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An illustrated guide to the Normans - the invaders of 1066 who changed English life forever The 1066 Norman conquest of England, led by William, Duke of Normandy ("the Conqueror"), was the single greatest political change England has ever seen. The Normans brought with them a new culture, which included law, architectural style and methods, and leisure pursuits. The old aristocracy was stripped of their assets and denounced, and in its place a new French aristocracy began to run the country - even bringing their language with them. The guide examines the impact the new Norman rule had on the English way of life. Look out for more Pitkin Guides on the very best of British history, heritage and travel.
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.
About a millennium ago, in Cairo, someone completed a large and richly illustrated book. In the course of thirty-five chapters, our unknown author guided the reader on a journey from the outermost cosmos and planets to Earth and its lands, islands, features and inhabitants. This treatise, known as The Book of Curiosities, was unknown to modern scholars until a remarkable manuscript copy surfaced in 2000. Lost Maps of the Caliphs provides the first general overview of The Book of Curiosities and the unique insight it offers into medieval Islamic thought. Opening with an account of the remarkable discovery of the manuscript and its purchase by the Bodleian Library, the authors use The Book of Curiosities to re-evaluate the development of astrology, geography and cartography in the first four centuries of Islam. Early astronomical 'maps' and drawings demonstrate the medieval understanding of the structure of the cosmos and illustrate the pervasive assumption that almost any visible celestial event had an effect upon life on Earth. Lost Maps of the Caliphs also reconsiders the history of global communication networks at the turn of the previous millennium. Not only is The Book of Curiosities one of the greatest achievements of medieval map-making, it is also a remarkable contribution to the story of Islamic civilization.
Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen(2009), Margaret Beaufort, The Red Queen(2010), and Jacquetta, Lady Rivers, The Lady of the Rivers (2011) are the subjects of the first three novels in Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War series, and of the three biographical essays in this book. Philippa Gregory and two historians, leading experts in their field who helped Philippa to research the novels, tell the extraordinary 'true' stories of the life of these women who until now have been largely forgotten by history, their background and times, highlighting questions which are raised in the fiction and illuminating the novels. With a foreword by Philippa Gregory - in which Philippa writes revealingly about the differences between history and fiction and examines the gaps in the historical record - and beautifully illustrated with rare portraits, The Women of the Cousins' Waris an exciting addition to the Philippa Gregory oeuvre.
The forty-seventh volume of Anglo-Saxon England begins with a record of the eighteenth conference of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, and ends with a fourth supplement to the Hand-list of Anglo-Saxon Non-Runic Inscriptions. Other articles in this volume cover a diverse range of subjects, including Skaldic art in Cnut's court, alliteration in Old English poetry, the northern world of an Anglo-Saxon mappa mundi and the Germanic context of Beowulf. Religious matters are given particular consideration in this volume: new light is shed on the lost St Margaret's crux nigra, and on Anglo-Breton contact between the tenth and twelfth centuries through an examination of St Kenelm and St Melor. Also included are an account of Archbishop Wulfstan's forgery of the 'laws of Edward and Guthrum', and an edition of the four sermons attributed to Candidus Witto. Each article is preceded by a short abstract.
From late antiquity through to the early middle ages, people across north-western Europe were inscribing runes on a range of different objects. Once identified and interpreted by experts, runes provide us with invaluable evidence for the early Germanic languages including English, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages and reveal a wealth of information about our early civilisations. Runes employ many techniques from informal scratchings to sophisticated inlaid designs on weapons, or the exquisite relief carvings of the Franks Casket. The task of reading and understanding them involves a good deal of detective-work, calling on expertise from a number of academic disciplines: archaeology, art history, linguistics, and even forensic science. This book tells the story of runes from their mysterious origins, their development as a script, to their use and meaning in the modern world. Illustrated with a range of beautiful objects from jewellery to tools and weapons, Runes will reveal memorials for the dead, business messages, charms and curses, insults and prayers, giving us a glimpse into the languages and cultures of Europeans over a thousand years ago.
