illustrated account of how we got to where we are, as well as the dangers of not fully understanding why those origins matter.
The medieval era has been described as ‘the ‘Age of Chivalry’ and ‘the Age of Faith’ but also as ‘the Dark Ages’. Medieval women have often been viewed as subject to a punishing misogyny which limited their legal rights and economic activities, but some scholars have claimed they enjoyed a ‘rough and ready equality’ with men. The contrasting figures of Eve and the Virgin Mary loom over historians’ interpretations of the period 1000-1500. Yet a wealth of recent historiography goes behind these conventional motifs, showing how medieval women’s lives were shaped by status, age, life-stage, geography and religion as well as by gender.
A Cultural History of Women in the Middle Ages presents essays on medieval women’s life cycle, bodies and sexuality, religion and popular beliefs, medicine and disease, public and private realms, education and work, power, and artistic representation to illustrate the diversity of medieval women's lives and constructions of femininity.
Work was central to medieval life. Religious and secular authorities generally expected almost everyone to work. Artistic and literary depictions underlined work’s cultural value. The vast majority of medieval people engaged in agriculture because it was the only way they could obtain food. Yet their work led to innovations in technology and production and allowed others to engage in specialized labor, helping to drive the growth of cities. Many workers moved to seek employment and to improve their living conditions. For those who could not work, charity was often available, and many individuals and institutions provided forms of social welfare. Guilds protected their members and created means for the transmission of skills. When they were not at work, medieval Christians were to meet their religious obligations yet many also enjoyed various pastimes. A consideration of medieval work is therefore one of medieval society in all its creativity and complexity.
How did medieval hermits survive on their self-denying diet? What did they eat, and how did unethical monks get around the rules? The Egyptian hermit Onuphrios was said to have lived entirely on dates, and perhaps the most famous of all hermits, John the Baptist, on locusts and wild honey. Was it really possible to sustain life on so little food?
The history of monasticism is defined by the fierce and passionate abandonment of the ordinary comforts of life, the most striking being food and drink. A Hermit’s Cookbook opens with stories and pen portraits of the Desert Fathers of early Christianity and their followers who were ascetic solitaries, hermits and pillar-dwellers. It proceeds to explore how the ideals of the desert fathers were revived in both the Byzantine and western traditions, looking at the cultivation of food in monasteries, eating and cooking, and why hunting animals was rejected by any self-respecting hermit. Full of rich anecdotes, and including recipes for basic monk’s stew and bread soup – and many others – this is a fascinating story of hermits, monks, food and fasting in the Middle Ages.
Alfred the Great is a rare historical figure from the early Middle Ages, in that he retains a popular image. This image increasingly suffers from the dead white male syndrome, exacerbated by Alfred’s association with British imperialism and colonialism, so this book provides an accessible reassessment of the famous ruler of Wessex, informed by current scholarship, both on the king as a man in history, and the king as a subsequent legendary construct. Daniel Anlezark presents Alfred in his historical context, seen through Asser’s Life, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, and other texts associated with the king. The book engages with current discussions about the authenticity of attributions to Alfred of works such as the Old English Boethius and Soliloquies, and explores how this ninth-century king of Wessex came to be considered the Great king of legend.
Bertrandon de la Broquière
Bertrandon de la Broquiere was esquire to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. Philip had plans for a new Crusade to the Holy Land and as part of this plan he persuaded Bertrandon to undertake a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to gather intelligence. Bertrandon set off in 1432 disguised as a pilgrim but acting as a spy for Philip, noting important details of the military, political and cultural aspects of Mamluk and Ottoman lands. The resulting account of his travels, translated into English by Thomas Johnes in 1807, provides invaluable information on the region, including the military tactics of the Turks and the early use of gunpowder by the Mamluks. It is also one of the key documents for the history of the Crusades in the late medieval period.
Literary scholars have traditionally understood landscapes, whether natural or manmade, as metaphors for humanity instead of concrete settings for people's actions. This book accepts the natural world as such by investigating how Anglo-Saxons interacted with and conceived of their lived environments. Examining Old English poems, such as Beowulf and Judith, as well as descriptions of natural events from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and other documentary texts, Heide Estes shows that Anglo-Saxon ideologies which view nature as diametrically opposed to humans, and the natural world as designed for human use, have become deeply embedded in our cultural heritage, language, and more.
Human civilization will be forever indebted to the great thinkers of Jewish philosophy's golden age. Moses Maimonedes, Levi Gersonides, Judah Halevi, Saadia Gaon, Hasdai Crescas and their like grappled with some of the most challenging metaphysical issues, while the profundity of their solutions continue to engage philosophers today. Did God create the world? Can human freedom be reconciled with divine foreknowledge? What is the nature of the good life? Focusing on the central philosophical questions of the Middle Ages, Daniel Rynhold offers a concise introduction to topics such as God and creation, human freewill, biblical prophecy, the Commandments, the divine attributes and immortality. Structured around themes that form the common 'syllabus' of medieval Jewish philosophy, each chapter builds a debate around a particular topic and in so doing utilises the arguments of the chief philosophical figures of the medieval era. Explaining all concepts in a clear, non-technical fashion, the book also provides suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter.
The first dedicated textbook to introduce the great richness of medieval Jewish philosophy as a whole, this lively and comprehensive survey is the ideal introduction for undergraduate students of the subject as well as the interested general reader.
Erin V. Abraham
Composed between the sixth and ninth centuries, penitentials were little books of penance that address a wide range of human fallibility. But they are far more than mere registers of sin and penance: rather, by revealing the multiple contexts in which their authors anticipated various sins, they reveal much about the ways those authors and, presumably, their audiences understood a variety of social phenomena. Offering new, more accurate translations of the penitentials than what has previously been available, this book delves into the potentialities addressed in these manuals for clues about less tangible aspects of early medieval history, including the innocence and vulnerability of young children and the relationship between speech and culpability; the links between puberty, autonomy, and moral accountability; early medieval efforts to regulate sexual relationships; and much more.
What did people really believe in the Middle Ages? Much of our sense of the medieval period has come down to us from the writings of the learned: the abbots, priors, magnates, scholastic theologians and others who between them, and across Christendom, controlled the machinery of church and state. For G R Evans too much emphasis has been placed on a governing elite and too little on those – the great mass of the semi-literate and illiterate, and the emergent middle classes – who stood outside the innermost circles of ecclesiastical power, privilege and education. Her book finally gives proper weight to the neglected literature of demotic religion: the lives of saints; writings by those – including lay women – who had mystical experiences; and lively texts containing stories for popular edification. Ranging widely, from the fall of Rome to the ideas of the Reformation, the author addresses vital topics like the appeal of monasticism, the lure of the Crusades, the rise of the friars and the acute crisis of heresy. As Evans reveals, medieval Christianity was shaped above all by its promise of salvation or eternal perdition.
‘Here lies our leader all cut down, the valiant man in the dust.’ The elegiac words of the “Battle of Maldon”, an epic poem written to celebrate the bravery of an English army defeated by Viking raiders in 991, emerge from a diverse literature - including “Beowulf” and “Bede’s Ecclesiastical History” - produced by the people known as the Anglo-Saxons: Germanic tribes who migrated to Britain from Lower Saxony and Denmark in the early fifth century CE. The era once known as the ‘Dark Ages’ was marked by stunning cultural advances, and Henrietta Leyser here offers a fresh analysis of exciting recent discoveries made in the archaeology and art of the Anglo-Saxon world. Arguing that the desperate struggle (led by Alfred the Great) against the Vikings helped define a distinctively English sensibility, the author explores relations with the indigenous British, the Anglo-Saxon conversion to Christianity, the ascendancy of Mercia and the rise of Wessex. This vivid history evokes both the emergent kingdoms of Alfred and Offa and the golden treasures of Sutton Hoo. It will appeal to students of early medieval history and to all those who wish to understand how England was born.
The Byzantine Empire was one of the most impressive imperial adventures in history. It ruled much of Europe and Anatolia for a remarkable eleven hundred years. From Constantine I's establishment of Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) as his capital in 324 CE, until the fall of the city to the Ottomans in 1453, the Byzantine domain became a powerhouse of literature, art, theology, law and learning. Dionysios Stathakopoulos here tells a compelling story of military conquest, alliance and reversal, including the terrifying secret of Greek fire: of a state constantly at war, but not warlike, resorting wherever possible to a sophisticated diplomacy with its neighbours and enemies. Breaking with outdated notions of Byzantium as an unchanging, theocratic state, Stathakopoulos uses the most recent research to explore its political, economic, social and cultural history. He evokes the dynamism of a people whose story is one of astonishing resilience and adaptability; and whose legacy, whether it be the bronze horses of the Hippodrome, or the very term ‘Byzantine’, everywhere endures.
His new short history embraces individuals like Justinian I, the powerful ruler who defeated the Ostrogoths in Italy and oversaw construction of Hagia Sofia (completed in 537); his notorious queen Theodora, a courtesan who rose improbably to the highest office of imperial first lady; the charismatic but cuckolded general Belisarios; and the religious leaders Arius and Athanasios, whose conflicting ideas about Christ and doctrine shook the Empire to its core.
The conflict that swept over France from 1337 to 1453 remains the longest military struggle in history. A bitter dynastic fight between Plantagenet and Valois, The Hundred Years War was fought out on the widest of stages while also creating powerful new nationalist identities. In his vivid new history, Michael Prestwich shows that it likewise involved large and charismatic individuals: Edward III, claimant to the French throne; his son Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince; wily architect of the first French victories, Bertrand du Guesclin; chivalric hero Jean Boucicaut; inspirational leader Henry V, unlikely winner at Agincourt (1415), who so nearly succeeded in becoming King of France; and the martyred Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc, thought to be divinely inspired. Offering an up-to-date analysis of military organization, strategy and tactics, including the deadly power of English archery, the author explains the wider politics in a masterful account of the War as a whole: from English victory at Sluys (1340) to the turn of the tide and French revival as the invader was driven back across the Channel.
The extraordinary creative energy of Renaissance Italy lies at the root of modern Western culture. In her elegant new introduction, Virginia Cox offers a fresh vision of this iconic moment in European cultural history, when - between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries - Italy led the world in painting, building, science and literature. Her book explores key artistic, literary and intellectual developments, but also histories of food and fashion, map-making, exploration and anatomy. Alongside towering figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Petrarch, Machiavelli and Isabella d'Este, Cox reveals a cast of lesser-known pr otagonists including printers, travel writers, actresses, courtesans, explorers, inventors and even celebrity chefs. At the same time, Italy's rich regional diversity is emphasised; in addition to the great artistic capitals of Florence, Rome and Venice, smaller but cutting-edge centres such as Ferrara, Mantua, Bologna, Urbino and Siena are given their due.
As the author demonstrates, women played a far more prominent role in this exhilarating resurgence than was recognized until very recently - both as patrons of art and literature and as creative artists themselves. 'Renaissance woman', she boldly argues, is as important a legacy as 'Renaissance man'.
The Mongol Empire was the mightiest land empire the world has ever seen. At its height it was twice the size of its Roman equivalent. For a remarkable century and a half it commanded a population of 100 million people, while the rule of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan marched undefeated from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea. George Lane argues that the Mongols were not only subjugators who swept all before them but one of the great organising forces of world history. His book traces the rise of the Great Khan in 1206 to the dissolution of the empire in 1368 by the Ming Dynasty. He discusses the unification of the Turko-Mongol tribes under Chinggis’ leadership; the establishment of a vigorous imperium whose Pax Mongolica held mastery over the Central Asian steppes; imaginative policies of religious pluralism; and the rich legacy of the Toluid Empire of Yuan China and Ilkhanate Iran. Offering a bold and sympathetic understanding of Mongol history, the author shows that commercial expansion, cultural assimilation and dynamic political growth were as crucial to Mongol success as desire for conquest.
The Battle of Hastings in 1066 is the one date forever seared on the British national psyche. It enabled the Norman Conquest that marked the end of Anglo-Saxon England. But there was much more to the Normans than the invading army Duke William shipped over from Normandy to the shores of Sussex. How a band of marauding warriors established some of the most powerful dominions in Europe - in Sicily and France, as well as England - is an improbably romantic idea. In exploring Norman culture in all its regions, Leonie V Hicks is able to place the Normans in the full context of early medieval society. Her wide ranging comparative perspective enables the Norman story to be told in full, so that the societies of Rollo, William, Robert (Guiscard) and Roger are given the focused attention they deserve. From Hastings to the martial exploits of Bohemond and Tancred on the First Crusade; from castles and keeps to Romanesque cathedrals; and from the founding of the Kingdom of Sicily (1130) to cross-cultural encounters with Byzantines and Muslims, this is a fresh and lively survey of one of the most popular topics in European history.
The Wars of the Roses (c. 1455-1487) are renowned as an infamously savage and tangled slice of English history. A bloody thirty-year struggle between the dynastic houses of Lancaster and York, they embraced localised vendetta (such as the bitter northern feud between the Percies and Nevilles) as well as the formal clash of royalist and rebel armies at St Albans, Ludford Bridge, Mortimer's Cross, Towton, Tewkesbury and finally Bosworth, when the usurping Yorkist king, Richard III, was crushed by Henry Tudor. Powerful personalities dominate the period: the charismatic and enigmatic Richard III, immortalized by Shakespeare; the slippery Warwick, the Kingmaker', who finally over-reached ambition to be cut down at the Battle of Barnet; and guileful women like Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret of Anjou, who for a time ruled the kingdom in her husband's stead. David Grummitt places the violent events of this complex time in the wider context of fifteenth-century kingship and the development of English political culture. Never losing sight of the traumatic impact of war on the lives of those who either fought in or were touched by battle, this captivating new history will make compelling reading for students of the late medieval period and Tudor England, as well as for general readers.
