Listen, dear brothers,
I want to complain of a cruel murder;
Hear about the sorrow
That befell me on Good Friday.
Translated from the Old Polish by Michael J. Mikoś.(1)
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.
In this monumental and densely-packed book on Germany identity in the later Middle Ages – the only monograph of on the subject in any language, the author informs us – Len Scales gives us a new view of Germany and the empire that is sure to be of great importance for medieval historians’ perceptions of the empire, of Germany, and of the forces behind the shaping of identity.
Passing under a tessellated ply-wood portcullis to enter ‘Revel Grove’ and attend the Maryland Renaissance Festival, held in the Baltimore suburb of Crownsville, crowds of eager 21st–century revelers are greeted by none other than a faux Henry VIII, six feet plus in height, twenty stone, fists at his hips, legs akimbo in colossus fashion, and dressed in as authentic Holbein garb as a theater co
It is one of the worst vices of medievalists that we are too reluctant to take the authors of our major sources at their word. We are keen to classify (or dismiss) repeated ideas or phrases as tropes, topoi or commonplaces merely because they are frequently repeated.
David Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition is an impressive scholarly accomplishment that matches a dauntingly large subject matter with a vast vault of personal knowledge. At 474 pages and 13 chapters covering more than 3000 years, it is thorough without being exhaustive.
The work of Mary Carruthers is well known to students of medieval culture. Her Book of Memory charted discussions of memory from antiquity to the late Middle Ages, treading in the footsteps of Frances Yates in arguing that memory was not just another concept in the minds of medieval writers, but a conceptual motor for the organisation and motivation of thought.
The early 14th-century writer John Quidort of Paris once argued that legal norms should not be deduced from unique events that took place in specific circumstances.(1) Nevertheless, it might be suggested that anecdotes may occasionally prove instructive.
The period of medieval intellectual history covered by this book, primarily the 12th and 13th centuries, is one that has received considerable attention for well over a century. The main question, then, is what does Ian Wei bring to this subject that has not been done before, or how has he reshaped it? The answer is he has done much in both respects.
Ronald Witt’s new book serves as a prequel to his highly-praised volume, In the Footsteps of the Ancients: The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni.(1) If the Footsteps volume located the genesis of humanism in the epistolary and literary compositions of late 13th-century Padua (whereby as a consequence the traditional ‘father of humanism,’ Petra