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See below for a selection of the latest books from Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500 category. Presented with a red border are the Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500 books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500 books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
In the latter years of the ninth century, a mysterious figure arrived in the North African Jewish community of Kairouan. The visitor, Eldad of the tribe of Dan, claimed to have arrived from the kingdom of the Israelite tribes whose whereabouts had been lost for over a millennium and a half. Communicating solely in Hebrew, the sojourner's vocabulary contained many words that were unfamiliar to his hosts. This enigmatic traveler not only baffled and riveted the local Jewish community but has continued to grip audiences and influence lives into the present era. This book takes stock of the long journey that both Eldad and his writings have made through Jewish and Christian imaginations from the moment he stepped foot in North Africa to the turn of the new millennium. Each of its chapters assays a major leg of this voyage, offering an in-depth look at the original source material and shedding light on the origins and later reception of this elusive character.
Byzantine princess Anna Komnene is known for two things: plotting to murder her brother to usurp the throne, and writing the Alexiad, an epic history of her father Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) that is a key historical source for the era of the First Crusade. Anna Komnene: the Life and Work of a Medieval Historian investigates the relationship between Anna's self-presentation in the Alexiad and the story of her bloodthirsty ambition. It begins by asking why women did not write history in Anna's society, what cultural rules Anna broke by doing so, and how Anna tried to respond to those challenges in her writing. Many of the idiosyncrasies and surprises of Anna's Alexiad are driven by her efforts to be perceived as both a good historian and a good woman. These new interpretations of Anna's authorial persona then spark a thorough re-thinking of the standard story which defines Anna's life by the failure of her supposed political ambitions. The second half of this work reviews the medieval sources with fresh eyes and re-establishes Anna's primary identity as an author and intellectual rather than as a failed conspirator.
King of a lost realm. Wearer of a pawned crown. Heir to an empire beyond reach. From the ashes of Magna Carta, a new England was to be forged. Henry III became King of England within days of his ninth birthday. His father, King John, had overseen a disastrous period in English history and the boy king inherited a country embroiled in a bitter, entrenched war with itself. With barons inviting a French prince to take the crown, the young Henry was forced to rely on others to maintain his position. As he grew into adulthood, Henry had to manage the transition to a personal rule, wrenching power from men who had held it almost unchecked for years. With a settled position at home, attention could turn to the recovery of lost territory abroad and the salvaging of Henry's family reputation. All would not go according to plan. Failures abroad led to trouble back in England as restless barons became disillusioned. They found a figurehead in Simon de Montfort, a man who would transform himself from Henry's favourite to a de facto king. Imprisoned and stripped of his power, Henry would again have to fight for his kingdom, now relying not on older mentors but on his immensely capable son. Henry was handed a monarchy in peril, a crown that was cracked and tarnished. He was given fifty-six years to mend the damage his father had done. It would spell over half a century of highs and lows in a country crying out for stability; the final measure of Henry's achievement displayed in the crown that he left to his son, Edward I.
Pocket Museum: Vikings brings together nearly 200 of the most remarkable artefacts that are held in museum collections around the world. Although the popular image of the Vikings is one of wild, violent raiders, the objects in this book reveal a more complex society comprised of pioneering explorers and master metalworkers who established a far-reaching trade network. From the vast Oseberg ship to a tiny valkyrie pendant, and from simple wooden panpipes to the unparalleled collection of silver items in the Spillings Hoard, each object provides an important insight into this most fascinating of cultures. This juxtaposition of the elite and the everyday makes this volume unique in its field.
The Profession of Widowhood explores how the idea of `true' widowhood was central to pre-modern ideas concerning marriage and of female identity more generally. The medieval figure of the Christian vere vidua or good widow evolved from and reinforced ancient social and religious sensibilities of chastity, loyalty and grief as gendered `work.' The ideal widow was a virtuous woman who mourned her dead husband in chastity, solitude, and most importantly, in perpetuity, marking her as a widow indeed (1 Tim 5:5). The widow who failed to display adequate grief fulfilled the stereotype of the `merry widow' who forgot her departed spouse and abused her sexual and social freedom. Stereotypes of widows `good' and `bad' served highly-charged ideological functions in pre-modern culture, and have remained durable even in modern times, even as Western secular society now focuses more on a woman's recovery from grief and possible re-coupling than the expectation that she remain forever widowed. The widow represented not only the powerful bond created by love and marriage, but also embodied the conventions of grief that ordered the response when those bonds were broken by premature death. This notion of the widow as both a passive memorial to her husband and as an active `rememberer' was rooted in ancient traditions, and appropriated by early Christian and medieval authors who used good widowhood to describe the varieties of female celibacy and to define the social and gender order. A tradition of widowhood characterized by chastity, solitude, and permanent bereavement affirmed both the sexual mores and political agenda of the medieval Church. Medieval widows-both holy women recognized as saints and `ordinary women' in medieval daily life-recognized this tradition of professed chastity in widowhood not only as a valuable strategy for avoiding remarriage and protecting their independence, but as a state with inherent dignity that afforded opportunities for spiritual development in this world and eternal merit in the next.
