This is a monster of a book. It must be the most detailed assessment of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 that there has ever been. It subjects the scholarly literature devoted to the subject over the last century-and-a-half to a searching scrutiny.
‘I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: And showing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments’ (Ex. 20:5–6). Medieval crusaders, argues Susanna A.
‘When medieval men and women thought and wrote about power in the early Middle Ages – what it was, what it should be, what it had been – peace was never far from their thoughts’ (p. 271). Thus writes Paul Kershaw in the last paragraph of this important work on the ideas behind rulership but it explains perfectly the previous 270-odd pages.
The writing of history – any history – is shaped by the intellectual environment in which it is written, and by the preoccupations of its writers. As Christopher Tyerman acknowledges in his prefatory remarks, ‘writing history is not a neutral revelation but a malleable, personal, contingent, cultural activity’ (p. xi).
Jan Guillou is a well-known Swedish author, journalist and political commentator.
In the Middle Ages a series of Old French knightly-spoken poems known as chansons de geste, devoted to the subject of crusades, took shape in the north of France.
Michael Hicks’s new book on the Wars of the Roses seeks to offer a general explanation of the civil wars that dominated English political life in the second half of the 15th century. Declaring that ‘many textbooks on Late Medieval England have been written by the best academic historians and survey what happened, and yet they still do not explain the Wars’ (p.
In his new book Steven Pinker, psychologist at Harvard University, sets out to fundamentally alter our understanding of the trajectory of violence from pre-historic times to the present. He takes issue with the widely held perception that the most recent past, the 20th century, was an age of large-scale bloodshed and genocidal slaughter.
In an age of crisis a late Roman bureaucrat offered a plan for reforming military recruitment and training to an unnamed emperor, who requested the project’s continuation.
The significance of ransoming has long been recognised by students of medieval chivalry and diplomacy. Seen as key to the development of an international aristocratic ethic that mitigated some of the worst excesses of medieval combat the ransom system led to a pan-European conception of a chivalric brotherhood.