Bede is the inaugural volume in the Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture series, which seeks to comprehensively map British literary culture from 500 to 1100 CE. This volume presents four texts, or fascicles, dedicated to the Venerable Bede (d. 735), theologian and author of the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. Articles provide a wealth of information on Bede through manuscript evidence, medieval library catalogs, citations, and quotations. Using discussions of source relationships, the entries weigh and consider different interpretations of Bede's works and suggest possibilities for future research. Part of an exciting new reference series, this book - and those that follow - will be indispensable to anyone interested in the history and literature of the period.
This newest volume in a long-running work of mapping the sources of Anglo-Saxon literary culture in England from 500 to 1100 CE takes up one of the most important authors of the period, the eighth-century monk-scholar known as the Venerable Bede. Bede is best known as the author of the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, which is one of the key sources for our historical and cultural knowledge of the period; this collection covers that and more, drawing on manuscript evidence, medieval library catalogues, Anglo-Latin and Old English versions, citations, quotations, and more, putting Bede and his work in the context of his period.
This beautifully illustrated book provides an accessible introduction to the medieval manuscript and what it can tell us about the world in which it was made and used. Captured in the materiality of manuscripts are the data enabling us to make sense of the preferences and habits of the individuals who made up medieval society. With short chapters grouped under thematic headings, Books Before Print shows how we may tap into the evidence and explores how manuscripts can act as a vibrant and versatile tool to understand the deep historical roots of human interaction with written information. It highlights extraordinary continuities between medieval book culture and modern-world communication, as witnessed in medieval pop-up books, posters, speech bubbles, book advertisements, and even sticky notes.
Why were virtuous Byzantine women described as manly? Why were boys’ bodies thought to be closer in constitution to those of women than adult men? Did Byzantines think eunuchs were men?
This lively and personal book explains some key aspects of how people of the Medieval Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) conceived of men and women, masculinity and femininity, and proper behaviour for men and women. By laying bare fundamental ideas about how gender was defined and performed, Byzantine Gender enables readers to understand Byzantine society more fully. And by providing background information about Byzantine gender, it makes it easier to approach and appreciate the fascinating otherness of Byzantine culture.
This new edition of Byzantium and the Crusades provides a fully-revised and updated version of Jonathan Harris's landmark text in the field of Byzantine and crusader history.
The book offers a chronological exploration of Byzantium and the outlook of its rulers during the time of the Crusades. It argues that one of the main keys to Byzantine interaction with Western Europe, the Crusades and the crusader states can be found in the nature of the Byzantine Empire and the ideology which underpinned it, rather than in any generalised hostility between the peoples.
Taking recent scholarship into account, this new edition includes an updated notes section and bibliography, as well as significant new additions to the text:
New material on the role of religious differences after 1100
A detailed discussion of economic, social and religious changes that took place in 12th-century Byzantine relations with the west
In-depth coverage of Byzantium and the Crusades during the 13th century
New maps, illustrations, genealogical tables and a timeline of key dates
Byzantium and the Crusades is an important contribution to the historiography by a major scholar in the field that should be read by anyone interested in Byzantine and crusader history.
Cairo of the Mamluks was "a city beyond imagination", wrote the Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun. The Mamluk sultans originated as a slave-based caste who took advantage of the mid-13th century power vacuum to establish themselves as rulers. They designed their capital to be the heart of the Muslim world. It became the focus of their enormous patronage of art and architecture, the stage for their ceremonial rituals, and a memorial to their achievements. This history of Mamluk architecture examines the monuments of the Mamluks in their social, political and urban context during the period of their rule between 1250-1517. The book displays the multiple facets of Mamluk patronage, and also provides a succint discussion of sixty monuments built in Cairo by the Mamluk sultans. This is a richly illustrated volume with colour photographs, plans and isometric drawings. It will form an essential reference work for scholars and students of the art and architecture of the Islamic world as well as art historians and historians of late medieval Islamic history.
Celibate Marriages in Late Antique and Byzantine Hagiography explores the puzzling phenomenon of celibate marriage as depicted in the lives of three couples who achieved sainthood. Marriage without intercourse appears to have no purpose, especially in Christian antiquity, yet these three tales were copied for centuries. What messages were they promoting? What did it mean to be a virgin husband and a virgin wife?
Including full translations, this volume sets each life in its historical context, and by examining their individual and shared themes, the book shows that the tension raised by pitting marriage against celibacy is constantly debated. It also highlights the ingenuity of Byzantine hagiographers as they attempted to reconcile this curious paradox. This book addresses a gap in late Antique and Byzantine hagiographic studies where primary sources and interpretative material are very rarely presented in the same volume. By providing a variety of contexts to the material a much more comprehensive, revealing and holistic picture of celibate marriage emerges.
Our understanding of medieval Central and Eastern Europe is being revitalized by new directions in cultural history. Careful and detailed portraits of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century life in the region shed new light on the city, the court, the school and university, the economy, and prevailing ideas, and expand our vision of the interplay between religion, politics, music and memory. Gorecki and Van Deusen present the region in its intimate relationship with other regions of Europe: the commercial, intellectual, and social networks that naturally connect Poland and its neighbours to centres in Italy, France and Germany, as well as the broad areas of contact, cultural sharing, and similarity of patterns.This book thus contributes to the problem of ‘Europe’ - as a region and as a construct. Offering us nothing less than a new cultural history of the region, “Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages” will be invaluable for scholars working on the cultural, economic and social history of Central and Eastern Europe.
At once scholarly and entertaining, Christ on a Donkey is a study of Palm Sunday processions and related royal entries as both spectacular instances of processional theater and highly charged interpretations of the biblical narrative to which they claim allegiance. Harris’s narrative ranges from ancient Jerusalem to modern-day Bolivia, from imperial white horses to wheeled wooden images of Christ on a donkey, from veneration to iconoclasm, and from Christ to Ivan the Terrible. A curious theme emerges: those embodied representations of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem that were labeled blasphemous, idolatrous, or superstitious by those in power were arguably most faithful to the biblical narrative of Palm Sunday, while those staged with the purpose of exalting those in power and celebrating military triumph were arguably blasphemous pageants.
The roles of popes, saints, and crusaders were inextricably intertwined in the Middle Ages: papal administration was fundamental in the making and promulgating of new saints and in financing crusades, while crusaders used saints as propaganda to back up the authority of popes, and even occasionally ended up being sanctified themselves. Yet, current scholarship rarely treats these three components of medieval faith together. This book remedies that by bringing together scholars to consider the links among the three and the ways that understanding them can help us build a more complete picture of the working of the church and Christianity in the Middle Ages.
With a past as deep and sinewy as the famous River Thames that twists like an eel around the jutting peninsula of Mudchute and the Isle of Dogs, London is one of the world's greatest and most resilient cities. Born beside the sludge and the silt of the meandering waterway that has always been its lifeblood, it has weathered invasion, flood, abandonment, fire and bombing. The modern story of London is well known. Much has been written about the later history of this megalopolis which, like a seductive dark star, has drawn incomers perpetually into its orbit. Yet, as Rory Naismith reveals - in his zesty evocation of the nascent medieval city - much less has been said about how close it came to earlier obliteration.
Following the collapse of Roman civilization in fifth-century Britannia, darkness fell over the former province. Villas crumbled to ruin; vital commodities became scarce; cities decayed; and Londinium, the capital, was all but abandoned. Yet despite its demise as a living city, memories of its greatness endured like the moss and bindweed which now ensnared its toppled columns and pilasters. By the 600s a new settlement, Lundenwic, was established on the banks of the River Thames by enterprising traders who braved the North Sea in their precarious small boats. The history of the city's phoenix-like resurrection, as it was transformed from an empty shell into a court of kings - and favoured setting for church councils from across the land - is still virtually unknown. The author here vividly evokes the forgotten Lundenwic and the later fortress on the Thames - Lundenburgh - of desperate Anglo-Saxon defenders who retreated inside their Roman walls to stand fast against menacing Viking incursions.
Recalling the lost cities which laid the foundations of today's great capital, this book tells the stirring story of how dead Londinium was reborn, against the odds, as a bulwark against the Danes and a pivotal English citadel. It recounts how Anglo-Saxon London survived to become the most important town in England - and a vital stronghold in later campaigns against the Normans in 1066. Revealing the remarkable extent to which London was at the centre of things, from the very beginning, this volume at last gives the vibrant early medieval city its due.
These three volumes represent some of the most important historical sources for medieval Islamic scholarship. Yet the Persian of the original texts is often extremely difficult, even for accomplished scholars. Distinguished linguist and orientalist Wheeler Thackston, here provides lucid, annotated translations that make this key material accessible to a wide range of scholars. Mirzar Haydar’s ‘Tarikh-i-Rashidi’ provides a history of the Khans of Moghulistan, the vast stretch of territory between the ancient cities of Central Asia and Mongolia. Khwandamir’s ‘The Reign of the Mongol and the Turk’, covers the major empires and dynasties of the Persianate world from the 13th to the 16th century, including the conquests of the Mongols, Tamerlane, and the rise of the Safavids. The final volume, written by the grand vizier of the Mongol rulers of Iran, includes a valuable survey of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples, a history of Genghis Khan’s ancestors, and a detailed account of his conquests.
These three volumes represent some of the most important historical sources for medieval Islamic scholarship. Yet the Persian of the original texts is often extremely difficult, even for accomplished scholars. Distinguished linguist and orientalist Wheeler Thackston, here provides lucid, annotated translations that make this key material accessible to a wide range of scholars. Mirzar Haydar's “Tarikh-i-Rashidi” provides a history of the Khans of Moghulistan, the vast stretch of territory between the ancient cities of Central Asia and Mongolia. Khwandamir's “The Reign of the Mongol and the Turk”, covers the major empires and dynasties of the Persianate world from the 13th to the 16th century, including the conquests of the Mongols, Tamerlane, and the rise of the Safavids. The final volume, written by the grand vizier of the Mongol rulers of Iran, includes a valuable survey of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples, a history of Genghis Khan's ancestors, and a detailed account of his conquests.
These three volumes represent some of the most important historical sources for medieval Islamic scholarship. Yet the Persian of the original texts is often extremely difficult, even for accomplished scholars. Distinguished linguist and orientalist Wheeler Thackston, here provides lucid, annotated translations that make this key material accessible to a wide range of scholars. Mirzar Haydar's “Tarikh-i-Rashidi” provides a history of the Khans of Moghulistan, the vast stretch of territory between the ancient cities of Central Asia and Mongolia. Khwandamir's “The Reign of the Mongol and the Turk”, covers the major empires and dynasties of the Persianate world from the 13th to the 16th century, including the conquests of the Mongols, Tamerlane, and the rise of the Safavids. The final volume, written by the grand vizier of the Mongol rulers of Iran, includes a valuable survey of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples, a history of Genghis Khan's ancestors, and a detailed account of his conquests.
This volume and its companion gather a wide range of readings and sources to enable us to see and understand what monsters show us about what it means to be human. The first volume introduces important modern theorists of the monstrous, with a brief introduction to each reading, setting the theorist and theory in context, and providing background and guiding questions. The selection of readings in Classic Readings on Monster Theory is intended to provide interpretive tools and strategies to use to grapple with the primary sources in the second volume – Primary Sources on Monsters – which brings together some of the most influential and indicative monster narratives from the West.
Taken together, these volumes allow us to witness the consistent, multi-millennium strategies the West has articulated, weaponized, and deployed to exclude, disempower, and dehumanize a range of groups and individuals within and without its porous boundaries.
Jonathan Harris’ new edition of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, Constantinople, provides an updated and extended introduction to the history of Byzantium and its capital city. Accessible and engaging, the book breaks new ground by exploring Constantinople's mystical dimensions and examining the relationship between the spiritual and political in the city.
This second edition includes a range of new material, such as:
* Historiographical updates reflecting recently published work in the field
* Detailed coverage of archaeological developments relating to Byzantine Constantinople
* Extra chapters on the 14th century and social 'outsiders' in the city
* More on the city as a centre of learning; the development of Galata/Pera; charitable hospitals; religious processions and festivals; the lives of ordinary people; and the Crusades
* Source translation textboxes, new maps and images, a timeline and a list of emperors
It is an important volume for anyone wanting to know more about the history of the Byzantine Empire.
Dante is one of the towering figures of medieval European literature. Yet many riddles and questions about him persist. By re-reading Dante with an open mind, Barbara Reynolds makes remarkable discoveries and unlocks previously hidden secrets about this greatest of Florentine poets. A fundamental enigma has tantalised readers of the 'Commedia' for seven centuries. Who was the leader prophesied by Virgil and Beatrice to bring peace to the world? Many attempts have been made to identify him, but none has seemed conclusive - until now. As well as proposing a solution to the famous prophecies, this lively, engaging and elegantly-written biography contains a provocative new idea in virtually every chapter. Dante here comes alive as never before: irate, opinionated, settling scores - a man of mutifaceted gifts and extraordinary genius, whose role as an interpreter of world history makes him more than ever relevant to the new millennium. Dr Reynolds' research indicates that Dante may have smoked cannabis to reach new heights of creativity. That Beatrice, Dante's great love, was not who most scholars think she was. That Dante was a talented public speaker, who created a quite new form of poetic art, holding audiences spellbound. Above all, Reynolds views Dante as one of the greatest spin-doctors of Western civilization. His aim was not to preach an interesting parable about punishments for sin and rewards for virtue. It was to use poetry to change the politics of the age, and unite Europe around the secular authority of an Emperor. To promote this idea, which dominated his writings from his exile onwards, Dante combined it with a dramatic presentation of the Christian belief in Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Vividly told in the first person, with a colour and immediacy derived from the pop art of street narrators - now made to seem respectable by its use of classical predecessors like Virgil - this extraordinary journey through the three realms was always profoundly political in intent.