The fifth instalment in this popular and highly successful series, Viking follows on from Legionary, Gladiator, Knight and Samurai, your guide to the Norse world of the tenth century ad. Discover everything you will need to become a successful Viking warrior: how to join a war band; what to look for in a good leader; how to behave at a feast; what weapons and armour to choose; how to fight in a shield wall; where to go raiding; how to plunder a monastery and ransom a monk; how to navigate at sea; and what to expect if you die gloriously in battle. Modern reconstructions and ancient artefacts, including 16 pages of brilliant colour images, will immerse the reader visually in the Viking world. The humorous text peppered with quotes from sagas and chronicles will take you on an engrossing journey from joining a raiding party to how to die gloriously.
A compelling history of the Black Death that scoured Europe in the mid 14th-century killing twenty-five million people. It was one of the worst human disasters in history. 'The bodies were sparsely covered that the dogs dragged them forth and devoured them...And believing it to be the end of the world, no one wept for the dead, for all expected to die.' Agnolo di Turo, Siena, 1348 In just over a thousand days from 1347 to 1351 the 'Black Death' travelled across medieval Europe killing thirty per cent of its population. It was a catastrophe that touched the lives of every individual on the continent. The deadly Y. Pestis virus entered Europe in October 1347 by Genoese galley at Messina, Sicily. In the spring of 1348 it was devastating the cities of central Italy, by June 1348 it had reached France and Spain, and by August England. At St Mary's, Ashwell, Hertfordshire, an anonymous hand carved the following inscription for 1349: 'Wretched, terrible, destructive year, the remnants of the people alone remain.' According to the Foster scale, a kind of Richter scale of human disaster, the plague of 1347-51 is the second worst catastrophe in recorded history. Only World War II produced more death, physical damage, and emotional suffering. Defence analysts use it as the measure of thermonuclear war - in geographical extent, abruptness and casualties. In 'The Great Mortality' John Kelly retraces the journey of the Black Death using original source material - diary fragments, letters and manuscripts. It is the devastating portrait of a continent gripped by an epidemic, but also a very personal story, narrated by the individuals whose lives were touched by it.
In a museum in the small town of Bayeux in Normandy, specially devised to hold this single object, is a strip of linen nearly one thousand years old. It is 230 feet long and about 20 inches high. On it, embroidered in brightly colored wool, are figures of men, animals, buildings, and ships. In a series of vivid scenes, with a running explanatory text in Latin, it relates the invasion of England by William of Normandy and his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Nothing remotely like the Bayeux Tapestry exists anywhere in the world, yet comparatively few people have been to Bayeux to see it and appreciate how totally absorbing it is. This book, first published in 1985, reproduces the Tapestry in full color and makes it accessible as never before. The story told in the Tapestry has all the ingredients of an epic poem, and a cast of characters that includes King Edward the Confessor; his liegeman, Duke Harold; and William, Duke of Normandy. When Edward dies, Harold succeeds him as king. William, who has a better dynastic claim, invades England, and at the Battle of Hastings Harold is defeated and killed. Here the Tapestry breaks off, but it probably originally concluded with William's coronation--the beginning of a sequence of monarchs that has continued virtually unbroken until today, and of the English nation as we know it. The Tapestry is reproduced in full color over 146 pages, with captions on a fold-out page for easy reference. A second reproduction of the Tapestry in black and white has a detailed accompanying commentary. Sir David Wilson, former Director of the British Museum, provides an up-to-date summary of the historical evidence, explaining each episode and coveringrelated topics such as the costumes, armor, ships, buildings, and customs. One of the primary sources for the history of the period, the Tapestry is a social document of incalculable value. It is the sole survivor of an art form that may once have been widespread, the wall-hanging commemorating the deeds of a great man.