The Viking Conquest of England in 1016 - a far tougher and more brutal campaign than the Norman Conquest exactly half a century later - saw two great warriors, the Danish prince Cnut and his equally ruthless English opponent King Edmund Ironside, fight an epic campaign. Cnut sailed in two hundred longboats, landing first in September 1015 on the Wessex coast with 10,000 soldiers. The two forces fought each other to the point of exhaustion for the next fourteen months. It was a war of terrifying violence that scarred much of England, from the Humber to Cornwall. It saw an epic siege of the great walls of London and bruising set-piece battles at Penselwood, Otford, and the conclusive Danish victory at Assandun on 18 October 1016. Edmund's death soon afterwards finally resolved a brutal, bloody conf lict and ended with Cnut becoming the undisputed king of England. This book tells the extraordinary story of Cnut the Great's life. Cnut was far removed from the archetypal pagan Viking, being a staunch protector of the Christian Church and a man who would also become Emperor of the North as king of Denmark and Norway. His wife, Emma of Normandy, was a remarkable woman who would outlive the two kings of England that she married. Their son Harthacnut would be the second and last Danish king of England, but the greatness of his dynasty did not long survive his death. This saga also features the incompetent AEthelred the Unready, the ferocious Sweyn Forkbeard and the treacherous Eadric Streona, recreating one of the great stories of Dark Age England.
First published in 1900, this Reader uses four manuscripts from the British Museum and Corpus Christi College Cambridge to present a thorough introduction along with a dual-language edition of the text. The original manuscripts, as Herzfeld demonstrates, are of varying qualities and comprise of the Anglian, West Saxon, Kentish and Mercian dialects. The re-edited text is presented alongside historical remarks, criticism of the manuscript, the text's ultimate date and place of origin and an exploration of its potential sources.
When did the term 'Princes in the Tower' come into usage, who invented it, and to whom did it refer? To the general public the term is synonymous with the supposedly murdered boy King Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, sons of Edward IV. But were those boys genuinely held against their will in the Tower? Would their mother, Elizabeth Widville, have released her son Richard from sanctuary with her if she believed she would be putting his life in danger? The children of Edward IV were declared bastards in 1483 and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was offered the throne. But after Bosworth, in order to marry their sister Elizabeth of York, Henry VII needed to make her legitimate again. If the boys were alive at that time then Edward V would once again have become the rightful king. Following the discovery of some bones in the Tower in 1674 they were interred in a marble urn in Westminster Abbey as the remains of the two sons of Edward IV. What evidence exists, or existed at the time, to prove these indeed were the remains of two 15th-century male children? What did the 1933 urn opening reveal? John Ashdown-Hill is uniquely placed to answer these questions. By working with geneticists and scientists, and exploring the mtDNA haplogroup of the living all-female-line collateral descendant of the brothers, he questions the orthodoxy and strips away the myths.
Two volume set The Second Council of Nicaea (787) decreed that religious images were to set up in churches and venerated. It thereby established the cult of icons as a central element in the piety of the Orthodox churches, as it has remained ever since. In the West its decrees received a new emphasis in the Counter-Reformation, in the defence of the role of art in religion. It is a text of prime importance for the iconoclast controversy of eighth-century Byzantium, one of the most explored and contested topics in Byzantine history. But it has also a more general significance - in the history of culture and the history of art. This edition offers the first translation that is based on the new critical edition of this text in the Acta Conciliorum Oecumenicorum series, and the first full commentary of this work that has ever been written. It will be of interest to a wide range of readers from a variety of disciplines.
Written in 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) purported to chronicle the British monarchy from the arrival of the Trojan Brutus, grandson of Aeneas, through to the seventh century AD. The Historia was a medieval best-seller, and copies spread across the whole of western Europe. It was the first work to outline the story of King Arthur. The Historia has long been dismissed as an unreliable piece of medieval propaganda. A new examination of the text, however, shows that it is very much more than that. Miles Russell explains how individual elements can be traced back to the first century BC, a time when Britain was making first contact with Rome. Geoffrey of Monmouth's skill was to weave these early traditions together with material culled from post-Roman sources in order to create a national epic. In doing so, he also created King Arthur, a composite character whose real origins and context are explained here. This important work establishes Geoffrey of Monmouth as no mere peddler of historical fiction, but as the man who preserved the earliest foundation myths of Britain. It is time to re-evaluate the Historia Regum Britanniaeand shine a new light into the so-called 'Dark Ages'.
Medieval Papacy; Church history; Avignon Papacy
Appearing within the context of the Crusades in Palestine, the militaro-religious order of the Teutonic Knights imposed itself as an essential player in a relatively unknown episode in our part of the world: the conquest and evangelisation of the last pagans in Europe. Living to the south-east of the Baltic Sea, these pagans were confronted with missionary and warlike enterprises rather like crusades. Called upon to defend the frontiers of Poland against the pagans in Prussia, the brothers of the Teutonic Order carved a real state for themselves in this area of the Marches of Christianity. In its desire to tap the crusading spirit so dear to the nobility, the Teutonic order regularly invited knights from all over Europe to join in its military endeavours. Thus it was that a large number of French and English nobles, among them some key figures in the Hundred Years' War, went off to distant Prussia to fight the Saracens of the North . For the rivalries which opposed the Teutonic Knights to their neighbours, pagan or Christian, led not only to military, but also doctrinal, confrontations causing debate about the rights of non-Christian peoples. This book offers a look at the history of the Order of the Teutonic Knights but brings to the forefront its role as a link between the world of chivalry and that of the pagans of North-eastern Europe. The relations of the men with the black crosses and the Baltic peoples, but also with the lords of Western Europe who came to help them, just like their role in the controversial use of force as a tool of conversion, enabled a little-known facet of medieval Europe to be revealed: its eminently cosmopolitan character, making light of national or regional borders and sometimes religious ones, too.