Sheila J. Nayar
Arguing that the consecrated body in the Eucharist is one of the central metaphors structuring The Divine Comedy, this book is the first comprehensive exploration of the theme of transubstantiation across Dante’s epic poem. Drawing attention first to the historical and theological tensions inherent in ideas of transubstantiation that rippled through Western culture up to the early fourteenth century, Sheila Nayar engages in a Eucharistic reading of both the “flesh” allusions and “metamorphosis” motifs that thread through the entirety of Dante’s poem.
From the cannibalistic resonances of the Ugolino episode in the Inferno to the Corpus Christi-like procession seminal to Purgatory, Nayar demonstrates how these sacrifice- and Host-related metaphors, allusions, and tropes lead directly and intentionally to the Comedy’s final vision, that of the Eucharist itself. Arguing that the final revelation in Paradise is analogically “the Bread of Life,” Nayar brings to the fore Christ’s centrality (as sacrament) to The Divine Comedy—a reading that is certain to alter current-day thinking about Dante’s poem.
I.B.Tauris in association with the Iran Heritage Foundation
It proposes a convincing contemporary answer answer to an ages-old mystery and conundrum: why, in the seventh century CE, did the seemingly powerful and secure Sasanian empire of Persia succumb so quickly and disastrously to the all-conquering Arab armies of Islam? Offering an impressive appraisal of the Sasanians' nemesis at the hands of the Arab forces which scythed all before them, the author suggests a bold solution to the enigma. On the face of it, the collapse of the Sasanians - given their strength and imperial power in the earlier part of the century - looks startling and inexplicable. But Professor Pourshariati explains their fall in terms of an earlier corrosion and decline, and as a result of their own internal weaknesses. The decentralised dynastic system of the Sasanian empire, whose backbone was a Sasanian-Parthian alliance, contained the seeds of its own destruction. This confederacy soon became unstable, and its degeneration sealed the fate of a doomed dynasty.
Demons—evil angels or fallen angels—form an inescapable part of the religious and cultural landscape of the European Middle Ages. This book explores their significance across fifteen hundred years of European history, from the North African desert homes of the eremites in the Late Antique period, to the miracle tales of the medieval monasteries of Western Europe, the academic disputes of the Scholastics, and conjuring of necromancers in the later Middle Ages. It argues that for all these groups, demons constituted a necessary part of the cosmic structure, whether by defining a monastic calling, fulfilling a role in God’s properly ordered universe, or holding out the promise of untold wealth and knowledge. By the end of the Middle Ages, however, concern about the impact of demons and their connection with heresy would lead to the witch hunts that would sweep Europe and the New World in the early modern era.
Anna Bentkowska-Kafel and Lindsay MacDonald
In this unique collection the authors present a wide range of interdisciplinary methods to study, document, and conserve material cultural heritage. The methods used serve as exemplars of best practice with a wide variety of cultural heritage objects having been recorded, examined, and visualised. The objects range in date, scale, materials, and state of preservation and so pose different research questions and challenges for digitization, conservation, and ontological representation of knowledge. Heritage science and specialist digital technologies are presented in a way approachable to non-scientists, while a separate technical section provides details of methods and techniques, alongside examples of notable applications of spatial and spectral documentation of material cultural heritage, with selected literature and identification of future research. This book is an outcome of interdisciplinary research and debates conducted by the participants of the COST Action TD1201, Colour and Space in Cultural Heritage, 2012–16 and is an Open Access publication available under a CC BY-NC-ND licence.
Arab messengers played a vital role in the medieval Islamic world and its diplomatic relations with foreign powers. An innovative treatise from the 10th Century ( Rusul al-Muluk, Messengers of Kings) is perhaps the most important account of the diplomacy of the period, and it is here translated into English for the first time. Rusul al-Muluk draws on examples from the Qur'an and other sources which extend from the period of al-jahiliyya to the time of the 'Abbasid caliph al-Mu'tasim (218-227/833-842). In the only medieval Arabic work which exists on the conduct of messengers and their qualifications, the author Ibn al-Farr rejects jihadist policies in favor of quiet diplomacy and a pragmatic outlook of constructive realpolitik. Rusul al-Muluk is an extraordinarily important and original contribution to our understanding of the early Islamic world and the field of International Relations and Diplomatic History.
Why did the Vikings sail to England? Were they indiscriminate raiders, motivated solely by bloodlust and plunder? One narrative, the stereotypical one, might have it so. But locked away in the buried history of the British Isles are other, far richer and more nuanced, stories; and these hidden tales paint a picture very different from the ferocious pillagers of popular repute. Eleanor Parker here unlocks secrets that point to more complex motivations within the marauding army that in the late ninth century voyaged to the shores of eastern England in its sleek, dragon-prowed longships. Exploring legends from forgotten medieval texts, and across the varied Anglo-Saxon regions, she depicts Vikings who came not just to raid but also to settle personal feuds, intervene in English politics and find a place to call home. Native tales reveal the links to famous Vikings like Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons; Cnut; and Havelok the Dane. Each myth shows how the legacy of the newcomers can still be traced in landscape, place-names and local history. This book uncovers the remarkable degree to which England is Viking to its core.
How did Iran remain distinctively Iranian in the centuries which followed the Arab Conquest? How did it retain its cultural distinctiveness after the displacement of Zoroastrianism - state religion of the Persian empire - by Islam? This latest volume in “The Idea of Iran” series traces that critical moment in Iranian history which followed the transformation of ancient traditions during the country’s conversion and initial Islamic period. Distinguished contributors (who include the late Oleg Grabar, Roy Mottahedeh, Alan Williams and Said Amir Arjomand) discuss, from a variety of literary, artistic, religious and cultural perspectives, the years around the end of the first millennium CE, when the political strength of the ‘Abbasid Caliphate was on the wane, and when the eastern lands of the Islamic empire began to be take on a fresh ‘Persianate’ or ‘Perso-Islamic’ character. One of the paradoxes of this era is that the establishment throughout the eastern Islamic territories of new Turkish dynasties coincided with the genesis and spread, into Central and South Asia, of vibrant new Persian language and literatures.
Exploring the nature of this paradox, separate chapters engage with ideas of kingship, authority and identity and their fascinating expression through the written word, architecture and the visual arts.
Saints were powerful role models in the early Middle Ages, capable of defining communities. But what roles did saintly biographies play in shaping the medieval West? Are we any closer to the ‘elusive goal’ of understanding society and its many post-Roman transformations through them? This book provides a new starting point for the investigation of the early Middle Ages through hagiography. It critically examines the varied nature of hagiography in different societies, from Ireland to Germany via Rome and Spain, to help pave the way for future comparative studies. The book also offers a wide-ranging assessment of different modern methodologies used to interrogate hagiographies, from early twentieth-century source criticism, to the insights gained from gender studies, postmodernism and digital humanities.
The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries saw a marked increase in the availability of elementary and grammar education in Europe. In France, that rise took the form of a unique blend of trends also seen elsewhere in Europe, ranging from Church-dominated schools to independent schools and communal groups of teachers. Lyon, long a crossroad of ideas from north and south, was home to a particularly interesting blend of approaches, and in this book Sarah Lynch offers a close analysis of the educational landscape of the city, showing how schools and teachers were organised and how they interacted with each other and with ecclesiastical and municipal authorities.
This book sets out to answer the question of why Eastern Church writers showed no interest in analytical reasoning – the so-called “intellectual silence” of Rus’ culture – while Western Church writers, by the time of the Scholastics, routinely incorporated analytical reasoning into their defences of the faith. Donald Ostrowski suggests that Western, post-Enlightenment-trained, analytical scholars miss the point, not because of an inability to comprehend cultural ideas which seem abstract and ineffable, but because the agenda is different. For the Eastern Church, faith was superior to reason. Eastern Church thinkers did not see any worth in disputation. If God is a mystery, and this world is an emanation from God, then this world is a mystery too. In the Eastern Church, they did not ask “Why” because, for them, any answer, any explanation, was merely a begging of the question. Why divide into categories what is whole and seamless? Why try to articulate what is ineffable?
Abu ‘Ali Al-Muhassin Ibn ‘Ali Al-Tanukhi
Stories of court life, money, torture, swindles, sex, dreams and disease, combine the comic with the sinister and bizarre. Always entertaining, and told with wit and eloquence, the result is a wonderful first-person account of everyday life in medieval Baghdad and its surroundings. This two volume set includes translations of sections of Tankukhi's manuscript that only came to light at a later date and which are both little known and rare. This unique set contains a new introduction by one of the leading scholars of the Middle East, Robert Irwin.
Everyday Life in Medieval England captures the day-to-day experience of people in the middle ages - the houses and settlements in which they lived, the food they ate, their getting and spending - and their social relationships. The picture that emerges is of great variety, of constant change, of movement and of enterprise. Many people were downtrodden and miserably poor, but they struggled against their circumstances, resisting oppressive authorities, to build their own way of life and to improve their material conditions. The ordinary men and women of the middle ages appear throughout. Everyday Life in Medieval England is an outstanding contribution to both national and local history.
Val Dufeu here reconstructs settlement patterns of fishing communities in Viking Age Iceland and proposes socio-economic and environmental models relevant to any study of the Vikings or the North Atlantic. She integrates written sources, geoarchaeological data, and zooarchaeological data to examine how fishing propelled political change in the North Atlantic. The evolution of survival fishing to internal fish markets to overseas fish trade mirrors wider social changes in the Vikings’ world.
The way that we have perceived, described, and understood sexual desire has changed dramatically over time and across cultures. This collection brings together a group of experts from a variety of disciplines to explore the history of sexual desires and the transformation of sexual ideas, attitudes, and practices in premodern Europe. Among the topics considered are the visibility of sexual offenses and the construction of passions; the geographical range extends to Great Britain, with extended attention also to France as well as Northern and Eastern Europe. The result is a groundbreaking volume that adds significantly to our understanding of premodern European history, history of sexualities, gender studies, religious history, and many other fields.
Maged S. A. Mikhail
The conquest of Egypt by Islamic armies under the command of Amr ibn al-As in the seventh century transformed medieval Egyptian society. Seeking to uncover the broader cultural changes of the period by drawing on a wide array of literary and documentary sources, Maged Mikhail stresses the cultural and institutional developments that punctuated the histories of Christians and Muslims in the province under early Islamic rule. From Byzantine to Islamic Egypt traces how the largely agrarian Egyptian society responded to the influx of Arabic and Islam, the means by which the Coptic Church constructed its sectarian identity, the Islamisation of the administrative classes and how these factors converged to create a new medieval society. The result is a fascinating and essential study for scholars of Byzantine and early Islamic Egypt.
Using the idea of “performative essentialism,” meaning that gender in the Middle Ages was both a product of and a reaction to biology, social roles, and personal actions, Gender in Medieval Culture explores the roles men and women fulfilled in medieval Europe, while also suggesting that these functions were often surprisingly flexible. Although most facets of medieval life, including the law, literature, science, and religion, worked together to ensure that the natural state of woman was a fundamentally lesser being than man, there were exceptional situations where gender became fluid or malleable. For instance, when a woman chose a life of vowed virginity, rejecting the traditional female role of motherhood, she transcended the confines of her flesh, and performed in a rational masculine manner instead. Similarly, Christ was equally constructed as the ideal man and spouse, yet was also the ultimate model of perpetual virginity and was deemed maternal for his suffering for and nurturing of humanity. Ultimately, this volume examines the medieval world through the lens of gender and sexuality in order to create a fuller understanding of the gendered expectations we still live with today.
A History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria presents a series of biographies of the Coptic patriarchs from the beginning (St Mark) to 849 AD. Ascribed to Sawirus b. Al-Muqaffa (died 987), Bishop of Hermopolis Magna in Upper Egypt, many are in fact older Coptic works translated into Arabic and edited by Sawirus. The events recorded, which include the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the overthrow of the last Umayad ruler Marwan II, Arab-Christian relations, histories of the various countries, are often based upon eyewitness accounts by contemporary authors. As such they provide an essential source for the religious, economic and social life of Egypt in the early Islamic period. This important text remains unavailable even in many libraries. This edition contains both the Arabic text and the English translation of B. Evetts, together with an Introduction by leading contemporary scholar Hugh Kennedy.
Stephanie L. Hathaway and David W. Kim
This volume presents evidence of the extent and effects of intercultural contacts across Europe and the Mediterranean rim, opening up a new understanding of early medieval civilisation and its continuing influence in both Western and Eastern cultures today. From the perspectives of textual transmission, cultural memory, religion, art and cultural traditions, this work explores the central question of how ideas travelled in the medieval world, challenging the conventional notion of insular communities in the Middle Ages. Despite the schism between East and West that took hold after the thirteenth century this volume reveals a rich and extensive cultural exchange and demonstrates that transmission of ideas and culture across borders began much earlier than the Crusades. It contributes to new perspectives on medieval cities, Christian Europe’s history with the Byzantine and Islamic Mediterranean, the landscape of power and the power-plays of the medieval Church, and the way in which cross-cultural transmission affected all of these areas.
Andrew Fear and Jamie Wood
Isidore of Seville (560–636) was a crucial figure in the preservation and sharing of classical and early Christian knowledge. His compilations of the works of earlier authorities formed an essential part of monastic education for centuries. Due to the vast amount of information he gathered and its wide dissemination in the Middle Ages, Pope John Paul II even named Isidore the patron saint of the Internet in 1997. This volume represents a cross section of the various approaches scholars have taken toward Isidore’s writings. The essays explore his sources, how he selected and arranged them for posterity, and how his legacy was reflected in later generations’ work across the early medieval West. Rich in archival detail, this collection provides a wealth of interdisciplinary expertise on one of history’s greatest intellectuals.
Islamic Jerusalem has a special place in the hearts of the three monotheistic religions. Throughout its history it has been the site of tolerance and tensions. Islamic Jerusalem and its Christians presents a critical look at historical events during the time of two key figures in the history of Islam: firstly Caliph 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, who played a critically important role in the birth and spread of Islam. Secondly Sultan Salah al-Din, the legendary 'Saladdin' of Western Crusader lore, whose peace negotiations with Richard the Lion-Heart, King of England Abu Munshar brings to life here. This pioneering study uses extensive original research to explore Muslim treatment of non-Muslims in the 7th Century and in the Middle Ages. A valuable source of reference for all interested in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, Religion and Medieval History, Islamic Jerusalem and its Christians establishes and develops new evidence for academic debate.
