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BRITISH HISTORY > THE MIDDLE AGES - 1154 - 1485

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments This thread is dedicated to the Middle Ages.


The Middle Ages, 1154 - 1485

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/...


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Just to start off this thread, can I suggest this trilogy of the Hundred Years War by Jonathan Sumption as one of the best and most in-depth histories covering this conflict during the Middle Ages:

The Hundred Years War  Trial by Battle Vol 1 (Middle Ages Series) by Jonathan Sumption by Jonathan Sumption
Review:
"A rich book, filled with detail and incident, yet never losing a sense of the overall sweep of events." — Times Literary Supplement



Hundred Years War  Volume II, Trial by Fire (The Middle Ages Series) by Jonathan Sumption by Jonathan Sumption
Review:
"Like the great fourteenth-century chronicler Jean Froissart, to whom [Sumtion:] is a worthy successor, the value of his work lies at least in part in the fact that he includes so much that others leave out. There is no other book which tells the story of this phase of the war so graphically, "the savagery, the utter savagery," to say nothing of the sheer pointlessness, of it all. Divided Houses is a compelling, sustained exercise in original research: all in all, a remarkable achievement." — Times Literary Supplement



The Hundred Years War, Volume III  Divided Houses by Jonathan Sumption by Jonathan Sumption
Review:
"There is no other book which tells the story of this phase of the war so fluently or in such absorbing detail, or which conveys so graphically 'the savagery, the utter savagery,' to say nothing of the sheer pointlessness, of it all. Divided Houses is a compelling, sustained exercise in original research: all in all, a remarkable achievement." — Times Literary Supplement


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) For a possible decent book covering the 'Wars of the Roses' there is Trevor Royle's "Lancaster Against York". I have not read this account as of yet but his previous book on the Crimean War was excellent.

[image error] by Trevor Royle

One book that I have read and enjoyed was:

The Wars of the Roses (Cassell Military Paperbacks) by Robin Neillands by Robin Neillands


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments There is an Italian film coming out on DVD: Barbarossa, directed by Renzo Martinelli on the Italian campaign in 1154 - 62 starring Rutger Hauer as Barbarossa. Also starring Cécile Cassel, Antonio Cupo, F.Murray Abraham, Raz Degan, Cristo Jivkov
Although apparently made in English I'm a little sceptical with a large part of the cast being from the Balkans and Russia. On the other hand, all the accents probably will make it quite realistic (except of course none of the real people in this army ever spoke English...) What I mean is the language and dialect mess. Imagine Barbarossa giving orders and the soldiers barely understanding the directions...
Anyway, Rutger was often good for a lot of swashbuckling fun. Floris was his first role on Dutch TV back in the 70s about a knight in the Middle AGes.


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Bentley | 24006 comments Also intereresting.will it be available in the US.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) That sounds like an interesting movie Andre, thanks for the heads-up, I will have to keep an eye out for a copy. If you manage to view it let us all know what its like :)


Erick Burnham | 248 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "For a possible decent book covering the 'Wars of the Roses' there is Trevor Royle's "Lancaster Against York". I have not read this account as of yet but his previous book on the Crimean War was exc..."

I noticed that Robin Neillands has written a lot of books on a great many eras of British History. Does he compare at all to Keegan, John or Stephen Ambrose?


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: " If you manage to view it let us all know what its like :)"

Bentley, Rick, it's out on Italian DVD/Blu-Ray but that one just has Italian subtitles. It will be out in October both in France and Germany also as DVD and Blu. The German has both German dubs and English (since most of the cast is probably not all too good in English either I guess they dubbed both versions (but I'm not sure of this)
As to a US release - I'll keep you in the loop.


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments Thanks.


Teaberry | 2 comments Thank you for that link! I'm reading "The Story of Britain" right now, and I think that web site will be a great supplement to reinforce & expand upon the content of the book. Excellent!

Bentley wrote: "This thread is dedicated to the Middle Ages.


The Middle Ages, 1154 - 1485

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/..."



message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments The Story Of Britain by Roy Strong by Roy Strong

You are very welcome Teaberry. Remember when mentioning a book even if it were mentioned before to cite it with the book cover, the author's photo when available and the author's link.

