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Books Features

New Medieval Books: From Military to Markets

Five new books that take you from Wales to Russia, and from the Near East to China.

Edward I and Wales, 1254-1307

By David Pilling

Pen & Sword History
ISBN: 978 1 52677 641 9

Excerpt: The ‘Shield of Wales’ – Tairan Cymru – as he was called, died childless. His nephew, Llywelyn ap Grufudd, seized power and continued the war against the English. Owain Goch, his eldest brother, fled from King Henry’s protection and agreed to share Gwynedd with Llywelyn rather than fight a damaging civil war. In early 1247, with commerce in Wales at a standstill and disease and famine rife, the brothers offered their submission. A truce was followed by the Treaty of Woodstock on 30 April, whereby they agreed to share Gwynedd between themselves and abandon their claims Llyn, Meirionydd, the Perfeddwlad and the rest of Wales. Henry now referred to the land between the Dee and the Conwy as ‘the king’s new conquest of Wales.’ This, more or less, was the situation when young Edward (born 1239) arrived on the scene.

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Historical Dictionary of Medieval Russia (Second Edition)

By Lawrence N. Langer

Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 978153819419

Excerpt: The Historical Dictionary of Medieval Russia covers the period from the founding of the Kievan state to the accession of Peter the Great’s reign in 1682. This has customarily been called the pre-Petrine era and is sometimes referred to as Russia’s medieval period. Scholars today date the medieval period from the ninth century to the reign of Ivan III (1462–1504). The 16th and 17th centuries are more commonly referred to as early modern Muscovy, which reflects the language employed for early modern European history.

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Markets and their Actors in the Late Middle Ages

Edited by Tanja Skambraks, Julia Bruch and Ulla Kypta

De Gruyter
ISBN: 978-3-11-064221-6

Excerpt: In a distinctly cultural-historical approach, we focused on the agents who were active regarding the market and studied their ways of using and perceiving, regulating, and dealing with the market. Our aim was to grasp how premodern contemporaries conceptualized the market, how they understood market exchange. This perspective yielded some interesting results: the market as an abstract concept was not just developed in modern times. The difference between premodern and modern understandings of the market lies not so much in the degree of abstraction, but rather in the fact that for premodern contemporaries, two issues were of major importance, namely: who was allowed to take part in the market, and how was the market to be organized?

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Elite Participation in the Third Crusade

By Stephen Bennett

The Boydell Press
ISBN: 978-1-78327-578-6

Excerpt: This is the first study to tackle motivation in relation to participation in the Third Crusade in detail, which is arguably one of the biggest questions in relation to crusading – why did people go on crusade? In doing so it also revisits the question of how Richard I succeeded in attracting members of the nobility to his contingent whilst ensuring the stability of his realm. Participation in the Third Crusade was based on established crusader benefits, such as the plenary indulgence and papal protection of property. This book, however, demonstrates the continuing importance of the concept of imitatio Christi – following in Christ’s footsteps – to many of those taking the Cross.

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More Than the Great Wall: The Northern Frontier and Ming National Security, 1368-1644

By John W. Dardess

Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781538135105

Excerpt: All through the 276 years of its existence as the one great power in East Asia, the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) managed somehow to contain the greatest threat by far to its security, the mounted archers of Inner and Central Aisa. The question this book addresses is this: How did the Ming, a preindustrial society without modern means of transportation and communication, ever successfully guard a frontier that was some 1,700 miles long (about the distance from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas) over such a long span of time? The answer cannot be found in military history, administrative history, economic history, or the history of firearms technology or wall building. It has to be found in a master narrative of the flow of events just as they happened over the years. It has to be found in the stories of those who actually described the challenges, figured out the challenges, made the decisions, and carried out the moves necessary day after day, month after month, and year after year to blunt the never-ending raids and incursions on China’s territory and to extinguish the existential threats to the safety of the realm. What I’ve written is history of national security.

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