King Arthur: the very name summons visions of courtly chivalry and towering castles, of windswept battlefields and heroic quests, and above all of the charismatic 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, the spellcasters and mistresses of magic who wield extraordinary influence over Arthur’s life and destiny, bestriding the Camelot mythology with a dark and brooding presence. Carolyne Larrington brings these dangerous women vibrantly to life. Here is Morgan-le-Fay, a complex sorceress of great cunning and skill, immortalised by Helen Mirren’s Morgana in John Boorman’s film “Excalibur”. Here too are the mystical Lady of the Lake; the beguiling Viviane, Merlin’s deadly nemesis; and Morgause, Queen of Orkney, mother to Mordred, Arthur’s incestuously-conceived son and his bitterest foe.
Echoing the search for the Grail by the knights of the Round Table, Larrington takes her readers on an intriguing quest of her own - to discover why Arthurian enchantresses continue to bewitch us. Her journey takes in the enchantresses as they appear in poetry and painting, in politics and the theatre, on the Internet and TV, in high culture and popular culture. Whether they be chaste or depraved, necrophiliacs or virgins, benevolent or filled with hatred, the enchantresses represent a strain of femininity which continually challenges male chivalric values from within. These women are survivors. They outlive the collapse of Camelot and all it stands for. And it is as archetypal manifestations of the feared, uncontainable Other that they continue to inspire admiration, fright and fascination in equal measure. King Arthur’s Enchantresses makes a unique contribution to contemporary writing on the Arthurian myths. It will intrigue and delight anyone with an interest in mythology, religion, cultural history and medieval literature.
Law has been a primary locus and vehicle of contact across human history—as a system of ideas embodied in people and enacted on bodies; and also as a material, textual, and sensory “thing.” The seven essays gathered here analyze a variety of legal encounters on the medieval globe, ranging from South Asia to South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Contributors uncover the people behind and within legal systems and explore various material expressions of law that reveal the complexity and intensity of cross-cultural contact in this pivotal era. Topics include comparative jurisprudence, sumptuary law, varieties of punishment, forms of documentation and legal knowledge, religious law, and encounters between imperial and indigenous legal systems. A featured source preserves an Ethiopian king's legislation against traffic in Christian slaves, resulting from the intensifying African slave trade of the sixteenth century.
Long before the European Renaissance, while the western world was languishing in what was once called the 'Dark Ages', the Arab world was ablaze with the knowledge, invention and creativity of its Golden Age. This is the story of how Islamic science, which began with the translation of Greek manuscripts into Arabic in eighth-century Baghdad, preserved and enhanced the knowledge acquired from Greece, Mesopotamia, India and China. Through the astrologers, physicians, philosophers, mathematicians and alchemists of the Muslim world, this knowledge was carried from Samarkand and Baghdad to Cordoba and beyond, influencing western thinkers from Thomas Aquinas and Copernicus and helping to inspire the cultural phenomenon of the Renaissance. John Freely tells this spellbinding story against a background of the melting pot of cultures involved and concludes with the decline of Islam's Golden Age, which led the West to forget the debt it owed to the Muslim world and the influence of medieval Islamic civilisation in forging the beginnings of modern science.
Treason and magic were first linked together during the reign of Edward II. Theories of occult conspiracy then regularly led to major political scandals, such as the trial of Eleanor Cobham Duchess of Gloucester in 1441. While accusations of magical treason against high-ranking figures were indeed a staple of late medieval English power politics, they acquired new significance at the Reformation when the ‘superstition’ embodied by magic came to be associated with proscribed Catholic belief. Francis Young here offers the first concerted historical analysis of allegations of the use of magic either to harm or kill the monarch, or else manipulate the course of political events in England, between the fourteenth century and the dawn of the Enlightenment. His book addresses a subject usually either passed over or elided with witchcraft: a quite different historical phenomenon. He argues that while charges of treasonable magic certainly were used to destroy reputations or to ensure the convictions of undesirables, magic was also perceived as a genuine threat by English governments into the Civil War era and beyond.
By the end of the fifth century, the Western Roman Empire had structurally collapsed. Western Europe is depicted as having fallen into the ‘Dark Ages’ as the visible power of the Roman Empire declined. The Christian Church emerged to fill that vacuum. This rise of the Church alongside the Germanic kingdoms led to dramatic changes in law, politics, power, and culture. Against this backdrop, the family became a vitally important focus for cultural struggles concerning morality, law, and tradition. This book centres on the family as a fundamental social unit, examining cultural changes surrounding marriage, parenthood, abortion, divorce, and sex during this contentious period. Through the family, it demonstrates the intersections between Roman legal culture, Christian thought, and political power in shaping not just the family of the ‘Dark Ages’ but also the traditional family in the contemporary West.
With contributions from 29 leading international scholars, this is the first single-volume guide to the appropriation of medieval texts in contemporary culture.
Medieval Afterlives in Contemporary Culture covers a comprehensive range of media, including literature, film, TV, comics book adaptations, electronic media, performances, and commercial merchandise and tourism. Its lively chapters range from Spamalot to the RSC, Beowulf to Merlin, computer games to internet memes, opera to Young Adult fiction and contemporary poetry, and much more.
Canon law is an unavoidable theme for medieval historians. It intersects with every aspect of medieval life and society, and at one point or another, every medievalist works on the law. In this book, Kriston Rennie looks at the early medieval origins and development of canon law though a social history framework, with a view to making sense of a rich and complex legal system and culture, and an equally rich scholarly tradition.
It was in the early Middle Ages that the ancient traditions, norms, customs, and rationale of the Church were shaped into legislative procedure. The structures and rationale behind the law’s formulation—its fundamental purpose, reason for existence and proliferation, and methods of creation and collection—explain how the medieval Church and society was influenced and controlled. They also, as this short book argues, explain how it ultimately functioned.
From the political dissolution of the Abbasid Caliphate in the mid-ninth century to the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Persianate dynasties of Islamic Central Asia constituted the political and military stronghold of Sunni Islam. It was in this region, historically known as Khurasan and Transoxiana, that many of the important religious and cultural developments of Islamic civilisation took place. The region first gave rise to the Abbasid Revolution, provided the troops for its success, and supplied the military slaves and auxiliaries that led to its political dissolution. From the second part of the ninth century and for the ensuing 400 years, the Sunni Persianate dynasties formed the mainstay of Islamic military might over the Islamic heartland, from India to Egypt. The period was also characterised by the cultural dominance of the Persian-speaking court, bringing about the acceptance of classical Persian as the second primary Islamic language of high culture. It produced the writing of many of Islamic civilisation s greatest works of poetry, philosophy, biography, history, belles-lettres and religion, in both Arabic and Persian. This volume explores the origins and nature of this cultural and political authority and sheds light on one of the most formative yet unexplored eras of Islamic history.
This book explores medieval cityscapes within the modern urban environment, using place as a catalyst to forge connections between past and present, and investigating timely questions concerning theoretical approaches to medieval urban heritage, as well as the presentation and interpretation of that heritage for public audiences. Written by a specialist in literary and cultural history with substantial experience of multi-disciplinary research into medieval towns, Medieval Cityscapes Today teases out stories and strata of meaning from the urban landscape, bringing techniques of close reading to the material fabric of the city, as well as textual artefacts associated with it. Deriving from the author’s own experience in urban regeneration and heritage interpretation projects, case studies — such as the development of a public art installation at a medieval ruin site and the development of a pavement marker trail — provide ways into exploring broader questions about relationships between the medieval and modern city.
The election of fringe political parties on the far and extreme right across Europe since spring 2014 has brought the political discourse of “old Europe” and “tradition” to the foreground. Writers and politicians on the right have called for the reclamation, rediscovery, and return of the spirit of national identities rooted in the medieval past. Though the “medieval” is often deployed as a stigmatic symbol of all that is retrograde, against modernity, and barbaric, the medieval is increasingly being sought as a bedrock of tradition, heritage, and identity. Both characterizations – the medieval as violent other and the medieval as vital foundation – are mined and studied in this book. It examines contemporary political uses of the Middle Ages to ask why the medieval continues to play such a prominent role in the political and historical imagination today.
This book asks readers to re-examine their view of the Islamic world and the development of sectarianism in the Middle East by shining a light on the complexity and diversity of early Islamic society. The focus here is on the tenth century, a period in Middle Eastern history that has often been referred to as the “Shi’i Century,” when two Shi’i dynasties rose to power: the Fatimids of North Africa and the Buyids of Iraq and Iran. Historians often call the period after the Shi’i Century the “Sunni Revival” because that was when Sunni control was restored, but these terms present a misleading image of a unified medieval Islam that was predominately Sunni. While Sunni Islam eventually became politically and numerically dominant, Sunni and Shi’i identities took centuries to develop as independent communities. When modern discussions of sectarianism in the Middle East reduce these identities to a 1400-year war between Sunnis and Shi’is, we create a false narrative.
This book is called a manifesto because it has an unapologetically political objective. Richard Utz wants to help reform the way we think about and practise our academic engagement with medieval culture, and he uses his own observations as a medievalist and medievalism-ist over the last twenty-five years to offer ways in which we might reconnect with the general public that has allowed us to become, since the late nineteenth century, a rather exclusive clan of specialists who communicate mostly with each other. The traditional academic study of the Middle Ages, after more than a century of growing and plateauing, is now on the decline. While, at least over the next five to ten years, we will still be basking in the reassuring proximity (at conferences) of thousands of others who are involved in what we do ourselves, there is a manifest discrepancy between the large number of students who request that we address their love of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and medieval-themed video and computer games, and the decreasing number of actual medievalists hired to replace retiring colleagues. We should pursue more lasting partnerships with so-called amateurs and enthusiasts for the sake of a sustainable future engagement with medieval culture. Richard Utz suggests some ways we might do this, and looks forward to “a more truly co-disciplinary, inclusive, democratic, and humanistic engagement with what we call, for better or worse, the Middle Ages”.
This book provides an account of the archaeology of medieval monastic houses throughout Great Britain and Ireland. The application of a wide range of archaeological techniques, allied to historical investigation, has awakened interest in monasteries. Important new sources of information have transformed knowledge of monastic life. As well as discussing many of the advances made by research over the last two decades, innovative methods of archaeological investigation are described, and examples of good practice in the preservation of sites and their interpretation to visitors are provided.
Suggestions for further research, examples of outstanding monastic sites to visit, a glossary of terms, a comprehensive bibliography and an index are also included.
This ground-breaking book brings theoretical perspectives from twenty-first century media, film, and cultural studies to medieval hagiography. Medieval Saints and Modern Screens stakes the claim for a provocative new methodological intervention: consideration of hagiography as media. More precisely, hagiography is most productively understood as cinematic media. Medieval mystical episodes are made intelligible to modern audiences through reference to the filmic - the language, form, and lived experience of cinema. Similarly, reference to the realm of the mystical affords a means to express the disconcerting physical and emotional effects of watching cinema. Moreover, cinematic spectatorship affords, at times, a (more or less) secular experience of visionary transcendence: an ‘agape-ic encounter’. The medieval saint’s visions of God are but one pole of a spectrum of visual experience which extends into our present multi-media moment. We too conjure godly visions: on our smartphones, on the silver screen, and on our TVs and laptops. This book places contemporary pop-culture media - such as blockbuster movie The Dark Knight, Kim Kardashian West’s social media feeds, and the outputs of online role-players in Second Life - in dialogue with a corpus of thirteenth-century Latin biographies, ‘Holy Women of Liège’. In these texts, holy women see God, and see God often. Their experiences fundamentally orient their life, and offer the women new routes to knowledge, agency, and belonging. For the holy visionaries of Liège, as with us modern ‘seers’, visions are physically intimate, ideologically overloaded spaces. Through theoretically informed close readings, Medieval Saints and Modern Screens reveals the interconnection of decidedly ‘old’ media - medieval textualities - and artefacts of our 'new media' ecology, which all serve as spaces in which altogether human concerns are brought before the contemporary culture's eyes.
Matthew Evan Davis, Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel and Ece Turnator
This book looks at the intersection between medieval studies and digital humanities, confronting how medievalists negotiate the “virtual divide” between the cultural artefacts that they study and the digital means by which they address those artefacts. The essays come from medievalists who have created digital resources or applied digital tools and methodologies in their scholarship. Text encoding and analysis, data modeling and provenance, and 3D design are all discussed as they apply to western European medieval literature, history, art history, and architecture.
The volume examines the importance of combining the use of digital tools and methodologies with traditional close reading techniques and explores the physicality of the medieval manuscript and its digital analogue. Within the framework of digital humanities the book covers a host of significant issues that the academy and GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) institutions face together, such as differences in models of information organization, metadata standards, and the “lossiness” of the connections between those standards.
Moving with the Magdalen is the first art-historical book dedicated to the cult of Mary Magdalen in the late medieval Alps. Its seven case study chapters focus on the artworks commissioned for key churches that belonged to both parish and pilgrimage networks in order to explore the role of artistic workshops, commissioning patrons and diverse devotees in the development and transfer of the saint’s iconography across the mountain range. Together they underscore how the Magdalen’s cult and contingent imagery interacted with the environmental conditions and landscape of the Alps along late medieval routes.
This book explores the co-development of political, social, economic, and artistic networks of Florentines working in the Kingdom of Hungary during the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg. The social network of these politicians, merchants, artisans, royal officers, dignitaries of the Church, and noblemen is the primary focus of the book. Local Florentines constituted an extended network of “friends”; the existing personal connections among them were defined by common political interests, neighborhood proximity, marriage alliances, kinship ties, patronage, and company partnership. Through analysis of the links between these actors, the book addresses questions of the complexity of social ties in early Renaissance Florence, exploring how multiple types of networks shaped the dynamics of public and private spheres. It also seeks to reach more general conclusions about Florentine migration abroad and to envision ways in which early modern migratory groups were formed.