Portrays Elizabeth I's turbulent life and times and the achievements of the talented men of the time, among them Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and William Shakespeare. Look out for more Pitkin Guides on the very best of British history, heritage and travel.
The Vikings maintain their grip on our imagination, but their image is too often distorted by medieval and modern myth. It is true that they pillaged, looted, and enslaved. But they also settled peacefully and developed a vast trading network. They traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships, not only to raid, but also to explore. Despite their fearsome reputation, the Vikings didn't wear horned helmets, and even the infamous berserkers were far from invincible.
By dismantling the myths, "The Age of the Vikings" allows the full story of this period in medieval history to be told. By exploring every major facet of this exciting age, Anders Winroth captures the innovation and pure daring of the Vikings without glossing over their destructive heritage.
He not only explains the Viking attacks, but also looks at Viking endeavors in commerce, politics, discovery, and colonization, and reveals how Viking arts, literature, and religious thought evolved in ways unequaled in the rest of Europe. He shows how the Vikings seized on the boundless opportunities made possible by the invention of the longship, using it to venture to Europe for plunder, to open new trade routes, and to settle in lands as distant as Russia, Greenland, and the Byzantine Empire. Challenging the image of the Vikings that comes so easily to mind, Winroth argues that Viking chieftains were no more violent than men like Charlemagne, who committed atrocities on a far greater scale than the northern raiders.
Drawing on a wealth of written, visual, and archaeological evidence, "The Age of the Vikings" sheds new light on the complex society and culture of these legendary seafarers.
There have been many books about the Vikings, but few that see them from their own point of view. Most accounts rely heavily on the records of prejudiced observers (who saw the Vikings only as savage raiders) or the archaeological record, which tells us much about their material culture but little about their values. This classic book reveals how the Vikings saw themselves: portrayed in their own writings or in the reports of people who knew them closely. Using a series of translations from primary sources including runic inscriptions, literary works, rare historical accounts and eye-witness reports, this book brings the Viking world to life.
A powerful account of the life of Tamerlane the Great (1336-1405), the last master nomadic power, one of history's most extreme tyrants, and the subject of Marlowe's famous play. Marozzi travelled in the footsteps of the great Mogul Emperor of Samarkland to write this wonderful combination of history and travelogue. The name of the last great warlord conjures up images of mystery and romance: medieval warfare on desert plains; the clash of swords on snow-clad mountains; the charge of elephants across the steppes of Asia; the legendary opulence and cruelty of the illiterate, chess-playing nemesis of Asia. He ranks alongside Alexander as one of the world's great conquerors, yet the details of his life are scarcely known in the West. He was not born to a distinguished family, nor did he find his apprenticeship easy - at one point his mobile army consisted only of himself, his wife, seven companions and four horses - but his dominion grew with astonishing rapidity. In the last two decades of the fourteenth century and the beginning of the fifteenth, he blazed through Asia. Cities were razed to the ground, inhabitants tortured without mercy, sometimes enemies were buried alive - more commonly they were decapitated. On the ruins of Baghdad, Tamerlane had his princes erect a pyramid of 90,000 heads. During his lifetime he sought to foster a personal myth, exaggerating the difficulties of his youth, laying claim to supernatural powers and a connection to Genghis Khan. This myth was maintained after his death in legend, folklore, poetry, drama and even opera, nowhere more powerfully than in Marlowe's play - he is now as much a literary construct as a historical figure. Justin Marozzi follows in his path and evokes his legacy in telling the tale of this fabulously cruel, magnificent and romantic warrior.
