Medieval and Renaissance History
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History of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. 2: From the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian
History of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. 2
From the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian
Paperback      ISBN: 0486203999

Generally acknowledged to be Professor Bury's masterpiece, this panoramic and painstakingly accurate reconstruction of the Western and Byzantine Roman empire covers the period from 395 A.D., the death of Theodosius I, to 565 A.D., the death of Justinian. Quoting contemporary documents in full or in great extent, the author describes and analyzes the forces and cross-currents that controlled Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, the Persian and Teutonic regions; the rise of Byzantine power, territorial expansion, conflict of church and state, legislative and diplomatic changes; and scores of similar topics.
Detailed coverage of such important figures as Belisarius, Justinian, Procopius, Alaric, Attila, and many others is given as well as a complete contemporary account of a visit to Attila's court. The Vandal empire, the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Lombards, etc., are given extensive treatment. Professor Bury investigates the literary, cultural, and religious history of the period in great detail and relates it to the organization and development of the Eastern and Western empires and the diffusion of Byzantine culture into Italy.
"An important and valuable contribution to our knowledge of a period the history of which has been too much neglected." -- Classical Review.

Metamorphosis and Identity
Metamorphosis and Identity
Hardcover      ISBN: 1890951226

An exploration of the roles of metamorphosis and hybridity in the establishment of personal identity, with particular emphasis on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The four studies in this book center on the Western obsession with the nature of personal identity. Focusing on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but with an eye toward antiquity and the present, Caroline Walker Bynum explores the themes of metamorphosis and hybridity in genres ranging from poetry, folktales, and miracle collections to scholastic theology, devotional treatises, and works of natural philosophy. She argues that the obsession with boundary-crossing and otherness was an effort to delineate nature's regularities and to establish a strong sense of personal identity, extending even beyond the grave. She examines historical figures such as Marie de France, Gerald of Wales, Bernard Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, and Dante, as well as modern fabulists such as Angela Carter, as examples of solutions to the perennial question of how the individual can both change and remain constant. Addressing the fundamental question for historians--that of change--Bynum also explores the nature of history writing itself.

Machiavelli in Hell
Machiavelli in Hell
Paperback      ISBN: 0679743421

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

In this intellectual biography, Sebastian de Grazia presents a new vision of Machiavelli that evokes, with uncanny precision, the great Florentine thinker's presence. After providing an engrossing account of Machiavelli's childhood and the period following his imprisonment and torture, the book turns to an examination of The Prince. The details of Machiavelli's life never cease to weave in and out of the narrative, as we read how his ideas gather power and coalesce into a unified vision of humankind and the world.

"De Grazia's achievement is to present a totally comprehensive view of Machiavelli mediated entirely through Machiavelli's own language."--Journal of Modern History
Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe
Four Queens
The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe
Hardcover      ISBN: 0670038431

Set against the backdrop of the turbulent thirteenth century, a time of chivalry and crusades, poetry, knights, and monarchs comes the story of the four beautiful daughters of the count of Provence whose brilliant marriages made them the queens of France, England, Germany, and Sicily.


From a cultured childhood in Provence, each sister was propelled into a world marked by shifting alliances, intrigue, and subterfuge. Marguerite, the eldest, whose resolution and spirit would be tested by the cold splendor of the Palais du Roi in Paris; Eleanor, whose soaring political aspirations would provoke her kingdom to civil war; Sanchia, the neglected wife of the richest man in England who bought himself the crown of Germany; and Beatrice, whose desire for sovereignty was so acute that she risked her life to earn her place at the royal table.

Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science And Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe
Mysteries of the Middle Ages
The Rise of Feminism, Science And Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe
Hardcover      ISBN: 0385495552

After the long period of cultural decline known as the Dark Ages, Europe experienced a rebirth of scholarship, art, literature, philosophy, and science and began to develop a vision of Western society that remains at the heart of Western civilization today.
By placing the image of the Virgin Mary at the center of their churches and their lives, medieval people exalted womanhood to a level unknown in any previous society. For the first time, men began to treat women with dignity and women took up professions that had always been closed to them.
The communion bread, believed to be the body of Jesus, encouraged the formulation of new questions in philosophy: Could reality be so fluid that one substance could be transformed into another? Could ordinary bread become a holy reality? Could mud become gold, as the alchemists believed? These new questions pushed the minds of medieval thinkers toward what would become modern science.
Artists began to ask themselves similar questions. How can we depict human anatomy so that it looks real to the viewer? How can we depict motion in a composition that never moves? How can two dimensions appear to be three? Medieval artists (and writers, too) invented the Western tradition of realism.
On visits to the great cities of Europe--monumental Rome; the intellectually explosive Paris of Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas; the hotbed of scientific study that was Oxford; and the incomparable Florence of Dante and Giotto--Cahill brilliantly captures the spirit of experimentation, the colorful pageantry, and the passionate pursuit of knowledge that built the foundations for the modern world. Bursting with stunning four-color art, MYSTERIES OF THE MIDDLE AGES is the ultimate Christmas gift book.