I am very glad that you like the site.


message 12: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Aug 22, 2010 04:32PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Erick wrote: "'Aussie Rick' wrote: "For a possible decent book covering the 'Wars of the Roses' there is Trevor Royle's "Lancaster Against York". I have not read this account as of yet but his previous book on t..."

Hi Erick, In regards to your question about Robin Neillands I have found his books covering the early parts of British history quite good. They have been concise, interesting and well presented/researched. Some of his books covering WW2 have received some mixed reviews although they are not bad, he just holds a different opinion to some other authors in regards to aspects of WW2.

The Hundred Years War  Revised Edition by Robin Neillands & The Wars of the Roses (Cassell Military Paperbacks) by Robin Neillands by Robin Neillands


Teaberry | 2 comments Oooh, I better reply to this, and clarify which "Story of Britain" I'm reading (so sorry for not including the info the first time around):
The Story of Britain  From the Romans to the Present  A Narrative History by Rebecca Fraser by Rebecca Fraser

Bentley wrote: "The Story Of Britain by Roy Strong by Roy Strong

You are very welcome Teaberry. Remember when mentioning a book even if it were mentioned before to cite it with the book cove..."



message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments Yes thank you for making that clarification. We do our citations here in a certain way to avoid confusion and to make it easier for our group members to access information about the correct book, it's author and what the book cover might look like if they are looking for a specific edition. We want to be pointing our membership in the right direction. Also most importantly we want the powerful goodreads software to cross populate correctly across our site and across goodreads.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I've just ordered a copy of this newish (2009) book covering the War of the Roses, a very interesting period of British history;

The Red Rose and the White  The Wars of the Roses, 1453-1487 by John Sadler by John Sadler
"Beginning in 1453 and ending in 1487, The Red Rose and the White provides a gripping overview of the bitter dynastic struggle for supremacy that raged between the houses of York and Lancaster for thirty years, culminating in the dramatic events on Bosworth Field in 1485.

As well as offering a comprehensive account of the campaigns, battles and sieges of the conflict, the book also assesses the commanders and men involved and considers the weapons and tactics employed. Photographs, maps and portraits of the principal characters help to bring the period to life, whilst the fast-paced narrative conveys a sense of what it was actually like to fight in battles such as Towton or Tewkesbury – the effect of the arrow storm and the grim realities of hand-to-hand combat with edged and bladed weapons.

Skilfully weaving in political and social events to place the conflict in its context, The Red Rose and the White is a fascinating exploration of the turbulent period that would change the course of British history forever."


Sera | 128 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I've just ordered a copy of this newish (2009) book covering the War of the Roses, a very interesting period of British history;

[bookcover:The Red Rose and the White: The Wars of the Roses, 145..."


This one looks excellent, Aussie Rick. After you read it, let me know how it went, because I might pick it up. This period of English history is very interesting to me.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Sera, I'll let you know how it goes once I've finished it, just don't know when that may be :)


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here are two very good books covering the period when England had and then lost its Kingdom in France.



Agincourt  The King, the Campaign, the Battle by Juliet Barker by Juliet Barker
Publishers blurb:
Agincourt took place on 25 October 1415 and was a turning-point not only in the Hundred Years War between England and France but also in the history of weaponry. Azincourt (as it is now) is in the Pas-de-Calais, and the French were famously defeated by an army led by Henry V. Henry V's stunning victory revived England's military prestige and greatly strengthened his territorial claims in France. The exhausted English army of about 9,000 men was engaged by 20,000 Frenchmen, but the limited space of battle favoured the more compact English forces. The undisciplined charges of the French combined with the exceptional skill of the English archers contributed to a pivotal moment in European warfare. Not more than 1,600 English soldiers died; the French probably lost more than 6,000 men. Juliet Barker's shimmeringly brilliant narrative commemorates and analyses a canonical battle in British history.