This book re-examines the history of the Carpathian-Danubian region during the eighth and the ninth centuries, to provide a synthetic historical overview of the region to the north of the Lower Danube in this period. Based on a critical and comparative analysis of archaeological, narrative and numismatic sources, the study presents a reconstruction of the socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and political history of the area at a period during which nomadic peoples from the east including the Bulgars, Avars, and Khazars migrated here. The work is based on a comprehensive analysis of narrative and archaeological sources including sites, artefacts, and goods in the basin bordered by the Tisza river in the west, the Danube in the south, and the Dniestr river in the east, covering swathes of modern-day Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, and Hungary.
This book considers evidence for Germanic goddesses in England and on the Continent, and argues that modern scholarship has tended to focus too heavily on the notion of divine functions or spheres of activity, such as fertility or warfare, rather than considering the extent to which goddesses are rooted in localities and social structures - such local religious manifestations are more important to Germanic paganisms than is often supposed, and should caution us against assumptions of pan-Germanic traditional beliefs.
Linguistic and onomastic evidence is not always well integrated into discussions of historical developments in the early Middle Ages, and this book provides both an introduction to the models and methods employed throughout, and a model for further research into the linguistic evidence for traditional beliefs among the Germanic-speaking communities of early medieval Europe.
This book examines the role of the papacy and the crusade in the religious life of the late twelfth through late thirteenth centuries and beyond. Throughout the book, the contributors ask several important questions. Was Innocent III more theologian than lawyer-pope and how did his personal experience of earlier crusade campaigns inform his own vigorous promotion of the crusades? How did the outlook and policy of Honorius III differ from that of Innocent III in crucial areas including the promotion of multiple crusades (including the Fifth Crusade and the crusade of William of Montferrat) and how were both pope’s mindsets manifested in writings associated with them? What kind of men did Honorius III and Innocent III select to promote their plans for reform and crusade? How did the laity make their own mark on the crusade through participation in the peace movements which were so crucial to the stability in Europe essential for enabling crusaders to fulfill their vows abroad and through joining in the liturgical processions and prayers deemed essential for divine favor at home and abroad? Further essays explore the commemoration of crusade campaigns through the deliberate construction of physical and literary paths of remembrance. Yet while the enemy was often constructed in a deliberately polarizing fashion, did confessional differences really determine the way in which Latin crusaders and their descendants interacted with the Muslim world or did a more pragmatic position of ‘rough tolerance’ shape mundane activities including trade agreements and treaties?
Written by scholars who have lived in Rome and specialize in Roman history, religion, and culture, this book is a cross between a tourist guide, scholarly article, and encyclopedia. It is written for travellers in search of inspiration and information as they tour the streets, churches, museums, and monuments of the Roman past.
Combining biographical portraits of some of the Eternal City’s most important historical actors in the worlds of art, religion, and politics with a study of the very monuments, works of art, and urban spaces associated with them, People and Places of the Roman Past offers an informative and insightful look at the human and cultural history of one of the great cities of the world.
R. Todd Godwin
The Xi’an stele, erected in Tang China in 781, describes in both Syriac and Chinese the existence of Christian communities in northern China. Scholars have considered the stele exclusively in relation to the Chinese cultural and historical context, Godwin here demonstrates that it can only be fully understood through the complex connections that existed between the Church of the East, Sasanian aristocratic culture and the Tang Empire. Through close textual re-analysis of the stele and by drawing on ancient sources in Syriac, Greek, Arabic and Chinese, Godwin demonstrates that Tang China was a cosmopolitan milieu where multiple religious traditions, namely Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Christianity, formed zones of elite culture. Syriac Christianity remained powerful in Persia throughout the period, and Christianity – not Zoroastrianism – was officially regarded by the Tang government as ‘The Persian Religion’. Persian Christians at the Chinese Court uncovers the role played by Syriac Christianity in the economic and cultural integration of late Sasanian Iran and China, and is important reading for all scholars of the Church of the East, China and the Middle East in the medieval period.
Over the last decade or two, the field of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies has witnessed the convergence of new perspectives on the history of epidemic diseases. A growing body of scholarship enables us to explore connections between Middle Eastern studies and the histories of medicine and health. This study serves as testimony that the field has reached a certain level of maturity. Contributors to the volume tackle various questions of historiography and sources, test new interdisciplinary methodologies, and ask new questions while revisiting older ones. Essays in the volume discuss diseases that affected human and non-human populations in areas stretching from the Red Sea and Egypt to Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Black Sea, in the early modern and modern eras.
The volume contributes to Ottoman studies, the history of medicine, Mediterranean and European history, as well as global studies on the role of epidemics in history.
This book offers a unique overview on the career and work on Benedict XII, the third pope of Avignon. Benedict XII (ca. 1334–1342) was a key figure of the Avignon papal court, renowned for rooting out heretics and distinguishing himself as a refined theologian. During his reign, he faced the most significant religious and political challenges in the era of the Avignon papacy: theological quarrels, divisions and schisms within the Church, conflicts between European sovereigns, and the growth of Turkish power in the East. In spite of its diminished political influence, the papacy, which had recently moved to France, emerged as an institution committed to the defense and expansion of the Catholic faith in Europe and the East. Benedict made significant contributions to the definition of doctrine, the assessment of pontifical power in Western Europe, and the expansion of Catholicism in the East: in all these different contexts he distinguished himself as a true guardian of orthodoxy.
Elected pope in the wake of a rebellion, Eugenius III came to power as a relative unknown during a time of crisis. This book examines the controversial developments in papal justice and theological debate during his pontificate, his treatment of Cistercian monasteries, his relationships with France, Spain, and Rome, his work in the papal states, and the crusades. It offers a new view of an under-appreciated pope and the place of the church in a rapidly changing European society.
Sheryl McDonald Werronen
A late medieval Icelandic romance about the ‘maiden-king’ of France, Nítíða saga generated interest in its day and grew in popularity in post-Reformation Iceland, yet until now it has not received the comprehensive scholarly analysis that it much deserves. Analysing this saga from a variety of perspectives, this book sheds light on the manner in which Nítíða saga explores and negotiates the romance genre from an Icelandic perspective, showcasing this exciting saga’s strong female characters, worldviews, and long manuscript tradition. Beginning with Nítíða saga’s manuscript context, including its reception and transformation in early modern Iceland, this study also discusses how Nítíða saga was influenced by, and also later influenced, other Icelandic romances. Considering the text as literature, discussion of its unusual depiction of world geography, as well as the various characters and their relationships, provides insights into medieval Icelanders’ ideas about themselves and the world they lived in, including questions about Icelandic identity, gender, female solidarity, and the literary genre of romance itself. The book also includes a newly revised reading edition and translation of Nítíða saga.
Jerry B. Pierce
This is the first study to examine the rise and fall of a medieval religious group, the Order of Apostles, that began with orthodox support but ended in the fires of heresy. Originating in 1260 in Parma the group was founded by Gerard Segarelli who believed that a life of apostolic poverty was the true path of Christian devotion. Segarelli was initially supported by the Church but as his cohort grew in number and fame he was charged with heresy by the powerful Franciscans, was tried, and burnt as a heretic. The Order’s control was assumed by Fra Dolcino who led the Apostles into direct opposition to the Roman Church and was himself executed in 1307.
This is an important study presenting new findings in the history of medieval heresy, as well as placing the Order of Apostles within the larger context of political, economic and social history. By examining the rise and fall of the Apostles Pierce shows the dramatic consequences of the transformation of European society during the high Middle Ages.
Karolina Mroziewicz and Aleksander Sroczyński
Theologians, historians, and jurists interpreted the king and his kingdom as a corporal reality, the body politic. The idea of the monarch as the embodiment of the community emerged from medieval European culture and endured for centuries, leaving a legacy that continues to affect political discourse. Within this book, thirteen essays provide case studies from premodern and contemporary European cultures that demonstrate the process by which political corporations, 'bodies politic', were and continue to be constructed and challenged. Drawing upon the disciplines of history, archaeology, literary criticism, and art history, the contributors to this book survey a wide geographical and chronological spectrum to offer a panoramic view of such dynamic political entities. Taking inspiration from, while simultaneously reassessing, Ernst Kantorowicz's masterpiece, The King's Two Bodies, these contributors urge us to reflect on problems deriving from nationalist discourses, social inequalities, and rigid ideologies.
University courses on monsters are becoming widespread as many disciplines use monsters to think about what it means to be human. To date no source collection on the literature of the monstrous exists, and this volume offers the key primary readings on monsters from ancient times to the present day. Each work is preceded by a critical introduction, reading questions, notes and further reading.
Accompanied by a second volume on primary source material and an instructor's website, this text will prove essential reading for students and scholars alike.
This book intertwines two themes in medieval studies, which so far have never been brought together: comparative studies of Latin and Orthodox Europe and a debate on the “feudal revolution” – the changes that occurred during the transition from Carolingian to post-Carolingian Europe. The book broadens the linguistic and geographical scope of the debate by comparing texts written in “learned” and “vulgar” Latin, Church Slavonic, Anglo-Norman, and East Slavonic, the vernacular of Kievan Rus. From this comparison, the Kingdom of the Rus’ – a terra incognita for most medievalists, generally assumed to be profoundly different from the West –emerges as a regional variation of European society. In particular, the finding that contractual relations, traditionally described in scholarly literature as “feudo-vassalic,” were present in the Kingdom of the Rus suggests that current explanations for the origins of such relations may overemphasize factors unique to the medieval West and overlook deeper pan-European processes.
For earlier medieval Christians, the Bible was the book of guidance above all others, and the route to religious knowledge, used for all kinds of practical purposes, from divination to models of government in kingdom or household. This book’s focus is on how medieval people accessed Scripture by reading, but also by hearing and memorizing sound-bites from the liturgy, chants and hymns, or sermons explicating Scripture in various vernaculars. Time, place and social class determined access to these varied forms of Scripture. Throughout the earlier medieval period, the Psalms attracted most readers and searchers for meanings.
This book’s contributors probe readers’ motivations, intellectual resources and religious concerns. They ask for whom the readers wrote, where they expected their readers to be located and in what institutional, social and political environments they belonged; why writers chose to write about, or draw on, certain parts of the Bible rather than others, and what real-life contexts or conjunctures inspired them; why the Old Testament so often loomed so large, and how its law-books, its histories, its prophetic books and its poetry were made intelligible to readers, hearers and memorizers. This book’s contributors, in raising so many questions, do justice to both uniqueness and diversity.
Study of the migration of motifs, materials, personnel, and finished objects in Eurasia has a long pedigree in medieval art history, and the broadening attention to material culture as an alternative to purely textually based historical accounts has been integral to reshaping the conception of an interconnected medieval world. The growth in debates concerning the concept of “the global” throughout art history, and the more complex picture of Eurasian and African societies and material culture that has emerged in the past two decades has highlighted challenges to traditional art historical narratives, specializations, and scholarly training. And while these problems affect Byzantine, Islamic, Western medieval, and East Asian art history, there has been little conversation among scholars in these fields. A cutting-edge work on global medieval art, this volume offers a starting point for conversations among scholars working on multiple cultural regions.
With a specific focus on travel narratives, this collection looks at how Islamic and eastern cultural threads were weaved, through travel and trading networks, into Western European/Christian visual culture and discourse and, ultimately, into the artistic explosion which has been labeled the "Renaissance." Scholars from across humanities disciplines examine Islamic, Jewish, Spanish, Italian, and English works from a truly comparative and non-parochial perspective, to explore the transfer through travel of cultural and religious values and artistic and scientific practices, from the eleventh to the seventeenth centuries. During this period travel, military conquest and trade through the Mediterranean placed Western European citizens and merchants in contact with Islamic and eastern technology and culture, and travel narratives illustrate the converging and pragmatic dynamics of cultural acceptance. Perhaps the spread of "Renaissance" values and beliefs might have followed a trajectory the reverse of what is generally assumed, and that salient aspects of Renaissance culture traveled from the fringes of Islamic and eastern cultures to the midst of hegemonically Christian polities.
The Bible played a crucial role in shaping Anglo-Saxon national and cultural identity. However, access to Biblical texts was necessarily limited to very few individuals in Medieval England. In this book, Samantha Zacher explores how the very earliest English Biblical poetry creatively adapted, commented on and spread Biblical narratives and traditions to the wider population. Systematically surveying the manuscripts of surviving poems, the book shows how these vernacular poets commemorated the Hebrews as God’s ‘chosen people’ and claimed the inheritance of that status for Anglo-Saxon England. Drawing on contemporary translation theory, the book undertakes close readings of the poems Exodus, Daniel and Judith in order to examine their methods of adaptation for their particular theologico-political circumstances and the way they portray and problematize Judaeo-Christian religious identities.
The Sasanians were the last of the ancient Persian dynasties, and the preeminent practitioners of the Zoroastrian religion. From its foundation by Ardashir I in 224 CE the Sasanian Empire was the dominant force in the region for several centuries until its last king, Yasdegerd III, was defeated by the Muslim Arabs in the 7th century. In this clear and comprehensive new book, Touraj Daryaee provides an unrivalled account of Sasanian Persia. Using new sources, he paints a vivid portrait of the empire's often neglected social history and examines the development of its political and administrative institutions. The author also explores, for the first time in an integrated book on the Sasanians, their descendants' attempts for more than a century after their defeat to establish a second state. Sasanian Persia is a unique examination of a period of history that still has great significance for a full understanding of modern Iran.
