The Medieval World


Thomas Asbridge explores how Christian pacifism turned to zealous violence and sparked a rivalry with Islam that has spanned almost a millennium in The First Crusade: A New History (Simon & Schuster, 20 [pounds sterling]).

Jonathan Phillips's The Fourth Crusade and The Sack of Constantinople (Jonathan Cape, 20 [pounds sterling]) is a timely study of the year 1204 when the crusaders turned on the Christian city of Constantinople, the heart of the Byzantine Empire.

The Age of Athelstan: Britain's Forgotten History (Tempus, 17.99 [pounds sterling]), by Paul Hill, revives the memory of one of the most ignored kings of Anglo-Saxon England.

David M. Wilson introduces the history of the famous tapestry, which is presented in its entirety in photographs of the highest quality, in The Beyeux Tapestry (Thames & Hudson, 19.95 [pounds sterling]); meanwhile Andrew Bridgeford's 1066 and the Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry (Fourth Estate, 20 [pounds sterling]) argues that the complex meanings of the tapestry have been ignored by previous scholars who have seen it as a simple account of the Norman triumph.

The reaction of the English to the Norman invasion of 1066 is examined and re-interpreted by Peter Rex in The English Resistance: The Underground War Against the Normans (Tempus, 17.99 [pounds sterling]).

The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare, by Jim Bradbury (75 [pounds sterling]) is a comprehensive but thematically organised illustrated survey that includes battles, sieges, generals and leaders, as well as military and naval technology, tactics and supply.

Emma: The Twice-Crowned Queen by Isabella Strachan (Johns Hopkins University Press, pb 11.95 [pounds sterling]) gives the biography of the English queen who reigned both with Ethelred the Unready and the Dane who drove him out of England, Cnut. Strachan tells of her perseverance during the dramatic time period in which she lived.

Edited by Gerhard Jaritz, Gerson Moreno-Riano's Time and Eternity: The Medieval Discourse (Brepols, hb Eur. 80) is composed of papers from the International Medieval Congress held in July 2000 at Leeds which examined diverse topics such as the use of calendars and Jewish concepts of time and redemption.

Isabel Davis, Miriam Muller, Sarah Rees Jones edit Love, Marriage and Family Ties in the Later Middle Ages (Brepols, Eur. 60).

Political Assemblies in the Earlier Middle Ages (Brepols, Eur. 60) edited by P.S. Barnwell and M. Mostert offers an interdisciplinary study of the development of assemblies from the successor states of the Roman Empire to the High Middle Ages. in countries from Scandinavia to Ireland.

Reading and Literacy in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Brepols, Eur. 55) edited by I. Moulton discusses the changing attitudes towards literacy and reading practices from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century and will strike a chord with those interested in cultural history and the transition from manuscript to print culture.

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