A new narrative history of the Viking Age, interwoven with exploration of the physical remains and landscapes that the Vikings fashioned and walked: their rune-stones and ship burials, settlements and battlefields. To many, the word 'Viking' brings to mind red scenes of rape and pillage, of marauders from beyond the sea rampaging around the British coastline in the last gloomy centuries before the Norman Conquest. It is true that Britain in the Viking Age was a turbulent, violent place. The kings and warlords who have impressed their memories on the period revel in names that fire the blood and stir the imagination: Svein Forkbeard and Edmund Ironside, Ivar the Boneless and Alfred the Great, Erik Bloodaxe and Edgar the Pacifier amongst many others. Evidence for their brutality, their dominance, their avarice and their pride is still unearthed from British soil with stunning regularity. But this is not the whole story. In Viking Britain, Thomas Williams has drawn on his experience as project curator of the British Museum exhibition of Vikings: Life and Legend to show how the people we call Vikings came not just to raid and plunder, but to settle, to colonize and to rule. The impact on these islands was profound and enduring, shaping British social, cultural and political development for hundreds of years. Indeed, in language, literature, place-names and folklore, the presence of Scandinavian settlers can still be felt, and their memory - filtered and refashioned through the writings of people like J.R.R. Tolkien, William Morris and G.K.Chesterton - has transformed the western imagination. This remarkable book makes use of new academic research and first-hand experience, drawing deeply from the relics and landscapes that the Vikings and their contemporaries fashioned and walked: their runestones and ship burials, settlements and battlefields, poems and chronicles. The book offers a vital evocation of a forgotten world, its echoes in later history and its implications for the present.
In his bestselling book 1421:The Year China Discovered the World, Gavin Menzies revealed that it was the Chinese that discovered America, not Columbus. Now he presents further astonishing evidence that it was also Chinese advances in science, art, and technology that formed the basis of the European Renaissance and our modern world. In his bestselling book 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, Gavin Menzies presented controversial and compelling evidence that Chinese fleets beat Columbus, Cook and Magellan to the New World. But his research has led him to astonishing new discoveries that Chinese influence on Western culture didn't stop there. Until now, scholars have considered that the Italian Renaissance - the basis of our modern Western world - came about as a result of a re-examining the ideas of classical Greece and Rome. A stunning reappraisal of history is about to be published. Gavin Menzies makes the startling argument that a sophisticated Chinese delegation visited Italy in 1434, sparked the Renaissance, and forever changed the course of Western civilization. After that date the authority of Aristotle and Ptolemy was overturned and artistic conventions challenged, as was Arabic astronomy and cartography. Florence and Venice of the 15th century attracted traders from across the world. Menzies presents astonishing evidence that a large Chinese fleet, official ambassadors of the Emperor, arrived in Tuscany in 1434 where they met with Pope Eugenius IV in Florence. A mass of information was given by the Chinese delegation to the Pope and his entourage - concerning world maps (which Menzies argues were later given to Columbus), astronomy, mathematics, art, printing, architecture, steel manufacture, civil engineering, military machines, surveying, cartography, genetics, and more. It was this gift of knowledge that sparked the inventiveness of the Renaissance - Da Vinci's inventions, the Copernican revolution, Galileo, etc. Following 1434, Europeans embraced Chinese intellectual ideas, discoveries, and inventions, which formed the basis of European civilization just as much as Greek thought and Roman law. In short, China provided the spark that set the Renaissance ablaze.
Revolt and upheaval in medieval Britain by a brilliant new narrative historian, 'Summer of Blood' breaks new ground in its portrayal of the personalities and politics of the bloody days of June 1381. The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 is one of the most dramatic and bloody events in English history. Starting with village riots in the Essex countryside, chaos rapidly spread across much of the south-east of England, as tens of thousands of ordinary men and women marched in fury to London, torching houses, slaughtering their social superiors and terrifying the life out of those who got in their way. The burning down of Savoy Palace, home to the most powerful magnate in the realm, marked one of the Revolt's most violent episodes. The Peasants' Revolt has remained an underexplored period of history. In revisiting the bloody events of 1381, Dan Jones has brought back to glorious life the squalor, drama and complex hierarchies of a society that until now seemed almost too distant to imagine. His examination of village life and the failings of government from the perspective of the Revolt's key players is both intellectually stimulating and compulsively readable. Vivid, atmospheric and beautifully written, this is historical writing of the highest quality.