The twelfth to thirteenth centuries in Denmark were a time of transition, particularly in the context of the Northern Crusades. The Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish cleric, was for several centuries an official and referential history in Denmark. Initially written under the commission of Archbishop Absolom, its sixteen books are traditionally divided into two parts, arbitrarily called “mythic” (books 1-9) and “historical” (books 10-16). The scheme of the Four Cardinal Virtues, first studied by Kurt Johanesson, provides referential and structural values, while what André Muceniecks terms the theme of the Counselor covers a principal narrative “kernel,” inserted after the previously mentioned values as political conceptions and fundamental ideas. It is not sufficient for the king to be strong; he needs to be wise, and have a wiser man to guide him, here represented by the Archbishopric.
By interweaving this with the context, Muceniecks identifies a defense of hierocratic conceptions, even in books where Christianity is absent. The Gesta also defines a Danish hegemonic project in the Baltic, under guidance from the Archbishopric, grounded in the crusade movements. Such movements are presented through complex language and imagery about a glorious past brought to bear on the projects in the thirteenth century while internal tensions strengthen the monarchic and ecclesiastical institutions.
Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak
By placing medieval sealing practices in a global and comparative perspective, the essays gathered in this volume challenge the traditional understanding of seals as tools of closure and validation in use since the dawn of civilization. Far from being a universal technique, sealing is revealed as a flexible idiom, selectively deployed to mediate entangled identities: the introduction of Buddhism in early medieval China; the Islamization of Sasanian and Byzantine cultures; the balancing of Christian orthodoxy against classical and Muslim science; the development of civic consciousness in Byzantium; the efforts of tradesmen to brand merchandise for export; and the advancement of diplomacy from northern Europe to Indonesia. This examination of documentary seals, archaeologically recovered seal dies, and commercial and conceptual seals from cultures across the medieval world shows how skillful manipulation of their iconography, inscriptions, technology, and metaphorical meanings disseminated information, negotiated influences, asserted hegemony, and forged connections.
Previous scholarship has examined the ethnic identities of Goths, Franks, and other ‘barbarian’ groups in the post-Roman West, but Romans have been relatively neglected. Part of the reason for this lacuna is the assumption that ‘Roman’ continued to denote solely cultural and legal affiliation. In fact, as this book demonstrates, contemporaries also associated Romanness with descent and described Romans just like they described Franks and Goths – whom scholars are perfectly happy to call ‘ethnic groups’. By distinguishing between political, religious, and descent nuances with which authors used the terms ‘Roman’, ‘Goth’, and ‘Frank’, this comparative study tracks changes in the use and perception of these identifications, which allowed Romans in Iberia and Gaul to adopt the Gothic or Frankish identities of their new rulers, one nuance at a time. AUP Catalogue S17 text Traditional scholarship on post-Roman western culture has tended to examine the ethnic identities of Goths, Franks, and similar groups while neglecting the Romans themselves, in part because modern scholars have viewed the concept of being Roman as one denoting primarily a cultural or legal affiliation. As this book demonstrates, however, early medieval ‘Romanness’ also encompassed a sense of belonging to an ethnic group, which allowed Romans in Iberia and Gaul to adopt Gothic or Frankish identities in a more nuanced manner than has been previously acknowledged in the literature.
The Alexiad, written in the twelfth century by a Byzantine princess, Anna Komnene, tells the story of the Byzantine Empire during the reign of her father, offering accounts of its political and military history, including its involvement with the First Crusade. Structure and Features of Anna Komnene’s Alexiad: Emergence of a Personal History introduces new methods of research for studying the Alexiad, aiming primarily at analysing Anna Komnene’s literary expression. The book’s approach focuses mainly on the author, the subject, the structure and the inner stylistic features, as well as the genre itself. The result is a substantially new outlook on the main Byzantine historiographical work of the twelfth century.
He was a ruthless conqueror, feared throughout Asia, Europe and Africa, and a superb military tactician. Yet he was also a patron of the arts and learning and he turned his capital - Samarkand - into a great city. Arabshah’s biography of Tamerlane is that of a contemporary, and was written soon after the events it describes. It is highly detailed and, in contrast to most biographies of Tamerlane, is also highly critical, which makes it especially interesting. It is the major historical source on one of history’s great conquerors. This edition carries a new introduction by a leading scholar.
Teachers of medieval literature help students bridge the temporal, contextual, and linguistic gulfs between the Middle Ages and the twenty-first century. When episodes involving rape are thrown into the mix, that task becomes even more difficult. The essays in this volume approach these difficult texts in ways that are both academically and ethically sound, recognizing that students and teachers bring a variety of experiences to the classroom that necessarily color the reception of a given work. At a time when colleges and universities are tasked with finding new solutions to the problem of sexual violence, this volume proposes ways educators can help students navigate the perceived divide between in- and out-of-class experiences. The contributors—from community colleges, small liberal arts colleges, and large state universities—offer suggestions for classroom activities and assignments for a range of medieval texts, as well as insight into the concerns of students in various settings.
From their ancestral heartland by the shores of the Aral Sea, the medieval Oghuz Turks marched westwards in search of dominion. Their conquests led to control of a Muslim empire that united the territories of the Eastern Islamic world, melded Turkic and Persian influences and transported Persian culture to Anatolia. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries the new Turkic-Persian symbiosis that had earlier emerged under the Samanids, Ghaznavids and Qarakha-nids came to fruition in a period that, under the enlightened rule of the Seljuq dynasty, combined imperial grandeur with remarkable artistic achievement. This latest volume in The Idea of Iran series focuses on a system of government based on Turkic ‘men of the sword’ and Persian ‘men of the pen’ that the Seljuqs (famous foes of the Crusader Frankish knights) consolidated in a form that endured for centuries. The book further explores key topics relating to the innovative Seljuq era, including: conflicted Sunni-Shi’a relations between the Sunni Seljuq Empire and Ismaili Fatimid caliphate; architecture, art and culture; and politics and poetry. Istvan Vasary looks back in Chapter 1 to the early history of the Turks in the wider Iranian world, discussing the debates about the dating and distribution of the early Turkish presence in Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan.
Nizām al-Mulk is the subject of Chapter 2, in which Carole Hillenbrand subjects this ‘maverick vizier’ to critical scrutiny. While paying due credit to his extraordinary achievements, she does not shy away from concluding that his career illustrates the maxim that ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. A fitting antagonist for Nizām al-Mulk is the subject of Chapter 3, in which Farhad Daftary follows the career of the remarkable revolutionary leader Hasan-i Sabbaāh and the history of the Ismaili state-within-a-state that he founded with his capture of the fortress of Alamt in 1090. In Chapter 4 David Durand-Guedy examines the Seljuq Empire from the viewpoint of its (western) capital, Isfahan. He concentrates on the distinction between the parts of Iran to the west of the great deserts (and in close connection to Iraq and Baghdad) and the parts to the east, notably Khorasan, with its ties to Transoxiana and Tokharestan. Vanessa Van Renterghem in Chapter 5 challenges the long-held view that the Seljuq takeover of Baghdad represented a liberation of the Abbasid caliphs from their burden-some subordination to the heretical Buyids.
Alexey Khismatulin in Chapter 6 presents a forensic examination of two important works of literature, casting doubt on the authorship of both the Siyar al-muluāk attributed to Nizaām al-Mulk and the Nasāhat al-muluāk ascribed to al-Ghazaālā. In Chapter 7 Asghar Seyed-Gohrab discusses the poetry of the Ghaznavid and Seljuq periods, demonstrating the poets’ mastery of metaphor and of extended description and riddling to build suspense. The final chapter by Robert Hillenbrand shifts the focus from texts and literature to architecture and to that pre-eminent Seljuq masterpiece, the Friday Mosque of Isfaha.
Christianity in the later Middle Ages was flourishing, popular and vibrant and the institutional church was generally popular - in stark contrast to the picture of corruption and decline painted by the later Reformers which persists even today. Norman Tanner, the pre-eminent historian of the later medieval church, provides a rich and authoritative history of religion in this pivotal period. Despite signs of turbulence and demands for reform, he demonstrates that the church remained powerful, self-confident and deeply rooted. Weaving together key themes of religious history - the Christian roots of Europe; the crusades; the problematic question of the Inquisition; the relationship between the church and secular state; the central role of monasticism; and, the independence of the English church - The Ages of Faith is an impressive tribute to a lifetime's research into this subject. But to many readers the central fascination of The Ages of Faith will be its perceptive insights into popular and individual spiritual experience: sin, piety, penance, heresy, the role of the mystics and even 'making merry'.
The Ages of Faith is a major contribution to the Reformation debate and offers a revealing vision of individual and popular religion in an important period so long obscured by the drama of the Reformation.
This groundbreaking work treats the Christianization of the Anglo-Saxons as a process of religious change and is the first to establish the importance of Christian doctrines and popular intuitions about death and the dead in the transition, focusing on the outbreak of epidemic disease between 664 and 687 as a crucial period for the survival of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England. It analyzes Anglo-Saxon conceptions of the soul and afterlife as well as traditional mortuary rituals, re-interpreting archaeological evidence to argue that the change from furnished to unfurnished burial in the late seventh and early eighth century demonstrates the success of the church's attempts to counter popular fears that the plague was caused by the return of the dead to carry off the living. The study employs ethnographic comparisons and anthropological theory to further our understanding of pagan Anglo-Saxon deities, ritual and ritual practitioners, and also considers the challenges confronting the Anglo-Saxon church, as it faced not only popular attachment to traditional values and beliefs, but also gendered responses to, or syncretistic constructions of, Christianity.
This book is a study of the programmatic oral performance of the written word and its impact on art and text. Communal singing and reading of the Latin texts that formed the core of Christian ritual and belief consumed many hours of the Benedictine monk’s day. These texts-read and sung out loud, memorized, and copied into manuscripts-were often illustrated by the very same monks who participated in the choir liturgy. The meaning of these illustrations sometimes only becomes clear when they are read in the context of the texts these monks heard read. The earliest manuscripts of Cîteaux, copied and illuminated at the same time that the new monastery’s liturgy was being reformed, demonstrate the transformation of aural experience to visual and textual legacy.
The Mongol invasions in the first half of the thirteenth century led to profound and shattering changes to the historical trajectory of Islamic West Asia. As this new volume in The Idea of Iran series suggests, sudden conquest from the east was preceded by events closer to home which laid the groundwork for the later Mongol success. In the mid-twelfth century the Seljuq empire rapidly unravelled, its vast provinces fragmenting into a patchwork of mostly short-lived principalities and kingdoms. In time, new powers emerged, such as the pagan Qara-Khitai in Central Asia; the Khwarazmshahs in Khwarazm, Khorosan and much of central Iran; and the Ghurids to the southeast. Yet all were blown away by the Mongols, who faced no resistance from a sufficiently muscular imperial competitor and whose influx was viewed by contemporaries as cataclysmic. Distinguished scholars including David O Morgan and the late C E Bosworth here discuss the dynasties that preceded the invasion - and aspects of their literature, poetry and science - as well as the conquerors themselves and their rule in Iran from 1219 to 1256.
German historians long assumed that the German Kingdom was created with Henry the Fowler’s coronation in 919. The reigns of both Henry the Fowler, and his son Otto the Great, were studied and researched mainly through Widukind of Corvey’s chronicle Res Gestae Saxonicae. There was one source on Ottonian times that was curiously absent from most of the serious research: Liudprand of Cremona’s Antapodosis. The study of this chronicle leads to a reappraisal of the tenth century in Western Europe showing how mythology of the dynasty was constructed. By looking at the later reception (through later Middle Ages and then on 19th and 20th century historiography) the author showcases the longevity of Ottonian myths and the ideological expressions of the tenth century storytellers.
The history of the Middle East is traditionally structured around the rise and fall of dynasties and states. The widely perceived view is that after the glories of an earlier golden age the region went into a steady and prolonged decline: populations decreased, ancient cities decayed and nomadism spread at the expense of civilized culture. In this pioneering text Peter Christensen challenges this story of decline. Long out of print but now reissued with a new introduction by the author, this important work is both a foundational text in the environmental history of the Middle East and a pioneering reassessment of traditional ideas about the historical processes of Iran and the Middle East region.
“The Eclipse of the Abbasid Caliphate” is one of the most original and interesting chronicles to have survived from the mediaeval Islamic world. Written by the noted Persian historian and philosopher, Miskawayh, it is a lively, vigorous and remarkably secular account of events during a time that many consider to be the golden age of Islamic scholarship. Miskawayh's position at court and his role as keeper of state papers meant he was well placed to provide what is an extremely well informed account of events. Translated from the Arabic by David Margoliouth, Laudian Professor of Arabic at Oxford University, the work is long out of print and now very rare. This edition is introduced by Hugh Kennedy, a leading international authority on the period.
This book takes a critical approach to the assumption that the origins of the English can be found in fifth- and sixth-century immigration from north-west Europe. It begins by evaluating the primary evidence, and discussing the value of ethnicity in historical explanation. The author proposes an alternative explanatory model that sets short- and medium-term events and processes in the context of the longue durée, illustrated here through the agricultural landscape. She concludes that the origins of the English should rather be sought among late Romano-British communities, evolving, adapting, and innovating in a new, post-imperial context.
Though focusing on England between the fifth and seventh centuries, this volume explores themes of universal interest - the role of immigration in cultural transformation; the importance of the landscape as a mnemonic for cultural change; and the utility of a common property rights approach as an analytical tool.
This book explores how the Spanish kingdoms were highly influenced by the arrival of the Dominican and Franciscan friars in the thirteenth century. The Dominicans and the Franciscans, who were already very active in the Peninsula in the life of their founder, Francis of Assisi, were particularly prominent. The Dominican and Franciscan friars were to have an enormous impact, pervading almost every aspect of the society of late medieval Spain. In a revolutionary break from the Church’s past these religious were heavily involved in the world, in preaching the message of the Gospel to the laity, while in education, they produced many of the greatest scholars of the age. Likewise, they transformed urban life, becoming an essential part of the fabric of the late medieval city. Equally the friars transformed the hierarchy of the Church, often taking up major positions in the episcopate. The friars were to the fore in the establishment of the Inquisition in the Crown of Aragon and, for very similar reasons, played the major part in attempting to teach the Gospel message to the Muslims as the Christian kingdoms expanded to the south. They greatly influenced the policies of monarchs such as that of James I of Aragon and Ferdinand III of Castile. Their missions in the towns and their educational role, as well as their strong associations with the papacy and the crown, often lead them into conflict with other religious and with secular society. They also suffered internal tensions and major splits. They were to be both widely admired and the subject of biting literary satire. Francisco García-Serrano ultimately argues how the story of medieval Spain cannot possibly be told without these important groups of friars.