Reviews:
"... a lively, stimulating account of this bloody day of battle. It is full of both serious research and entertaining gems. Barker makes the politics of the Hundred Years' War lucidly comprehensible." - Erica Wagner, (The Times)

"She brings vividly to life scenes such as the ceremonial surrender of Harfleur at the outset of the campaign, or the extraordinary pageant mounted by the city of London to celebrate the victorious king's return." - Richard Barber, (Literary Review)

"Juliet Barker is a talented and versatile historian ... [Her] deep understanding of the late Middle Ages shows in many fascinating asides about contemporary life. Biographical vignettes of the participants, great and small, liven up the pages ... This book is a model of how to write scholarly history for a wide audience. " - Jonathan Sumption, (Evening Standard)

"History writ fine, overflowing with extraordinary details ... a milestone in Agincourt studies." - Independent



Conquest  The English Kingdom of France 1417-1450 by Juliet Barker by Juliet Barker
Publishers blurb:
Author of the best-selling AGINCOURT, Juliet Barker now tells the equally remarkable, but largely forgotten, story of the dramatic years when England ruled France at the point of a sword. Henry V's second invasion of France in 1417 launched a campaign that would put the crown of France on an English head. Only the miraculous appearance of a visionary peasant girl - Joan of Arc - would halt the English advance. Yet despite her victories, her influence was short-lived: Henry VI had his coronation in Paris six months after her death and his kingdom endured for another twenty years. When he came of age he was not the leader his father had been. It was the dauphin, whom Joan had crowned Charles VII, who would finally drive the English out of France. Supremely evocative and brilliantly told, this is narrative history at its most colourful and compelling - the true story of those who fought for an English kingdom of France.

Review:
"Juliet Barker's new book is a magnificently readable account of the last four decades of that war, and a reminder that the reality was much nastier than the myth...Barker disentangles the dark threads to tell a story that never flags. I thought Agincourt was a superb book, but Conquest is even better. Once upon a time there was an English kingdom in France and Juliet Barker has brought it to extraordinary life." - Bernard Cornwell, (Mail on Sunday)


Michael Flanagan (Loboz) | 992 comments Thanks for the add 'Aussie Rick' I have Agincourt  The King, the Campaign, the Battle by Juliet Barker by Juliet BarkerJuliet Barker earmarked to read.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Michael, "Agincourt" is a pretty decent account so I think you'll enjoy it. I have the second book "Conquest" on my 'to-read' list.

Agincourt  The King, the Campaign, the Battle by Juliet Barker and Conquest  The English Kingdom of France 1417-1450 by Juliet Barker by Juliet Barker


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) This book is due out for release in March and may interest those with a passion for the history of The War of the Roses: "Fatal Colours: Towton, 1461 - England's Most Brutal Battle" by George Goodwin.

Fatal Colours  Towton, 1461 - England's Most Brutal Battle by George Goodwin by George Goodwin
Description:
The Battle of Towton 1461 was unique in its ferocity and brutality, as the armies of two kings of England engaged with murderous weaponry and in appalling conditions to conclude the first War of the Roses. Variously described as the largest, longest and bloodiest battle on English soil, Towton was fought with little chance of escape and none of surrender. Yet, as if too ghastly to contemplate, the battle itself and the turbulent reign of Henry VI were neglected for centuries. Combining medieval sources and modern scholarship, George Goodwin expertly creates the backdrop of fifteenth-century England. From the death of Henry V, with his baby son's inheritance first of England, then of France, he chronicles the vicissitudes of the 100 Years War abroad and the vicious in-fighting at home. He brilliantly describes a decade of breakdown of both king and kingdom, as increasingly embittered factions struggle for supremacy that could only be secured after the carnage of Towton. Fatal Colours includes a cast of strong and compelling characters: a warrior Queen, a ruthless king-making Earl, even a Papal Legate who excommunicates an entire army. At its centre is the first full explanation for the crippling incapacity of Henry VI - founder of Eton and King's College, Cambridge - but forever child-like. Fatal Colours masterfully brings to life a vibrant and violent age.