Stuart Britain: A Very Short Introduction
Stuart Britain
A Very Short Introduction
Paperback      ISBN: 0192854003

The Great Fire, the Black Death, flip-flopping religious persecution, the overthrow and reinstatement of the monarchy. The Stuart Britain era, a notch on the timeline spanning roughly 1603-1714, is one of the most interesting times in the history of Britain. John Morrill's Stuart Britain: A Very Short Introduction brings us the major events, characters, and issues of the day. Special attention is given to the defeat King Charles I by the Parliamentary Army, and the successive waves of authoritarian Puritan, Protestant and Catholic rule which followed. Vividly illustrated and full of intriguing details, this is an ideal introduction a fascinating time.

The Last Knight: The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era
The Last Knight
The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era
Paperback      ISBN: 0060754036

There may not be a more fascinating a historical period than the late fourteenth century in Europe. The Hundred Years' War ravaged the continent, yet gallantry, chivalry, and literary brilliance flourished in the courts of England and elsewhere. It was a world in transition, soon to be replaced by the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration -- and John of Gaunt was its central figure.

In today's terms, John of Gaunt was a multibillionaire with a brand name equal to Rockefeller. He fought in the Hundred Years' War, sponsored Chaucer and proto-Protestant religious thinkers, and survived the dramatic Peasants' Revolt, during which his sumptuous London residence was burned to the ground. As head of the Lancastrian branch of the Plantagenet family, Gaunt was the unknowing father of the War of the Roses; after his death, his son usurped the crown from his nephew, Richard II. Gaunt's adventures represent the culture and mores of the Middle Ages as those of few others do, and his death is portrayed in The Last Knight as the end of that enthralling period.

The Mongol Warlords: Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Hulegu, Tamerlane
The Mongol Warlords
Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Hulegu, Tamerlane
Hardcover      ISBN: 1860194079

A very broad and complete coverage of the Mongolian culture and its military campaigns. The book focuses on the four great Mongol leaders: Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Hulego and Tamerlane.

The Templar Treasure at Gisors
The Templar Treasure at Gisors
Paperback      ISBN: 0892819723

A comprehensive examination of the enigma of the Templars and their lost treasure based on original source documents.

- Considers the possibility that the medieval castle of Gisors hides the Templar treasure.

- Examines all the evidence for a secret order within the Templars, whose heretical ideology brought down the wrath of King Philip of France.

When French King Philip the Fair ordered the arrest of the Knights Templars and the confiscation of their property in 1307, the Templars were one of the most powerful forces in Europe, answerable only to the Pope. It was also one of the richest, despite its knights' vow of poverty. Yet not a penny of their immense treasure was ever found. The hunt for this lost treasure has centered on a number of locations, among which is the medieval city of Gisors, a site on the Normandy and French border that is honeycombed with complex underground passageways and chambers. Mysteriously, all attempts to discover what may be concealed in these subterranean corridors are rigorously discouraged by contemporary authorities.

The enigma of the treasure is but one of the many unsolved mysteries concerning this order that continues to haunt our imaginations. Who were these poor knights of Christ who made denial of Jesus a requirement of acceptance into the order? What were their true purposes and what was the nature of their secret that drew the wrath of the king of France down on their heads? Was there really a treasure and, if so, what was it--material wealth or something more powerful, such as the Holy Grail or the secret to the philosopher's stone? Was there a secret order within the order that authorized the heretical practices for which they were condemned? In a search for answers to these and other questions, Celtic and medieval scholar Jean Markale goes back to original source documents in an attempt to clear away the baseless assumptions that have sprung up about the Templars and to shine new light on their activities.
Courtly Love: The Path of Sexual Initiation
Courtly Love
The Path of Sexual Initiation
Paperback      ISBN: 0892817712

A comprehensive examination of the rituals and philosophies that created and sustained medieval troubadour culture

- Debunks the myth of the platonic nature of courtly love, showing the many sexual similarities to the Tantric practices of India

- Reveals how the roots of courtly love go back to the matriarchal cultures of neolithic times

The widespread turmoil that shook Western Europe as it entered the new millennium with the year 1000 prompted a vast reevaluation of the chief tenets of society. Foremost among these was a new way of looking at love and the place held by women in society. The Christian-inspired tradition that at best viewed women with contempt--and often with outright fear and loathing--was replaced by a new perspective, one in which women enjoyed a central role as the inspiration for all male action. For several hundred years courtly love, with its emphasis on adultery, carnal pleasures, and the power of the feminine, dominated European culture despite its flouting of conventional Christian morality.

Medieval historians by and large have tended to regard courtly love as a sterile parlor game for the upper classes. To the contrary, Jean Markale shows that the stakes were much higher: the roots of the ritual re-created here go all the way back to the great mother goddess. In addition, the platonic nature attributed to these relationships is based on a misunderstanding of courtly love; underneath the refined poetry of the troubadours' verses flourished a system of sexual initiation that rivaled Indian Tantra.