The flowering of the ‘Abbasid caliphate between 750 and 1258 CE is often considered the classical age of Islamic civilization. In the preceding 120 years, the Arabs had conquered much of the known world of antiquity and established a vast empire stretching from Spain to China. But was this empire really so very different, as has sometimes been claimed, from what it superseded? “The Great Caliphs” creatively explores the immense achievements of the 'Abbasid age through the lens of Mediterranean history. When the Umayyad caliphs were replaced by the ‘Abbasids in 750, and the Arab capital moved to Baghdad, Iraq quickly became the centre not only of an imperium but also of a culture built on the foundations of the great civilizations of antiquity: Greece, Rome, Byzantium and Persia. Debunking popular misconceptions about the Arab conquests, Amira Bennison shows that, far from seeing themselves as purging the ‘occidental’ culture of the ancient world with a ‘pure’ and ‘oriental’ Islamic doctrine, the ‘Abbasids perceived themselves to be as much within the tradition of Mediterranean and Near Eastern empire as any of their predecessors.
Like other outsiders who inherited the Roman Empire, the Arabs had as much interest in preserving as in destroying, even while they were challenged by the paganism of the past. Indebted to that past while building creatively on its foundations, the ‘Abbasids and their rulers inculcated and nurtured precisely the ‘civilized’ values which western civilization so often claims to represent.
The vast transformation of the Roman world at the end of antiquity has been a subject of broad scholarly interest for decades, but until now no book has focused specifically on the Iberian Peninsula in the period as seen through an archaeological lens. Given the sparse documentary evidence available, archaeology holds the key to a richer understanding of the developments of the period, and this book addresses a number of issues that arise from analysis of the available material culture, including questions of the process of Christianization and Islamization, continuity and abandonment of Roman urban patterns and forms, the end of villas and the growth of villages, and the adaptation of the population and the elites to the changing political circumstances.
A. Asa Eger
The retreat of the Byzantine army from Syria in around 650 CE, in advance of the approaching Arab armies, is one that has resounded emphatically in the works of both Islamic and Christian writers, and created an enduring motif: that of the Islamic-Byzantine frontier. For centuries, Byzantine and Islamic scholars have evocatively sketched a contested border: the annual raids between the two, the line of fortified fortresses defending Islamic lands, the no-man's land in between and the birth of jihad. In their early representations of a Muslim-Christian encounter, accounts of the Islamic-Byzantine frontier are charged with significance for a future 'clash of civilizations' that often envisions a polarised world. A. Asa Eger examines the two aspects of this frontier: its physical and ideological ones. By highlighting the archaeological study of the real and material frontier, as well as acknowledging its ideological military and religious implications, he offers a more complex vision of this dividing line than has been traditionally disseminated. With analysis grounded in archaeological evidence as well the relevant historical texts, Eger brings together a nuanced exploration of this vital element of medieval history.
In this way, Eger's volume contributes to a more complex vision of the frontier than traditional historical views by bringing to the fore the layers of a real ecological frontier of settlement and interaction. For Eger, exposing the settlements and communities of the frontier constitutes a crucial gesture for understanding the interaction of two civilizations in a contested yet connected world. This work is thus vital for students of not only the medieval period and Byzantine and Islamic studies, but also for readers attempting to understand the ways in which frontiers and borders shape the construction of identity while functioning outside the traditionally understood state.
Is it possible to summarize the history of the Jews in late antiquity? The lack of source material makes it challenging, but this short book provides a brief snapshot, based on the available evidence. It focuses on seven different regions: Italy, North Africa (except Egypt), Gaul, Spain, Egypt, the Land of Israel, and Babylonia, and identifies common patterns, but also clear regional and temporal differences between each distinct area.
The Jews in Late Antiquity should be considered as a first step towards the understanding of a little-known period in Jewish history, and its aim is to leave the reader wanting to know more.
As scholarship continues to expand the idea of medieval Europe beyond “the West,” the Rus’ remain the final frontier relegated to the European periphery. The Kingdom of Rus’ challenges the perception of Rus’ as an eastern “other” – advancing the idea of the Rus’ as a kingdom deeply integrated with medieval Europe, through an innovative analysis of medieval titles. Examining a wide range of medieval sources, this book exposes the common practice in scholarship of referring to Rusian rulers as princes as a relic of early modern attempts to diminish the Rus’. Not only was Rus’ part and parcel of medieval Europe, but in the eleventh and twelfth centuries Rus’ was the largest kingdom in Christendom.
The High Middle Ages were remarkable for their coherent sense of ‘Christendom’: of people who belonged to a homogeneous Christian society marked by uniform rituals of birth and death and worship. That uniformity, which came under increasing strain as national European characteristics became more pronounced, achieved perhaps its most perfect intellectual expression in the thought of the western Christian thinkers who are sometimes called ‘scholastic theologians’. These philosophers produced (during roughly the period 1050-1350 CE) a cohesive body of work from their practice of theology as an academic discipline in the university faculties of their day. Richard Cross' elegant and stylish textbook - designed specifically for modern-day undergraduate use on medieval theology and philosophy courses - offers the first focused introduction to these thinkers based on the individuals themselves and their central preoccupations.
The book discusses influential figures like Abelard, Peter Lombard and Hugh of St Victor; the use made by Aquinas of Aristotle; the mystical theology of Bonaventure; Robert Grosseteste’s and Roger Bacon’s interest in optics; the complex metaphysics of Duns Scotus; and the political thought of Marsilius of Padua and William of Ockham. Key themes of medieval theology, including famous axioms like ‘Ockham's Razor’, are here made fully intelligible and transparent.
The landscape of medieval England was the product of a multitude of hands. While the power to shape the landscape inevitably lay with the Crown, the nobility and the religious houses, this study also highlights the contribution of the peasantry in the layout of rural settlements and ridge-and-furrow field works, and the funding of parish churches by ordinary townsfolk. The importance of population trends is emphasised as a major factor in shaping the medieval landscape: the rising curve of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries imposing growing pressures on resources, and the devastating impact of the Black Death leading to radical decline in the fourteenth century. Opening with a broad-ranging analysis of political and economic trends in medieval England, the book progresses thematically to assess the impact of farming, rural settlement, towns, the Church, and fortification using many original case studies. The concluding chapter charts the end of the medieval landscape with the dissolution of the monasteries, the replacement of castles by country houses, the ongoing enclosure of fields, and the growth of towns.
Monica H. Green
This ground-breaking book brings together scholars from the humanities and social and physical sciences to address the question of how recent work in the genetics, zoology, and epidemiology of plague’s causative organism (Yersinia pestis) can allow a rethinking of the Black Death pandemic and its larger historical significance.
Stefan Esders, Yitzhak Hen, Pia Lucas, Tamar Rotman, Jinty Nelson and Damien Kempf
This book explores the Merovingian kingdoms in Gaul within a broader Mediterranean context. Their politics and culture have mostly been interpreted in the past through a narrow local perspective, but as the papers in this volume clearly demonstrate, the Merovingian kingdoms had complicated and multi-layered political, religious, and socio-cultural relations with their Mediterranean counterparts, from Visigothic Spain in the West to the Byzantine Empire in the East, and from Anglo-Saxon England in the North to North-Africa in the South.
The papers collected here provide new insights into the history of the Merovingian kingdoms by examining various relevant issues, ranging from identity formation to the shape and rules of diplomatic relations, cultural transformation, as well as voiced attitudes towards the “other”. Each of the papers begins with a short excerpt from a primary source, which serves as a stimulus for the discussion of broader issues. The various sources’ point of view and their contextualization stand at the heart of the analysis, thus ensuring that discussions are accessible to students and non-specialists, without jeopardizing the high academic standard of the debate.
It is often assumed that those outside of academia know very little about the Middle Ages. But the truth is not so simple. Non-specialists learn a great deal from the myriad medievalisms – post-medieval imaginings of the medieval world – that pervade our everyday culture. But what does the public really know? How do the conflicting medievalisms they consume contribute to their knowledge? And why is this important? In this book, the first evidence-based exploration of the wider public’s understanding of the Middle Ages, Paul B. Sturtevant adapts sociological methods to answer these important questions. Based on extensive focus groups, the book details the ways – both formal and informal – that people learn about the medieval past and the many other ways that this informs, and even distorts, our present. In the process, Sturtevant also sheds crucial light onto the ways non-specialists learn about the past, and why understanding this is so important.
The Mongols emerged from obscurity to establish the largest contiguous empire in history. Although they are now no longer viewed as simply an unbridled force of destruction, it remains unclear as to how they succeeded in ruling a empire that stretched from the Sea of Japan to the Black Sea. This book investigates how the Mongol adopted and adapted different ruling strategies from previous Inner Asian empires as well as Chinese and Islamic Empires to rule an empire in which they were a distinct minority, and also investigates the processes by which this empire fragmented into an increasing number of states, many of which lasted into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Ibn Battuta was, without doubt, one of the world's truly great travellers. Born in fourteenth-century Morocco, and a contemporary of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta has left us an account in his own words of his remarkable journeys throughout the Islamic world and beyond: journeys punctuated by adventure and peril, and stretching from his home in Tangiers to Zaytun in faraway China. Whether sojourning in Delhi and the Maldives, wandering through the mazy streets of Cairo and Damascus, or contesting with pirates and shipwreck, the indefatigable Ibn Battuta brings to vivid life a medieval world brimming with marvel and mystery. Carefully observing the great diversity of civilizations which he encountered, Ibn Battuta exhibits an omnivorous interest in such matters as food and drink, religious differences (between Christians, Hindus and Shi'a Muslims), ideas about purity and impurity, disease, women and sex. Recounting the many miracles which its author claims to have experienced personally, his "al-rihla" or "Travelogue" is a fascinating mosaic of mysticism and reportage offering a prototype magic realism.
David Waines discusses the subtleties of the al-rihla, revealing all the wonders of Ibn Battuta's world to the modern reader. This is a gripping treatment of the life and times of one of history's most daring, and at the same time most human, discoverers.
The Peace of God was one of the most important, and one of the most contested, movements of the entire Middle Ages. It has been seen as either radically innovative or fundamentally traditional; as strongly millenarian or not millenarian at all; as the first great popular movement in European history or as an instrument by which elites consolidated their power. In this book, Geoffrey Koziol argues that all such differing viewpoints have some basis in fact, partly because specific instantiations of the Peace of God varied greatly, but also because from its very beginning the movement brought to the fore the contradictions inherent in earlier ideas and rituals of peace and peace-making.
After languishing on the disciplinary peripheries, Pictish studies is now undergoing significant revision and invigoration, with recent archaeological discoveries increasing the stock of evidence and prompting a re-assessment of cultural development. In addition, new methodologies in archaeology, cultural geography and art history are unpacking the processes of social reproduction through Pictish artefacts and the constructed environment.
We can now say more about the cultural and political lives of the Picts than ever before. And these new findings are giving a fresh perspective on the wider development of nations and identity, and the geo-political transitions that affected Early Medieval polities across the Latin west and which underlie the modern world. This short book provides an exciting and informed synthesis of our current understanding of Pictish history and their material remains.
There is a vigorous debate on the exact beginnings of the Crusades, as well as a growing conviction that some practices of crusading may have been in existence, at least in part, long before they were identified as such. The Prehistory of the Crusades explores how the Crusades came to be seen as the use of aggressive warfare to Christianise pagan lands and peoples. Reynolds focuses on the Baltic, or Northern, Crusades, an aspect of the Crusades that has been little documented, thus bringing a new perspective to their historical and ideological origins.
Baltic Crusades were distinctive because they were not directed at the Holy Land, and they were not against Muslim opponents, but rather against pagan peoples. From the Emperor Charlemagne’s wars against the Saxons in the 8th and 9th centuries to the Baltic Crusades of the 12th century, this book explores the sanctification of war in creating the ideal of crusade. In so doing, it shows how crusading ultimately developed in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Prehistory of the Crusades provides a valuable insight into the topic for students of medieval history and the Crusades.
This is a comprehensive textbook on the historiography of medieval Eastern and Central Europe. It traces the medieval kingdom of Hungary - which covered the vast territory of the Carpathian basin - from the conquest by the Magyar tribes in 895 until defeat by the ottomans at the battle of Mohács in 1526. The book is divided into two broad periods: the “national” Magyar kings of the Arpadian dynasty who had ruled from 895 were replaced in 1301 by rulers from a number of European dynasties, culminating in the radical changes to political and social structures of the 13th century.
Owain Glyn Dwr is one of the great figures of Welsh and military history. Initially a loyal subject of the king of England, he reluctantly took up arms against the Crown he had served. Once committed to rebellion, he proved surprisingly talented at leading rebel troops against a theoretically vastly superior enemy. Not solely a warrior, he conceived and implemented a strategy which saw his small, poorly-equipped forces repeatedly defeat Crown troops and bring down the apparatus of governance in Wales. Following these achievements, he held native parliaments and established diplomatic contact with surrounding powers. This led to a treaty with France, after the conclusion of which, he welcomed French forces to Welsh soil to campaign with the rebels. In brief, Owain erected a rebel state and won international recognition. Owain’s foreign support was fractured by the intrigues of exceptionally talented English diplomats at work in the French court. This created an environment which allowed Crown forces to concentrate on defeating the rebellion in Wales. Although ultimately unsuccessful, Owain emerges from the era as a gifted and honourable leader, giving the Welsh a figure commonly recalled as a hero.
