Books Features

Used Medieval Books: From Edward to Gawain

We usually cover New Medieval Books, but here wanted to do something a little different. On a visit to Balfour Books in Toronto, Canada, we found these six used – but very good – medieval books!

Edward I: A New King Arthur?

By Andy King

Allen Lane, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-141-97877-2

Excerpt: Edward remains one of England’s most controversial kings, but he was very much a prince of his time, ruling in accordance with contemporary moral and political precepts. Undoubtedly a covetous and ruthless man, he nevertheless acted according to his lights; this book attempts to explain those lights.


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The Middle East in the Middle Ages: The early Mamluk Sultanate, 1250-1382

By Robert Irwin

Southern Illinois University Press, 1985
ISBN: 0-8093-1286-7

Excerpt: This work offers a chronological survey of the history of the Bahri Mamluk Sultanate and a narrative framework within which recent research and, perhaps, future research may be understood. In it political events are matched to administrative reforms and both to cultural developments.

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Gawain on Marriage: The De Coniuge Non Ducenda

Edited and translated by A.G. Rigg

Pontifical Insittute of Mediaeval Studies, 1986
ISBN: 0-88844-079-0

Except: The De Coniuge Non Ducenda (composed ca. 1225 – 1250) was one of the most popular antimatrimonial satires of the later Middle Ages. It is a cheerful poem and not very serious. Its protagonist is the Arthurian hero Gawain, who was known not only for valour but also for unfortunate entanglements with women.

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Saints in Medieval Manuscripts

By Greg Buzwell

University of Toronto Press, 2005
ISBN: 0-8020-3795-X

Excerpt: Devotion to the saints played a crucial role in the religious life of the Middle Ages. Kings and queens, merchants and craftsmen, beggars and thieves – all were alike in drawing inspiration, reassurance and solace from the lives of holy martyrs and pious confessors. Saints were much loved because they held a unique position in the hierarchy of Heaven; they had the power to intercede directly with God on behalf of the living. On a personal level, people prayed for saints to intervene as they faced the inevitable perils of the human condition: the suffering of childbirth, the hardships of a lengthy journey or the present threat of plague.


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The Court of the Caliphs: The Rise and Fall of Islam’s Greatest Dynasty

By Hugh Kennedy

Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2004
ISBN: 0-297-83000-7

Excerpt: From the revolution of 750 that brought the dynasty to power until its collapse in the 930s and 940s the Abbasid caliphate was by far the greatest political power in the Islamic world. But it was more than that; it was the continuation of that universal caliphate which had been established by Abu Bakr and his supporters immediately after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, which was to continue in different guises and in different places down to the abdication of the last Ottoman caliph in 1925.

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Medieval Craftsmen: Painters

By Paul Binski

The British Museum Press, 1991
ISBN: 0-8020-6918-5

This book is about painters and the craft of painting during the Middle Ages in Western Europe. It concerns painting, the colouring of plastered walls or wooden panels or other large-scale surfaces, rather than illuminating the smaller-scale decoration of vellum or paper with paint and gold leaf. The fact that illumination is sometimes mentioned in this study indicates that it was never entirely separate from painting. Both involved the art of the brush. However, medieval painting and illuminating employed different materials and were, on the whole, practiced by different people and seen by widely different audiences.

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Balfour Books is located in Toronto, Canada – it is quite a beautiful store that has a wide range of subjects – including medieval. Click here to view its website.



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