Paul Kliber Monod has written an ambitious and very welcome book, which seeks to investigate the relationship between Christianity and kingship across the whole of Christian Europe in the 'long' seventeenth century from 1589 to 1715. This is certa inly a brave enterprise, calling as it does for a working knowledge of several languages and the strikingly diverse histories of many countries.
Academics and the general public alike have an understandable fascination regarding the Spanish Armada. The naval confrontation in the Channel in 1588 and the subsequent disastrous Spanish circumnavigation of the storm-lashed British coastline, helped shape world history from the end of the sixteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth.
The history of the European Wars of Religion from the Crusades onward has provided fertile ground for study by historians, philosophers, and theologians of all ideological persuasions. The period from the 1520s forward particularly has served as the subject of an astonishing amount of research – with no discernable chronological gap in the historiography.
Why would a hardened band of foreign jihādi warriors agree to work for a self-proclaimed leader of the Christian world – especially one militantly opposed to Islam, who kept his own Muslim citizens under close surveillance? And why would such a ruler choose to keep that particular type of professional killer in his personal employ?
Carlos Eire’s Reformations aims to provide a readership of ‘beginners and nonspecialists’ (p. xii) with an introduction to European history between 1450 and 1650. Eire narrows down this immense task by concentrating his narrative on the history of religion.
For many of us, the ongoing carnage in Syria is a self-evident humanitarian crisis. We do not need to be convinced that the children drowning at sea, the women and men, young and old, begging for entry into any country that will accept them are worthy of our help.
For generations of historians, the fall of the Christian-held city of Acre to the Mamluk forces of al-Ashraf Khalil in 1291 brought about the end of the crusading era.
History has not been kind to the reputation of Pope Honorius III (1216–27).