Review:
"Brilliantly researched and superbly written, Fatal Colours vividly brings to life one of the most dramatic periods of our history." - Tracy Borman


message 22: by André (last edited Jan 14, 2011 04:05AM) (new)

André (AndrH) | 2326 comments As Rick already mentioned, there are two good books out on the Agincourt battle (and the following years):

Agincourt by Juliet BarkerAgincourt and Conquest  The English Kingdom of France 1417-1450 by Juliet BarkerConquest: The English Kingdom of France 1417-1450 by Juliet BarkerJuliet Barker

For some reason a lot of people did not like the following one, also on the Battle of Agincourt.
It puts the numbers into a more realistic perspective and still stays true to the facts (moving a little away from the legendary tale the English no doubt created after the victory). It is extremely detailed and well researched.

Agincourt  A New History by Anne CurryAgincourt: A New History by Anne Curry

Anne Curry is a highly respected professor of Medieval History at the University of Southampton


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Good post Andre, I have picked up Ann Curry's book but for some reason it didn't interest me enough to buy it.

Agincourt  A New History by Anne Curry by Anne Curry


message 24: by André (last edited Jan 14, 2011 12:30PM) (new)

André (AndrH) | 2326 comments I like the way she is trying to set the record "straight" regarding the numbers of the French troops, reducing them to more realistic proportions, without ever questioning the military skill of the English.
She offers detailed facts and numbers, written documents etc. to support her research findings and theories.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Andre, I like the idea that she is trying to put forward a more balanced account of the battle, maybe it was a bit too dry for me to sink my teeth into :)


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments Hi Rick, yes, that might be. But for some reason I like it anyway. Also with all the details she adds the people jump to life. With that I mean all the people, not just the Lords and Princes, also the servants, squires etc.
Just thinking of the horses in this battle, what they had to go through, and when they panicked - any battle, it always angers me how humans have mistreated animals through the centuries, just used them without ever giving them the proper respect.
At least many Native American tribes showed Europeans a different view on how to handle and love horses.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Andre, I am going a little off thread here but only to mention two books in regards to animals in war that may interest you:

Animals in War by Jilly Cooper by Jilly Cooper

Tommy's Ark  Soldiers and Their Animals in the Great War by Richard Van Emden by Richard Van Emden


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments Thanks Rick!


message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments Let us get back on topic; thanks.


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments The Medieval Horse and its Equipment, c.1150-1450 (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London) by John ClarkThe Medieval Horse and its Equipment, c.1150-1450 by John Clark

Whether knight's charger or beast of burden, horses played a vital role in medieval life. The wealth of medieval finds excavated in London in recent years has, not surprisingly, included many objects associated with horses. This catalogue illustrates and discusses over four hundred such objects, among them harness, horseshoes, spurs and curry combs, from the utilitarian to highly decorative pieces. London served by horse traffic comes vividly in view. The introductory chapter draws on historical as well as archaeological sources to consider the role of the horse in medieval London. It looks at the price of horses and the costs of maintaining them, the hiring of 'hackneys' for riding, the use of carts in and around London, and the work of the 'marshal' or farrier. It discusses the evidence for the size of medieval horses and includes a survey of finds of medieval horse skeletons from London. It answers the key questions, how large a 'Great Horse' was, and why it took three horses to pull a cart. A new introduction to this edition provides an update on research and a supplementary bibliography. This is a basic work of reference for archaeologists and those studying medieval artefacts, and absorbing reading for everyone interested in the history of the horse and its use by humankind. JOHN CLARK is Curator (Medieval) at the Museum of London.


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments The Royal Book of Horsemanship, Jousting & Knightly Combat  Dom Duarte's 1438 Livro da Ensinana de Bem Cavalgar Toda Sela by Antonio Franco PretoThe Royal Book of Horsemanship, Jousting & Knightly Combat: Dom Duarte's 1438 Livro da Ensinana de Bem Cavalgar Toda Sela
by Antonio Franco Preto