Explores the importance of alchemy and its links to the occult in the period between 1320 and 1400. This title synthesizes various aspects of alchemy and shows its contribution to intellectual, social and political life in the fourteenth century. It also explores manuscripts to reveal the daily routines of the alchemist.
This latest volume in “The Idea of Iran” series concentrates on the Sasanian period. Seizing power from the previous dynasty - the Parthians - the Sasanians ruled Iran and most of the ancient Near East from 224 until 642 CE. They are particularly fascinating because of their adherence to Zoroastrianism, an ancient dualistic Iranian religion named after the prophet Zarathustra (or, in Greek, Zoroaster). The Sasanians expressed the divine aspect of their rule in a variety of forms, such as on coins, rock reliefs and silver plates, and architecture and the arts flourished under their aegis. Sasanian military success brought them into conflict with Rome, and later Byzantium. Their empire eventually collapsed under the force of the Arab army in AD 642, when Zoroastrianism was replaced with Islam.Engaging with all the major aspects of Sasanian culture, twelve eminent scholars address subjects which include: early Sasanian art and iconography; early Sasanian coinage; religion and identity in the Sasanian empire; later Sasanian orality and literacy; and state and society in late antique Iran.
The volume in question arguably comprises the most complete and comprehensive treatment of the Sasanian civilization yet to be published in English.
This is a somewhat polemical, and very passionate, plea for more work not only about the house that scholasticism built, but those who were excluded from it.
This book is the story of how scholastic theology defined this universal subject in terms of the reasonable white man and a catalogue of the exclusions which ensued. The categories of woman, Jew and heretic were core others against which ideal Christian subjectivity was implicitly defined, and this book shows just how constitutive these ‘others’ were for the production of orthodoxy in the Middle Ages.
Under Seljuk rule (c. 1081-1308) the formerly Christian Byzantine territories of Anatolia were transformed by the development of Muslim culture, society and politics, and it was then - well before the arrival of the Ottomans - that a Turkish population became firmly established in these lands. But these developments are little understood, and the Seljuk dynasty remains little studied. Yet the Seljuks of Anatolia were one of the most influential dynasties of the thirteenth-century Middle East, controlling some of the major trade routes of the period, playing a crucial role in linking East and West of the medieval world. This volume examines Seljuk culture and history by looking at developments both at court and in society at large and shed new light on Seljuk political culture and dynastic ideology, the engagement of politics with religion, and Christian-Muslim interaction. The Seljuks of Anatolia will be of great interest to researchers with interests in Byzantium as well as the material culture and society of the medieval Islamic world.
The history of courtesans and slave girls in the medieval Arab world transcends traditional boundaries of study and opens up new fields of sociological and cultural enquiry. In the process it offers a remarkably rich source of historical and cultural information on medieval Islam. The Slave Girls of Baghdad explores the origins, education and art of the ‘qiyan’ - indentured girls and women who entertained and entranced the caliphs and aristocrats who worked the labyrinths of power throughout the Abbasid Empire. In a detailed analysis of Islamic law, historical sources and poetry, F. Matthew Caswell examines the qiyans’ unique place in the society of ninth-century Baghdad, providing an insightful and comprehensive cultural overview of an elusive and little understood institution. This important history will be essential reading for all those concerned with the history of slavery and its morality, culture and importance in the early Islamic era.
The history of the Late Roman Empire in the West has been divided into two parallel worlds, analysed either as a political and economic transformation or as a religious and cultural one. But how do these relate one to another? In this concise and effective synthesis, Ian Wood considers some ways in which religion and the Church can be reintegrated into what has become a largely secular discourse. The Church was at the heart of the changes that look place at the end of the Western Empire, not only regarding religion, but indeed every aspect of politics and society. Wood contends that the institutionalisation of the Church on a huge scale was a key factor in the transformation which began in the early fourth century with an incipiently Christian Roman Empire and ended three hundred years later in a world of thoroughly Christianised kingdoms.
Past Imperfect presents concise critical overviews of the latest research by the world's leading scholars. Subjects cross the full range of fields in the period ca. 400–1500 CE which, in a European context, is known as the Middle Ages. Anyone interested in this period will be enthralled and enlightened by these overviews, written in provocative but accessible language. These affordable paperbacks prove that the era still retains a powerful resonance and impact throughout the world today.
This book presents a fresh overview of the Vikings from both conceptual and material perspectives. The prevailing image of a Viking is frequently that of a fierce male, associated with military expansion and a distinctive material culture. In an engaging survey, Sæbjørg Walaker Nordeide and Kevin J. Edwards analyse Viking religion, economic life and material culture in and beyond the Scandic homelands. Although there is a conventional Viking Age timeframe of ca. AD 800 to 1050 (the Scandinavians are usually associated with hit-and-run attacks beginning with the raid on the Abbey of Lindisfarne in 797), their military expeditions actually started earlier and were directed eastwards. Scandinavians moved beyond the Baltic coast to Constantinople. To the south and west, France, Iberia, and the islands of Great Britain and Ireland witnessed, variously, trade, invasion, and settlement. The essentially unpopulated islands of the North Atlantic Ocean were subjected to a Norse-led diaspora with the Scandinavian settlers perhaps over-reaching themselves in Newfoundland and ultimately abandoning their Greenlandic colonies. The Vikings have maintained a resonance in the popular imagination to the present day.
Wine has held its place for centuries at the heart of social and cultural life in western Europe. This book explains how and why this came about, providing a thematic history of wine and the wine trade in Europe in the middle ages from c.1000 to c.1500. Wine was one of the earliest commodities to be traded across the whole of western Europe. Because of its commercial importance, more is probably known about the way viticulture was undertaken and wine itself was made, than the farming methods used with most other agricultural products at the time.
Susan Rose addresses questions such as: Where were vines grown at this time? How was wine made and stored? Were there acknowledged distinctions in quality? How did traders operate? What were the social customs associated with wine drinking? What view was taken by moralists? How important was its association with Christian ritual? Did Islamic prohibitions on alcohol affect the wine trade? What other functions did wine have?
The myths of the Norse god Thor were preserved in the Icelandic Eddas, set down in the early Middle Ages. The bane of giants and trolls, Thor was worshipped as the last line of defence against all that threatened early Nordic society. Thor's significance persisted long after the Christian conversion and, in the mid-eighteenth century, Thor resumed a symbolic prominence among northern countries. Admired and adopted in Scandinavia and Germany, he became central to the rhetoric of national romanticism and to more belligerent assertions of nationalism. Resurrected in the latter part of the twentieth century in Marvel Magazine, Thor was further transformed into an articulation both of an anxious male sexuality and of a parallel nervousness regarding American foreign policy. Martin Arnold explores the extraordinary regard in which Thor has been held since medieval times and considers why and how his myth has been adopted, adapted and transformed.
Just how medieval is the modern university? Rarely do even scholars of medievalism employ its methods and approaches to thinking about institutions. Universities arose out of concerns of the church and the state in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Western Europe. From the beginning, they were fixtures, and from the beginning, they needed extensive renovation. And yet, universities have remained monolithic and static entities, renovating themselves just enough – but never more than enough – to avoid massive interventions by the state or the church or other elements in the system. Like parliamentary democracies, they function just well enough that while feelings of despair are frequent, and anticipation of imminent collapse constant, they continue. In the modern era, as universities face a new set of challenges, this book asks if there is not some value in pondering the medieval university, the origin stories for the modern university, and the continuities that exist as much as do the fractures. Universities offer a fascinating lens on what society considers important. Not only should we consider the role of the university in every society, we should consider how that role has instantiated itself over many generations, and even over nearly one millennium. The extent to which the modern university is medieval offers, the author suggests, both cause for hope and cause for concern.
This book is one of the first to examine medieval Spanish canonical works for their portrayals of disability in relationship to theological teachings, legal precepts, and medical knowledge. Connie L. Scarborough shows that physical impairments were seen differently through each lens. Theology at times taught that the disabled were "marked by God," their sins rendered on their bodies; at other times, they were viewed as important objects of Christian charity. The disabled often suffered legal restrictions, allowing them to be viewed with other distinctive groups, such as the ill or the poor. And from a medical point of view, a miraculous cure could be seen as evidence of divine intervention. This book explores all these perspectives through medieval Spain's miracle narratives, hagiographies, didactic tales, and epic poetry.
In the ninth century, Vikings carried out raids on the Christian north and Muslim south of the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal), going on to attack North Africa, southern Francia and Italy and perhaps sailing as far as Byzantium. A century later, Vikings killed a bishop of Santiago de Compostela and harried the coasts of al-Andalus. Most of the raids after this date were small in scale, but several heroes of the Old Norse sagas were said to have raided in the peninsula.
These Vikings have been only a footnote to the history of the Viking Age. Many stories about their activities survive only in elaborate versions written centuries after the event, and in Arabic. This book reconsiders the Arabic material as part of a dossier that also includes Latin chronicles and charters as well as archaeological and place-name evidence. Arabic authors and their Latin contemporaries remembered Vikings in Iberia in surprisingly similar ways. How they did so sheds light on contemporary responses to Vikings throughout the medieval world.
Tackling the question of why medieval philosophy matters in the current age, Stephen Boulter issues a passionate and robust defence of this school in the history of ideas. He examines both familiar territory and neglected texts and thinkers whilst also asking the question of why, exactly, this matters or should matter to how we think now.
Why Medieval Philosophy is also provides a introduction to medieval philosophy more generally exploring how this area of philosophy has been received, debated and, sometimes, dismissed in the history of philosophy.
Game of Thrones is a phenomenon. As Carolyne Larrington reveals in this essential companion to George R R Martin's fantasy novels and the HBO mega-hit series based on them the show is the epitome of water-cooler TV. It is the subject of intense debate in national newspapers; by PhD students asking why Westeros has yet to see an industrial revolution, or whether astronomy explains the continent's climatic problems and unpredictable solstices ('winter is coming'); and by bloggers and cultural commentators contesting the series' startling portrayals of power, sex and gender. Yet no book has divulged how George R R Martin constructed his remarkable universe out of the Middle Ages. Discussing novels and TV series alike, Larrington explores among other topics: sigils, giants, dragons and direwolves in medieval texts; ravens, old gods and the Weirwood in Norse myth; and a gothic, exotic orient in the eastern continent, Essos. From the White Walkers to the Red Woman, from Casterley Rock to the Shivering Sea, this is an indispensable guide to the twenty-first century's most important fantasy creation.
In 1901 a rich collection of extracts from documents relating to witch beliefs and witch trials in the Middle Ages - Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung in Mittelalter - was published in Bonn. Most of the original documents are in Latin, with some in medieval German and French, and it has been left largely untranslated, making the material inaccessible, and neglected. This new translation of the key documents will enable students and scholars to look afresh at this crucial period in the development of attitudes towards witchcraft. Through the translated extracts we can see the beliefs and activities which had been formally condemned by ecclesiastical and secular authorities, but which had not yet become subject to widespread eradicating pogroms, start to be allied with heresy and with changing conceptions of demonic activity. The extensive introductory essay gives the reader the historical, theological, intellectual and social background and contexts of the translated documents. The translations themselves will all have introductory notes. This volume will contribute significantly to our understanding of the witchcraft phenomenon in the Middle Ages.
Kathleen G. Arthur
Caterina Vigri (later Saint Catherine of Bologna) was a mystic, writer, teacher and nun-artist. Her first home, Corpus Domini, Ferrara, was a house of semi-religious women that became a Poor Clare convent and model of Franciscan Observant piety. Vigri’s intensely spiritual decoration of her breviary, as well as convent altarpieces that formed a visual program of adoration for the Body of Christ, exemplify the Franciscan Observant visual culture. After Vigri’s departure, it was transformed by d’Este women patrons, including Isabella da Aragona, Isabella d’Este and Lucrezia Borgia. While still preserving Observant ideals, it became a more elite noblewomen’s retreat.
Grounded in archival research and extant paintings, drawings, prints and art objects from Corpus Domini, this volume explores the art, visual culture, and social history of an early modern Franciscan women’s community.
The study of medieval liturgy can contribute richly to the discourses of textuality and culture in the Middle Ages. It can tell us a great deal not only about the worship of the church, but also about the people who practised it. However, existing scholarship can be problematic and difficult to use.
This short book aims to unsettle the notion that liturgiology is a mysterious, abstruse, and monolithic discipline. It challenges some scholarly orthodoxies, hints at the complexity of the liturgy as a subject for study and shows that it needs to be examined in ways quite different from the summary treatment it often receives. It also seeks to encourage the reader in his or her own (future) investigations of the topic by introducing some of the key ideas, resources, and methods, and proposes ways in which they might be explored.
In two centuries of rule over Egypt and North Africa (969–1171CE), the Isma‘ili Fatimids threatened Sunni hegemony in the Arab heartlands, yet left few historiographical records. Instead, it fell to Ayyubid and Mamluk historians to represent the Fatimids to posterity. Did medieval Arab historians allow religious commitments and sectarian polemics to shape their accounts of the Islamic past? And did the succeeding Sunni political class destroy the records of its Fatimid predecessors? Via a new translation, contextualisation and analysis of Sunni Mamluk historian Ibn al-Furat’s chronicle History of Dynasty and Kings, Fozia Bora maps the survival of historiographical narratives from late Fatimid Egypt after ?ala? al-Din’s alleged destruction of the Fatimid literary corpus. In so doing, Bora demonstrates that Mamluk historical works offer historiographical documentation of past eras of Islamic history through textual witnesses that are not otherwise extant. She espouses a ‘chronicle as archive’ framework, arguing for a more objective use of chronicles as documents that go beyond sectarian polemics to act as ‘archives’ of now lost material. This book is essential for all scholars working on the written culture and history of the medieval Islamic world, and paves the way for a more nuanced and sensitive treatment of Arabic chronicles.