This week’s five new books goes into politics, making art and one of the greatest knights of the Middle Ages.
Translated by Craig Taylor and Jane H.M. Taylor
Excerpt: In order to ensure that all who see or read this book are aware of the circumstances in which this book was initiated and completed, I should state that it was set in train by a number of renowned knights and gallant noblemen who themselves pursue noble and honourable deeds, and who knew the good and valiant marshal who is our subject, and knew of his ancestors – there are still many who are in that position. They had also been companions of his in all manner of knightly gatherings, and having seen his fortitude and courage under all sorts of conditions that might afflict the valiant, they came to believe that the name and deeds of so dauntless a knight should not be forgotten but rather recorded for distant posterity so that others might follow his example. Having come to this conclusion, they sought out someone fitting and worthy, and commissioned and contracted him to undertake it. The person appointed, thanks to his own reputation and the authority of those who gave the commission, accordingly promised with God’s help to accomplish the task to the best of his ability, abiding by their reports of Boucicaut’s deeds, and adding nothing of his own invention. It is thus that I undertook the commission, promising to follow faithfully the testimony of those who wish to remain anonymous; they hope thus to avoid any spiteful tongue’s saying that they are simply flattering the subject.
Edited by William Bain
Read ten articles in this book: The Medieval Contribution to Modern International Relations, by William Bain; “The Medieval and the International: A Strange Case of Mutual Neglect,” by Nicholas Rengger; “Metaphysics and the Problem of International Order,” by C.J.C Pickstock; “Secularism in Question: Hugo Grotius’s ‘Impious Hypothesis’ Again,” by Francis Oakley; “Between False-Universalism and Radical-Particularism: Thoughts on Thomas Hobbes and International Relations,” by Joshua Mitchell; “The Medieval Roman and Canon Law Origins of International Law,” by Joseph Canning; “Then and Now: The Medieval Conception of Just War Versus Recent Portrayals of the Just War Idea,” by James Turner Johnson; “Humanitarian Intervention in a World of Sovereign States: The Grotian Dilemma,” by James Muldoon; “The Medieval and Early Modern Legacy of Rights: The Rights to Punish and to Property,” by Camilla Boisen and David Boucher; “International Relations and the ‘Modern’ Middle Ages: Rival Theological Theorisations of International Order,” by Adrian Pabst
By John R. Sommerfeldt
Overview: The intellectual, cultural, and political renaissance that characterized the Europe of Charlemagne was threatened severely by invasions from all sides. Only Germany avoided the consequent phenomenon of feudalism. This was due to a series of rulers who provided protection to the people, reform to the Church, and patronage of cultural revival. From the thirteenth century, this cultural and political unity began to fragment, and by 1648 what had been a successful revival of the Roman Empire had been destroyed. In addition to tracing the political, cultural and religious history of medieval Germany, this volume examines the thought of outstanding German men and women, and includes an extensive account of the changing status of German Jews.
By Amira K. Bennison
Edinburgh University Press
Overview: This is the first book in English to provide a comprehensive account of the rise and fall of the Almoravids and the Almohads, the two most important Berber dynasties of the medieval Islamic west, an area that encompassed southern Spain and Portugal, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The Ṣanhāja Almoravids emerged from the Sahara in the 1050s to conquer vast territories and halt the Christian advance in Iberia. They were replaced a century later by their rivals, the Almohads, supported by the Maṣmūda Berbers of the High Atlas. Although both have often been seen as uncouth, religiously intolerant tribesmen who undermined the high culture of al-Andalus, this book argues that the eleventh to thirteenth centuries were crucial to the Islamisation of the Maghrib, its integration into the Islamic cultural sphere, and its emergence as a key player in the western Mediterranean, and that much of this was due to these oft-neglected Berber empires.
By Sylvie Neven
Excerpt: Recipe 21: Preparations of golden ink: If you want to make /(to write in) golden writing (as fine as you want). Take aurum musicum from the apothecary and grind that with water on a clean stone (and grind it) very well. Take one part of the liquid of gum arabic and the other part of common water. Stir the two liquids all together with the finger in a clean shell. Add the ground aurum musicum in the shell and mix all together in the thickness of a rubric. Write with it what you want and let it dry. Burnish it delicately with smooth wolf’s tooth so the writing becomes beautiful and shiny gold colour.