For the first time, the King of Portugal's 1438 treatise, LIVRO DA ENSINANǁ DE BEM CAVALGAR TODA SELA, will be available in English. Never before translated even into modern Portuguese, Antonio Franco Preto has delivered a superb rendition of this most important treatise. The ROYAL BOOK OF HORSEMANSHIP, JOUSTING & KNIGHTLY COMBAT is a chivalric treatise written by a renowned medieval king who was an expert in his subject matter. Superbly educated, the king wrote about fundamentals of medieval horsemanship--including specifics about clothing, shoes, saddles and tack--about the seat and riding securely in the saddle, details about the medieval hunt, about how to joust, including roles for the knight's assistants and squires, about different kinds of lances, about wrestling and fighting with the sword. More than this, the work is a chivalric treatise on the par with Geoffrey de Charny's Book of Chivalry or Ramon Lull's Book of Knighthood & Chivalry. Its minute examination of the human spirit, in all its glory and failings, is woven with consummate skill into the text. D. Duarte discusses the moment of impact, for example, lance against lance, and about different ways that men fail at the point of impact. This failure is then discussed in the context of life. This work is a prize of medieval literature and Portuguese history that has languished in obscurity owing to its difficulty. But Dom Duarte was considered to be one of the great kings of Portugal, and his work, dedicated to his wife, left Portugal with her as she departed for Naples with the king's death. When the French overran Naples in 1495, the book was transferred to the French National Library, which it remains today. Although several old editions have appeared in Portugal, they were in the original language and were extremely difficult. Antonio Franco Preto has now rendered this text not only accessible, but preserved its elegance as well. It will be an important book to many: students of chivalric literature, the equestrian arts, jousting, Western martial arts, or Portuguese history.


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments Jousts and Tournaments  Charny and the Rules for Chivalric Sport in Fourteenth-Century France by Geoffroi De CharnyJousts and Tournaments: Charny and the Rules for Chivalric Sport in Fourteenth-Century France
by Geoffroi De Charny

Steven Muhlberger breaks new ground with a new book on Medieval tournaments in the 14th century by translating and analyzing the writings of a knight who knew his way around the tournament field.

Sir Geoffroi de Charny, the famous 14th century knight who rose thruogh his prowess to become one of the most highly regarded chivalric men of his age also brought the Shroud of Turin to Europe and perished carrying the famous Oriflamme at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. His "Questions" on the Joust, Tournaments and War--translated here for the first time into English- and accompanied with a penetrating analysis, promises to become a critical resource for students of medieval chivalry and tournaments of the later Middle Ages.


Geevee I've just bought this and thought it might interest people:

By Sword and Fire  Cruelty and Atrocity in Medieval Warfare by Sean McGlynn by Sean McGlynn


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments Geevee wrote: "I've just bought this and thought it might interest people:

By Sword and Fire  Cruelty and Atrocity in Medieval Warfare by Sean McGlynn by Sean McGlynn"


Geevee, I really had to laugh about the title of the book. It's probably written with the best intentions, but seriously, how can anyone think he can even start touching on all the incredible horrors and the indescribable suffering of millions of people on and off the battlefields (European and beyond) for over more than 1000 years and put them in one book with just 300 pages...

But please let me know what you think when you read it.


Geevee André wrote: "Geevee wrote: "I've just bought this and thought it might interest people:

By Sword and Fire  Cruelty and Atrocity in Medieval Warfare by Sean McGlynn by Sean McGlynn"..."


Hi André,
I came to it as it was recommended some time ago if I remember rightly in the BBC History Magazine or Daily Telegraph.

It has had some good reviews and so I am keen to see what he says - it's also published by Weidenfield & Nicholson so I took that as a hopeful sign of quality :)


message 36: by André (last edited Feb 06, 2012 01:51PM) (new)

André (AndrH) | 2326 comments Hi Geevee, I also read some reviews on the book - mostly good ones, but also some bad ones...

I just wondered what the writer was thinking. How he thought he could manage to put all the atrocities into just 300 pages - and those are only the ones we know of, using often tainted descriptions.
What of all the killing and slaughter of the simple folks - of which there are no reports, either because no one cared or simply because the survivors were not able to write.

If you like check post 22.
I read both books and I think them both outstanding. But just on what sources you base your story you not only get a very different number of casualties, you also get a very different course of action...
And they just cover one battle...

When I think about the hunt for the Cathars in the South of France. Just the few reports we know of would be enough to fill entire books with unspeakable and unimaginable atrocities and cruelty...