Though England was the emerging super-state in the medieval British Isles, its story is not the only one Britain can offer; there is a wider context of Britain in Europe, and the story of this period is one of how European Latin and French culture and ideals colonised the minds of all the British peoples. This engaging and accessible introduction offers a truly integrated perspective of medieval British history, emphasising elements of medieval life over political narrative, and offering an up-to-date presentation and summary of medieval historiography. Featuring figures, maps, a glossary of key terms, a chronology of rulers, timelines and annotated suggestions for further reading and key texts, this textbook is an essential resource for undergraduate courses on medieval Britain. Supplementary online resources include additional further reading suggestions, useful links and primary sources.
The Horrible History of the World presents the foul but fascinating story of humans from brain-nibbling Neanderthals to terrified teenage soldiers in the twentieth century. You can discover why Alexander the Great banned beards, what smelly sport was played by samurai warriors and who tried to bump off her enemies with a cake made with poisoned bath-water. It's all you ever need to know about the wicked world - all the gore and more!
For a zitty face. Take urine eight days old and heat it over the fire; wash your face with it morning and night. In late medieval England, ordinary people, apothecaries and physicians gathered up practical medical tips for everyday use. While some were sensible herbal cures, many were weird and wonderful. This book selects some of the most revolting or remarkable remedies from medieval manuscripts in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. There are embarrassing ailments and painful procedures, icky ingredients and bizarre beliefs. The would-be doctors seem oblivious to pain, and any animal, vegetable or mineral, let alone bodily fluid, can be ground up, smeared on or inserted for medical benefit. Similar ingredients are used in 'recipes' for how to make yourself invisible, how to make a woman love you, how to stop dogs from barking at you and how to make freckles disappear. Written in the down-to-earth speech of the time, these remedies often blur the distinction between medicine and magic. They also give a humorous insight into the strange ideas, ingenuity and bravery of men and women in the Middle Ages, and a glimpse of the often gruesome history of medicine through time. The remedies have been collected and transcribed from fifteenth-century manuscripts by students at the University of Oxford. Modern English translations, for easier reading, are given alongside the original Middle English.
The very name Black Death sends shivers up spines, and summons up the worst nightmares. In the Middle Ages, the onset of this mysterious plague that killed millions of victims, many within a few hours, spread fear, panic and self-loathing. This colourfully illustrated book, revised for 2019, recalls the history, the horrors, and the heroism encountered when this mysterious plague struck Britain in 1348-49. With one third of the population wiped out by a disease so swift that neither prayer nor potions could check its progress, this was indeed catastrophe on a nationwide scale which shook the very foundations of feudal society. And yet society survived. Perhaps this is the ultimate hopeful message of a catastrophe now as much myth as history.
Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize, Cundill History Prize, Fage and Oliver Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award Winner of the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2019 'Astonishing, staggering' Ben Okri, Daily Telegraph A groundbreaking history that will transform our view of West Africa By the time of the 'Scramble for Africa' in the late nineteenth century, Africa had already been globally connected for many centuries. Its gold had fuelled the economies of Europe and Islamic world since around 1000, and its sophisticated kingdoms had traded with Europeans along the coasts from Senegal down to Angola since the fifteenth century. Until at least 1650, this was a trade of equals, using a variety of currencies - most importantly shells: the cowrie shells imported from the Maldives, and the nzimbu shells imported from Brazil. Toby Green's groundbreaking new book transforms our view of West and West-Central Africa. It reconstructs the world of kingdoms whose existence (like those of Europe) revolved around warfare, taxation, trade, diplomacy, complex religious beliefs, royal display and extravagance, and the production of art. Over time, the relationship between Africa and Europe revolved ever more around the trade in slaves, damaging Africa's relative political and economic power as the terms of monetary exchange shifted drastically in Europe's favour. In spite of these growing capital imbalances, longstanding contacts ensured remarkable connections between the Age of Revolution in Europe and America and the birth of a revolutionary nineteenth century in Africa. A Fistful of Shells draws not just on written histories, but on archival research in nine countries, on art, praise-singers, oral history, archaeology, letters, and the author's personal experience to create a new perspective on the history of one of the world's most important regions.
