Tag medieval history

Medieval Strategy? The Great “Leper Conspiracy” of 1321

Steve Tibble— Researching the development of the crusader states helped me appreciate the sensitive and sophisticated nature of medieval strategy. But it also demonstrated how extraordinarily disappointing human beings could be—and still are, of course. At the end of the crusades, the Templars were suppressed by King Philip the Fair.

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Medieval Strategy? Do Fish Need Bicycles?

Steve Tibble— It is easy to see medieval warfare and politics as being long on activity, but chronically short on reflection. To misquote the 1970s feminist rallying cry, it is pretty obvious that hairy, unwashed medieval warriors needed strategy every bit as much as a fish needs a bicycle. Or

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The High Middle Ages

Steven Ozment— If experimentation and preservation characterized the early Middle Ages, self-discovery and definition marked the high Middle Ages (1000–1300). In this period Western people began to assert their identity as they came to know and impose themselves on others. Two larger developments made this possible. The first was the

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International Relations at the Field of Cloth of Gold

Glenn Richardson— That the Field of Cloth of Gold did not bring in its wake a universal peace of Christendom to match the high-flown rhetoric of the occasion does not prove insincerity on every side, nor that such ambitions were not serious – as has been the traditional reason for

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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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