Agincourt  A New History by Anne CurryAgincourt: A New History by Anne Curry

Agincourt  Henry V and the Battle That Made England by Juliet BarkerAgincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England Juliet BarkerJuliet Barker

By Sword and Fire  Cruelty and Atrocity in Medieval Warfare by Sean McGlynnBy Sword and Fire: Cruelty and Atrocity in Medieval Warfare by Sean McGlynn


message 37: by Geevee (last edited Feb 07, 2012 12:15PM) (new)

Geevee André wrote: "Hi Geevee, I also read some reviews on the book - mostly good ones, but also some bad ones...

I just wondered what the writer was thinking. How he thought he could manage to put all the atrocities..."


Hi André,
Thanks for these recommendations. I've not read much on the medieval/middle ages period in terms of specific battles, strategy, tactics and their conduct so I thought this might be a good starter. I've noted the chapters and some text from the book's back cover.

"Medieval warfare is notoriously characterised by savagery and brutality. So how did the period that was racked by uprisings, suffering and social unrest come to be known as an Age of Chivalry... He reveals the barbarism of the era simply not as a natural outburst of a viloent age, but as a strategic means to achieve specific military objectives. Also explained is the rationale that lay behind the carnage - and how it became inextricably linked to chivalry: a code that held little meaning for ordinary soldiers, but was used to mitigate the excesses of bloodlust.

The chapters include:
Violence - introduction; crime and punishment.

War - The King as Judge and Executioner; The King as Warrior; The Church and the just war; Chivalry and the laws of war.

Battles - Battles in medieval warfare; Massacres of prisoners (Verden, Waterford, Hattin, Acre, Agincourt, Towton and Tewkesbury); Conclusions.

Sieges - Sieges in medieval warfare; Storm, sack and non-combatants (Jerusalem, Chateau Gaillard, Beziers, Limoges); Conclsuion.

Campaigns - Campaigns in medieval warfare; Ravaging (William the Conqueror's harrying of the north, King David's Scottish invasions, King John's winter campaign, The Black Princes Grand Chevuachee); Conclusions.

Medieval Strategy?
--------

Have you read these, both of which received favourable reviews?

Fatal Colours by George Goodwin by Fatal Colours (no cover or author photo)

Towton  The Battle of Palmsunday Field 1461 by John Sadler by John Sadler (no author photo)


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments Hi Geevee, I think you are right when you say it might be a good starter. It sounds like a "nice" introduction using just a few samples to make a point/statement.

Personally I always have a problem when writers sweep over the numbers of casualties and the mayhem without trying to make people understand what it was like to stab someone in the middle of a battle while looking him into the eye - all the while also trying to avoid being cut to pieces by the others running around the battlefield. The stink (just imagine an army of sweating Greeks, Romans or whatever in the sunshine...)
I never give up hope that by realizing what has been inflicted upon others who have lived and died before us we might one day grow over this and try - I'm saying try - to live in something close to peace...

I have not read the other two books.


message 39: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Feb 07, 2012 01:51PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I've seen that book around and have been thinking of getting a copy but have never committed. I'll be interested to hear your final thoughts on it Geevee as it does sound interesting.

I've also got an un-read copy of "Fatal Colours" to read one day soon!

Fatal Colours by George Goodwin by George Goodwin


message 40: by Becky (last edited Feb 07, 2012 05:22PM) (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1219 comments I've had Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages by Umberto Eco Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages by Umberto Eco Umberto Eco sitting here looking at me for a long time -I've read half of it. It's a rather academic book, the author being a philosopher (semiotician), linguist, and historian of the Middle Ages as well as a a best selling novelist and humorist ( a 21st century Renaissance man, if you will).

Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages by Umberto Eco is basically an investigation into the change in aesthetic valuing from the days of Aristotle Aristotle (350 BC) to
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, (1250 AD) a favorite of Umberto Eco.

Oh I should get to finishing it one of these afternoons - it's not long - 119 pages plus notes. It just really requires so much attention and thought -


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments Becky wrote: "I've had Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages by Umberto Eco Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages by Umberto Eco Umberto Eco ..."

