Five new books about the Middle Ages, including a translation of two accounts of Milanese tyrants and a look at medieval manuscripts in a global context.
By Sue Brunning
The Boydell Press
Excerpt: This book explores how swords were perceived and experienced in early medieval northern Europe, focusing primarily on Anglo-Saxon England. Perceptions of swords emerge from how individuals treated these weapons: what they did with them, how they presented them, what they said about them and how they disposed of them. Human behaviour thus created histories and relationships for swords that are interpreted here by drawing on biographical approaches to material culture that have influenced archaeological research.
Translated by Gary Ianziti
Harvard University Press
Excerpt: The two works published in this volume were written at different times and under widely different circumstances. They also represent two very different moments in the career of their author, the once famed but now too often forgotten Milanese humanist Pier Candido Decembrio (1399-1477).
By William Granara
Excerpt: This book is a collection of essays about Sicily, from the ninth until the late twelfth century of our Middle Ages, during the period ranging from Arab political sovereignty to Islam’s final years of lingering cultural and social-economic influence. More precisely, it is a book about writing about Sicily. It considers how Arabs and Muslims viewed the island from historical hindsight or memory, including eyewitnesses from the high years of Sicily’s Islamic period, to later Muslim historians who worked through the archives to resurrect or to reimagine its history.
By Lora Ann Sigler
McFarland and Company
Excerpt: While the fascination with things medieval might appear to affect only what could be deemed superficialities – i.e. dress and decor – I hope to demonstrate that this was part of a wider social phenomenon that longed to embrace the imagined idealism of the Middle Ages.
Edited by Bryan C Keene
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Excerpt: Illuminated manuscripts and illustrated or decorated books – like today’s museums, libraries, and archives – preserve a rich array of information about how people have perceived the world, its many cultures, and everyone’s place in it. Images and texts within handmade and painted book arts reveal ideas about globality, including notions of geography, race, religion, gender, trade, and travel. In the case of graphic or epigraphic arts (inscriptions), the written words or pictograms themselves can reveal aspects of linguistic, regional, religious, and cultural identity or difference, as well as contact and assimilation.