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Before opening this collection of 11 articles originally published elsewhere, attentive readers may have noticed the absence of a categorisation usually employed in studies on the Eastern Mediterranean between the 11th century and the 14th century.
Four years ago I published a review in this journal of a book on The Origins of Racism in the West.(1) I would like to begin the analysis of the volume by Bethencourt in the same way in which I began my piece on The Origins of Racism in the West, i.e.
It has become a commonplace to assert that biographies are unfashionable these days. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, even for English history (female subjects certainly buck the trend), but there is no doubt that they are still the staple of Scottish history, particularly when it comes to the middle ages.
In western Europe – thus runs one of the standard narratives of medieval history – it is only after c.1200 that we really find the beginnings of administrative bureaucracies, which allowed for the growth of centralised governments, and were fed by the rise of professional law, enabled by growing literacy at various levels of society, and were one of the key elements in what John Watts
The beginnings of Europe is not a very complicated historical subject. After the end of Roman domination in the fifth century CE, so-called ‘successor states’ grew up in the territories and around the margins of what had been the Western Roman Empire, and out of those states grew France, Spain, Italy and (with greater complications) England and Germany.
Despite the substantial historiography of Edward I’s reign, this is the first real attempt to examine in depth the relations between this king and his earls at a crucial time in the development of both monarchy and nobility. Edward I is a king now remembered mainly for his ‘masterfulness’ when dealing with the English nobility, a term with which Spencer takes some issue.
This is a most welcome volume for a number of reasons. For a start, it is the most nuanced and comprehensive study of the practice of intercession in the earlier Middle Ages, focusing on the ninth and tenth centuries. More to the point, perhaps, it constitutes the first (and to date only) sustained engagement with the diplomas of the Ottonian and Salian rulers available in English.
Nest of Deheubarth, a 12th-century Welsh princess, has a presence well beyond academic history and interests. She was one of the most famous Welsh princesses and over the centuries has had a significant impact on Welsh history and identity.
Elena Woodacre’s book on the five female sovereigns of the medieval Pyrenean kingdom of Navarre is a timely study considering the latest scholarship on politically active queens in medieval Iberia. This scholarship on ruling women, however, has focused predominantly on individual queens.
Michael Brown’s latest book, Disunited Kingdoms: Peoples and Politics in the British Isles: 1280–1460, examines the socio-political development of Britain and Ireland during the late medieval era.