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‘The revolt of the medievalists’: Directions in recent research on the twelfth-century renaissance

Ever since Wallace K. Ferguson contributed to making ‘the revolt of the medievalists’ a slogan for the medievalists’ attack on the modernity of Jacob Burckhardt’s Italian renaissance, the question of ‘renaissance’ or ‘renaissances’ has been much discussed.

King Æthelstan in the English, Continental and Scandinavian Traditions of the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries

Using close textual analysis, this thesis has identified similarities and differences in the ways in which the Anglo-Saxon king, Æthelstan, is depicted in narrative sources from England, the Continent and Scandinavia during the tenth to the thirteenth centuries

Autumn of the Middle Ages: A Century Later

Taking a look at the influence of Johan Huizinga’s Autumn of the Middle Ages.

Who Is the Historian?

How do historians bring past events to life and why is their role so important in society?

BOOK REVIEW: Spies, Sadists, and Sorcerers: The History You Weren’t Taught in School

A review of Dominic Selwood’s, ‘Spies, Sadists, and Sorcerers: The History you Weren’t Taught in School’

BOOK REVIEW: Who is the Historian? by Nigel A. Raab

Danièle Cybulskie, @5MinMedievalist, gives a review of Nigel A. Raab’s latest book, ‘Who is the Historian’.

Saladin and the Problem of the Counter-Crusade in Medieval Europe

The phrase Counter-Crusade is, obviously, a modern construct, but in 1144 the military situation in Syria did drastically change.

Danish ferocity and abandoned monasteries: the twelfth-century view

Apart from brief accounts of attacks on Lindisfarne and Donemutha in the 790s, there are almost no accounts of Viking attacks on Anglo-Saxon monasteries in contemporary sources. There are however many in twelfth century sources, most of them fictive or largely so. This article tries to explain why twelfth-century authors found it so important to invent stories of Viking brutality towards monks and nuns and what ideas and material they used to create their stories

The Empire that was always Decaying: The Carolingians (800-888)

According to most textbooks, the first Western empire to succeed its late Roman predecessor suddenly burst upon the scene, on Christmas Day 800 in Rome, when Pope Leo III turned Charles, King of the Franks and Lombards, and patricius (protector) of the Romans, into an imperator augustus

Writing History in a Paperless World: Archives of the Future

The question I want to pose here concerns the form of archives that will be available to the historians of the early twenty-first century. Or put differently – what will be left behind of the contemporary present in lieu of paper for the future historians?

The Duel between Guy of Steenvoorde and Iron Herman

…both fought bitterly. But Guy knocked his adversary from his horse and kept him down easily with his lance as he was struggling to get up. Then his opponent, running nearer, ran Guy’s horse through with his sword, disemboweling it.

John Hardyng and his Chronicle

Hardyng, an ex-soldier and spy of Henry V, set about composing the work after he ‘retired’ to the Augustinian priory at South Kyme, Lincolnshire, in the 1440s or 1450s.

From Agincourt (1415) to Fornovo (1495): aspects of the writing of warfare in French and Burgundian 15th century historiographical literature

The object of this thesis is to inquire into some major aspects of the historiographical writing of war in France and Burgundy, from Henry V’s invasion of France in 1415 to the first wars of Italy.

Anna Komnene and her Sources for Military Affairs in the Alexiad

Without discounting the contribution of oral traditions of storytelling to the Alexiad, the study favours the growing consensus that Anna was more reliant on written material, especially campaign dispatches and military memoirs.

Teaching Historical Understanding with Christopher Columbus

I’m a big fan of Christopher Columbus. Not the man, the phenomenon.

Senses of the Past: The Old English Vocabulary of History

How did the Anglo-Saxons think about history?

Reporting Scotland in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The aim of this paper is to explore the changing way in which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports events in northern Britain, beyond the Anglo-Saxon territories, in the hope of gaining a better understanding both of events in that region and, perhaps more interestingly, the way in which the Chronicle was constructed.

The Ghosts of Chroniclers Past: The Transmission and Legacy of the Chroniques of Jean Froissart in the Anchiennes Cronicques d’Engleterre compiled by Jean de Wavrin

This article investigates the transmission and the transformation of Froissart’s Chroniques into the Wavrin compilation through a close reading of an episode in manuscript context.

The Rewriting of History in Amin Maalouf’s The Crusades Through Arab Eyes

I argue that while Maalouf brilliantly deconstructs the Western image of the Crusades as a heroic time by documenting the barbarity of the Crusaders without falling into the pitfall of simply inverting the terms of the dichotomy, the agenda driving his rewriting of this historical period leads him to partially repeat what his book is supposed to undo

BOOK REVIEW: Genoa ‘La Superba’: The Rise and Fall of a Merchant Pirate Superpower by Nicholas Walton

While most books about Italy have been dedicated to tourist hubs like Milan, Florence, Rome, Sicily and Venice, Genoa with its rich history, rugged landscape, and tenacious residents, has been given only a passing mention.

Pragmatic Literacy and Political Consciousness in Later Medieval England

This article examines the profound impact that the concept of pragmatic literacy has had on the research methodologies of medievalists. Particular attention is given to the insight it has afforded historians of political culture who seek to better understand the nature of political consciousness in this period.

Ernst Robert Curtius: A Medievalist’s Contempt for the Middle Ages

I began work on this talk ready to vent against Curtius. I have resisted his hold on my thinking and on that of medievalists generally, but only after benefitting hugely from his great book.

Magna Carta and the English Historical Review: A Review Article

As the most venerable of Anglophone historical periodicals, the English Historical Review has carried many new findings on Magna Carta. In what follows, I attempt a survey of this contribution.

Chronicles and Politics in the Reign of Edward II

Historians have tended to give more weight to sources such as governmental and legal records than to chronicles, not least because so many survive. They open up areas of history impossible to access through chronicles alone, and they also provide a much more precise and detailed political narrative.

Hero or Villain?: Two views on Simon de Montfort, Crusade Leader

There is perhaps no better medieval example of the phase ‘Truth is in the eye of the beholder’ than these two versions of the death of Simon de Montfort, the leader of the crusaders during the Albigensian Crusade.

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