Empires throughout world history have more often than not seen themselves as part of some cosmic grand narrative, set on earth to enact the will of the god or gods, spiritual or secular, they claim to serve. The Carolingian Empire was no exception.
Today it seems almost customary to apologise for writing another book on the events between 1941 and 1945 that came to be known as the Holocaust, Shoah, or the Genocide of the Jews.(1) The explosion of scholarship since the late 1980s has filled entire libraries with information on the Holocaust and established a basic chronology.
The Sacred Home in Renaissance Italy presents itself as an important and innovative book in the panorama of the contemporary historical research of the Renaissance.
The Birth of Modern Belief is seriously good. It is erudite, insightful, and cogent; but, above all, it enables us to think hard about the relationship between our past and our present.
Married Life in the Middle Ages offers a refreshing approach to medieval marriage. Elisabeth van Houts focuses on the social and emotional sides of marriage rather than viewing marriage through a legal or institutional lens. Two aspects of van Houts’ book set it apart from others.
Hannah Barker’s book is a thorough and engaging evaluation of late medieval slave trading practices in the Mediterranean. The tile is taken from the 15th-century recollection and denunciation of an Alexandrian slave market by Felix Fabri, a German friar (p. 209).
A lack of institutional documentation has rendered it difficult for scholars of early modernity to reconstruct the significance of apostasy from Judaism before the Council of Trent (1545-1563). As such, the reasons behind the conversion of Jews to Catholicism, especially in Renaissance Italy, remain understudied to this day.
The Complete Lives of Camp People by Rudolf Mrázek is part of the Theory in Form series by Duke University Press, which ‘seeks new work that addresses the politics of life and death’. (1) Set in the Dutch Boven Digoel isolation camp and the Theresienstadt Nazi ghetto, Mrázek’s work is well suited for the series.