Tag medieval history

Christian Ecumenism in the Crusades

Steve Tibble— The main Christian groups in the crusader states were the Greek Orthodox, the Syrian Orthodox, the Armenians, the Maronites and, particularly once colonial rural settlement began to gather pace in the second quarter of the twelfth century, the Frankish Catholics. Religious bigotry was far less prevalent than one

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The Discovery of Merlin

Anne Lawrence-Mathers— Merlin the Magician, like his name, was a creation of the twelfth century. This is no attempt to deny the existence of earlier Welsh sources, but Myrddin the princely bard of the Cymry, driven mad by a disastrous battle and expressing himself in cryptic poetry, needs to be

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The Epitaph of Matilda

Catherine Hanley— Great by birth, greater by marriage, greatest in her offspring Here lies the daughter, wife and mother of Henry. So reads the epitaph inscribed on the tomb of Matilda: queen, empress and one of the most remarkable individuals of the Middle Ages. These words were commissioned by her

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The Siege of Acre

John D. Hosler— Richard the Lionheart lowered his lance and drove it into the shoulder of his jousting opponent, the celebrated Ayyubid sultan Salāh al-Dīn (Saladin), knocking him and his horse to the ground. The force of Richard’s charge was unstoppable. He pushed forward, swinging his battle-axe, to slay wave

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Mining and the Rise of Capitalism

Jeannette Graulau— From David Landes’s Prometheus Unbound to Giovanni Arrighi’s Origins of Our Times, scholars continue to quarrel over one of the most difficult questions of all time: the why, how, and where of the origins of capitalism. Some return to the inexhaustible argument of England’s Industrial Revolution. Others, demystifying

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What happened after the Crusades?

Christopher Tyerman— We all know about the Crusades, don’t we? They were wars fought by western European Christians against Muslim control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land of Palestine. They began in 1095, when Pope Urban II summoned the knights of Christendom to undertake a war that would earn its

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Who Was King Arthur?

Nicholas J. Higham— Chapter 56 of the History of the Britons, written in North Wales in 829-30, presented Arthur as a warrior who, with divine aid, led the Britons to victory against the Saxon (i.e. English) invaders.   ‘Then in those days Arthur fought with the kings of the Britons against

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The Lives of Beowulf

Stephen Mitchell— It’s something of a miracle that any of our ancient literary masterpieces survived the downfall or shift of civilizations, since they all might easily have been lost. Of Heraclitus’s profound insights, we have only tantalizing fragments. Of Sappho’s nine books, there remain just four poems and scattered verses

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Knowing How to Win at Acre

John D. Hosler— The oracle at Delphi advised, “Know Thyself,” and the rock band Rage Against the Machine screamed, “Know Your Enemy.” Which is more important for winning a war? Or rather, is it both? Military historians are keenly interested in the extent to which armies knew and understood the abilities

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Creating “William the Bastard”

David Bates— The fact that William the Conqueror’s parents, Robert, duke of Normandy from 1027 to 1035, and Herleva, were not married according to the rules of the Christian Church has over the years massively influenced interpretations of his life, his prospects, and his personality. It has been transmitted across

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