Readers of English who want to know more about the experience of the Greek Orthodox Church under Ottoman rule have generally reached for Steven Runciman’s The Great Church in Captivity, first published by Cambridge University Press in 1968.(1) As an introductory guide to the topic, the book has stood up very well over the years but inevitably some aspects of i
Guido Ruggiero’s new social and cultural history of Italy between 1250 and 1575 begins at the end of the world and ends at the beginning of the ‘Great Social Divide’.
This book is concerned with the paradoxes and oxymora (p. 80) inherent in a longue-durée of Western thought, rooted in Christian theology, about political and religious violence: liberty and coercion; violence and peace; cruelty and mercy; shedding blood to achieve peace; violence and martyrdom, election and universalism, old and new, and even, in a sense, the state and the church.
In The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century, George Molyneaux investigates how territories under the dominion of the Cerdicing kings of Wessex developed into a clearly defined and conquerable kingdom. The book’s fundamental argument is that the period 871 through 1066 cannot be treated as a cohesive block of history.
Towards the end of the tenth century in the province that had recently become known as Normandy, named after the ‘North Men’ who had come from Scandinavia, the third generation leader Richard I, count of Rouen (943–96), commissioned a dynastic history.
The Cistercian abbey of Henryków in Silesia, settled in 1227, is perhaps best known to medievalists primarily because of the Henryków Book, a codex compiled c.1310, containing two narratives of the abbey’s (and region’s) history from c.1160 to the date of compilation of the codex, as well as a list of the bishops of Wrocław and a number of charters embedded within the
Who was the Welsh soldier of the late Middle Ages? What was the world from which he emerged, and for whom, and against whom, did he fight? Can it be claimed that he made a significant contribution to the way wars were fought during this period?
It is dangerous for historians to know the future. The seductive power of seeing ‘how it all came out’ too often warps the way the process of change in the past is understood and can result in the classic version of a Whiggish view of history. Among the examples of this that can be cited is the way the Polish-Lithuanian union has been evaluated.
How fortunate are historians of that broad band of southern Somerset covered by seven topographical volumes of the Victoria County History (VCH) compared with those of most of the historic county for whom no such resource yet exists. It is the distant ideal of the complete set for Somerset that is most urgently required.
Both as a historical focus and as a narrative vehicle of ‘otherness’, the depiction of technological marvels has often seemed tantalizingly vague. In Orientalist scholarship à la Said, it also ended up being ultimately irretrievable across the mutually reinforcing mirrors of East and West.