Becky, your post made me smile. Here's why: I have a friend who's a scholar on Medieval art. So whenever we used to meet there was always a lively discussion going on between the two of us.
I like Roman art and think that after the fall of the Roman empire things went down big time (at first that is). People (or better: monks) were unable to draw anything remotely resembling a human being in its original form. Also they often gave them ugly faces because beauty, well, some monks thought beauty leads to vanity etc.etc.
So he tries showing me books with illustrations drawn by monks. I listen and look, full of ... appreciation of (early) medieval art... until I show him a Roman sculpture... often quite abruptly ending the discussion.
We always laughed a lot - so it was fun, never tense or what.
Your post made me think of those times. Sadly - because we both now live in different countries - our discussions have grown scarce.


Geevee Becky wrote: "I've had Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages by Umberto Eco Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages by Umberto Eco Umberto Eco sitting here looking at me fo..."

Becky it looks very interesting and I've added it to my TBR. I have started this today, and although written in the 1960s looks to be a good account:

The Black Death by Philip Ziegler by Philip Ziegler


message 43: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments Geevee, could you repost your post without the reference to your review; we do not have any self promotion here including back handed innocuous ones - we have to be consistent even though you did not I am sure consider it an infraction - it is a problem - because you are marketing something you did in a very harmless way - but nonetheless we have to be consistent. Thanks. I have sent you a copy of your post.


Geevee I finished this yesterday The Black Death by Philip Ziegler by Philip Ziegler and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm just starting The Popes  A History by John Julius Norwich by John Julius NorwichJohn Julius Norwich and it covers the English Pope Nicholas Breakspear (1154-59).


message 45: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments Thanks Geevee. That is the right stuff.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Geevee, I'll be keen to hear what you think of "The Popes" when you finish it as I have a copy at home waiting to be read.

The Popes  A History by John Julius Norwich by John Julius NorwichJohn Julius Norwich


Chakara | 14 comments So many different last names for the same people. I wonder if there is a book that explains the naming.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Just came across this new book which covers a most interesting subject:


Thomas Becket  Warrior, Priest, Rebel by John Guy by John Guy
Description:
Becket’s life story has been often told but never so incisively reexamined and vividly rendered as it is in John Guy’s hands. The son of middle-class Norman parents, Becket rose against all odds to become the second most powerful man in England. As King Henry II’s chancellor, Becket charmed potentates and popes, tamed overmighty barons, and even personally led knights into battle. After his royal patron elevated him to archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, however, Becket clashed with the King. Forced to choose between fealty to the crown and the values of his faith, he repeatedly challenged Henry’s authority to bring the church to heel. Drawing on the full panoply of medieval sources, Guy sheds new light on the relationship between the two men, separates truth from centuries of mythmaking, and casts doubt on the long-held assumption that the headstrong rivals were once close friends. He also provides the fullest accounting yet for Becket’s seemingly radical transformation from worldly bureaucrat to devout man of God.

Here is a Becket seldom glimpsed in any previous biography, a man of many facets and faces: the skilled warrior as comfortable unhorsing an opponent in single combat as he was negotiating terms of surrender; the canny diplomat “with the appetite of a wolf” who unexpectedly became the spiritual paragon of the English church; and the ascetic rebel who waged a high-stakes contest of wills with one of the most volcanic monarchs of the Middle Ages. Driven into exile, derided by his enemies as an ungrateful upstart, Becket returned to Canterbury in the unlikeliest guise of all: as an avenging angel of God, wielding his power of excommunication like a sword. It is this last apparition, the one for which history remembers him best, that will lead to his martyrdom at the hands of the king’s minions—a grisly episode that Guy recounts in chilling and dramatic detail.

An uncommonly intimate portrait of one of the medieval world’s most magnetic figures, Thomas Becket breathes new life into its subject—cementing for all time his place as an enduring icon of resistance to the abuse of power.


André (AndrH) | 2326 comments Michael Mann is working on preparations to film Agincourt, based on one or several of Bernard Cornwell's books.

Agincourt by Bernard CornwellAgincourt by Bernard CornwellBernard Cornwell


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Great news Andre!!! :)


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