Virtue and Venom traces the history of a previously neglected genre, the catalog of women, from its origins in Greece and Rome to the late Middle Ages, revealing the catalogs' considerable importance as cultural documents of the evolution of the Western definition of womankind. These catalogs were simple listings of past heroines, sometimes described in extended biographies, sometimes merely enumerated by name. Catalog heroines often appeared in familiar guises anonymous mothers of great men, fascinating seductresses, self-effacing spouses, abused victims of love, strong and brilliant achievers. Written by some of the finest authors of the ages, the catalogs fulfilled important functions. By defining women typologically, they instilled stereotypes in the popular mind, and by illustrating proper and improper feminine conduct they reinforced the late medieval link between literature and ethics. Despite the repetitive form of the genre, the catalogs were extremely flexible, able to illustrate different, even antithetical views of femininity invoking the past as authority or reinterpreting the past in an attempt to associate femininity with changing cultural values. Thus, as well as being the vehicle for the transmission of knowledge, the form could also be manipulated to contest authority, in the guise of invoking it, and present new paradigms. Glenda McLeod examines a host of catalogs, including those of Homer, Hesiod, Vergil, Ovid, Juvenal, Plutarch, St. Jerome, and Jean de Meun, but gives special attention to Boccaccio's De claris mulieribus and Chaucer's Legend of Good Women. She then shows how the tradition ultimately produced the first major defense of womankind in Christine de Pizan's Cite des Dames. This book will be of interest to classicists, medievalists, Renaissance and feminist scholars, and anyone interested in the misogynist tradition in the West and the response it engendered.
In an era when women were supposed to be disciplined and obedient, Anna proved to be neither. Defying 16th-century social mores, she was the frequent subject of gossip because of her immodest dress and flirtatious behavior. When her wealthy father discovered that she was having secret, simultaneous affairs with a young nobleman and a cavalryman, he turned her out of the house in rage, but when she sued him for financial support, he had her captured, returned home and chained to a table as punishment. Anna eventually escaped and continued her suit against her father, her siblings and her home town in a bitter legal battle that was to last 30 years and end only upon her death.
Drawn from her surviving love letters and court records, The Burgermeister's Daughter is a fascinating examination of the politics of sexuality, gender and family in the 16th century, and a powerful testament to the courage and tenacity of a woman who defied the inequalities of this distant age.
King John is a study of a king and his political misfortunes. It is also an examination of a fascinating era-the early thirteenth century, a period of profound social and political change and unprecedented insecurity. W.L. Warren paints a picture of the king not only by assessing his achievements and failures but also by placing him in the context of the society in which he lived, the actions of his predecessors, and the problems posed by continuities independent of his making This account of John's reign is revealing and fair-minded, correcting distortions in the accounts of such chroniclers as Rogers of Wendover and Matthew Paris. Warren's analysis of the disputed succession, the conflict with France, the clash with Pope Innocent III, and the events leading to Magna Carta provide an intimate picture of the business of the Crown. Warren is unsparing in his criticism of the king's failings but acknowledges the more remarkable of John's personal qualities. "Perhaps the best general treatment of the life and reign of King John which has been published in England during the past forty years."-Times Literary Supplement "An account of John's life and reign based on modern research and set forth in a manner that will appeal as much to the general reader as to the student."-London Daily Telegraph "Warren deplored the gulf which had developed in history between the 'expert and the public' and aimed to bridge it by writing a narrative of John's career which was both scholarly and accessible . . . in this he succeeded brilliantly."-D.A. Carpenter
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