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1. The Oxford Illustrated History
2. 'Of Good and Ill Repute': Gender
3. Wessex to Ad 1000 (A Regional
4. Pleasures and Pastimes in Medieval
5. Common Women: Prostitution and
6. Ancient and Medieval England Beginnings
7. Medieval England: A Social History
8. Everyday Life in Medieval England
9. Death and the Noble Body in Medieval
10. Death of Kings: Royal Deaths in
11. Medieval England: Hastings to
12. Food and Feast in Medieval England
13. The Nobility of Later Medieval
14. Secretaries of God: Women Prophets
15. Telling Tales: Sources and Narration
16. Fifteenth-Century Attitudes: Perceptions
17. Chronicles: The Writing of History
18. An Illustrated History of Late
19. Medieval England, 1000 - 1500:
20. Parks in Medieval England (Medieval

1. The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England (Oxford Illustrated Histories)
Paperback: 320 Pages (2001-08-09)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$18.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192893246
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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From the departure of the Roman legions, to the battle of Bosworth and the rise of the Tudors, the world of medieval England was one of profound diversity and change. Now, in The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England, readers have an authoritative and stimulating overview of this pivotal period in British history. Lavishly illustrated with over a hundred pictures--including twenty-four pages of color plates--this attractive volume brings together leading scholars who illuminate the history and culture of medieval England.
The book brims with information on the social, cultural, and religious life of the period, covering topics as varied as the nature of national identity, the character of urban life, the great works of art and architecture, the details of religious practice, and the development of a vernacular literature. The heart of the book explores the main political changes in the time-span ranging from the Anglo-Saxon period, to the rule of the Normans and Angevins, to the late middle ages. Here we see the rise of a united polity and rapid institutional growth, in a time when war was of primary importance in both stimulating change and shaping national identity. In economic terms, the age was characterized by long, and rapid, population growth followed by severe contraction, sparked by the famines of 1315-17 and the Black Death. A consequence of the steep fall in population, however, was a higher per capita consumption:the splendid churches and fine vernacular architecture of the period bear witness to the wealth and variety of lay patronage.
The middle ages have always held a special fascination for readers of history and this superb volume offers a gold mine of information on the period. With numerous illustrations, family trees, a chronology, guides to further reading, and a full index, this is an indispensable guide to England in the middle ages. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Far more than one would expect from an illustrated history.
I am an undergraduate at Sydney University studying Medieval History and this book has been far more useful than I would have imagined from the title.Rather than being a light-weight general introduction, as one might expect of an 'Illustrated History', the various chapters of this book are written by experts in their field.As this is written for the non-specialist and specialist alike, the style is erudite yet engaging.The the arguments and insight are representative of the most original recent scholarship.

For example George Garnett of Oxford University, an expert on Anglo-Norman history, authored Chapter 3: Conquered England, 1066-1215. The first section of this chapter is a concise essay which sums up the reasons for the Norman conquest of England in 1066 in the most compelling fashion.In fact this chapter really could be a starting point for anyone wishing to understand the Norman conquest and the period immediately following.It is still a recommended text for honours year students studying the Norman conquest at Oxford University.

Amongst other contributors of note are Professor Chris Given-Wilson of St Andrews University (Chapter 4: Late Medieval England, 1215-1485), Professor Dame Janet Nelson of Kings College London (Chapter 2: Anglo-Saxon England, c.500-1066) and Professor Christopher Dyer of Leicester University (Chapter 5: The Economy and Society).

As well as great scholarship and readable yet challenging opinion, this particular volume obviously also has the benefit of multiple illustrations depicting everything from manuscripts to castles.All in all it represent spectacular value for money.

2-0 out of 5 stars Does not serve as a useful introduction
I begin reading this because I wanted a clear, concise and short introduction to the history of medieval England. While it is short, it is not very clear or concise. The author's stilted writing is replete with insider information. Basic concepts and terms are not explained, an absolute must for an introduction to medieval history. To be fair to the author, synthesizing fragmented, biased and oftentimes fictional textual information with archaeology and other social science research is quite difficult. I am disapponted nevertheless, and will get my introduction to medieval England from elsewhere.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England.
This is a well constructed book which contains much valuable and interesting information together with an excellent selection of illustrations.

Unfortunately the author's use of rather poor English grammar combined with convoluted and involved sentences tends to detract from reading enjoyment Nobody wishes to have to re-read sentences in order to obtain the sense in them. ... Read more

2. 'Of Good and Ill Repute': Gender and Social Control in Medieval England
by Barbara A. Hanawalt
Paperback: 224 Pages (1998-02-12)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$11.00
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Asin: 019510949X
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To be labeled "of ill repute" in medieval society implied that the person had committed a violation of accepted standards and had stepped beyond the bounds of permissible behavior. To have the reputation "of good repute", however, was powerful enough to acquit a person suspected of a crime or wrongful act. Gender, class, social statues, wealth, connections, bribes, friends, and even the community all played a role in determining who was of good repute and who was not.

Of Good and Ill Repute examines the problems of social control in medieval England in the later Middle Ages. In eleven interrelated essays, including three previously unpublished works, Hanawalt explores how social control was maintained in Medieval England. She examines the complex social regulations and stigmatizations that medieval society used to arrive at decisions about certain individuals. Focusing on gender, criminal behavior, law enforcement, village arbitration, and cultural rituals on inclusion and exclusion, Of Good and Ill Repute reflects the most current scholarship on medieval legal history, cultural history, and women's cultural studies. ... Read more

3. Wessex to Ad 1000 (A Regional History of England)
by Barry Cunliffe
 Hardcover: 408 Pages (1993-03)
list price: US$77.50
Isbn: 0582492793
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Part of a series which outlines the history of England's regions in 21 volumes. London has not been included - except for demonstrating the many ways in which it has influenced the provinces - for its history has not been very different from that of towns and rural parishes that are our principal concern. This volume examines Wessex to 1000 A.D. and offers a synthesis of work from authors who have themselves been actively involved in local research and who are present in or former residents of the regions they describe. It surveys the archaeology and early history of the ancient counties of Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Berkshire from earliest times through to the final flowering of the Anglo-Saxon age. It's chief concern is to interpret the landscape of the region, and the people who, over many centuries, created it. The region is covered in two linked but independent volumes, the first covering the period up to A.D. 1000 and necessarily relying heavily on archaeological data, and the second bringing the story up to the present day.Only by taking a wide time-span and by studying continuity and change over many centuries do distinctive regional characteristics become clear. This series portrays life as it was experienced by the great majority of the people of South Britain or England as it was to become. The book is aimed at degree students and at those taking courses in local history, urban history and agricultural history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally an overview of a very important region of Britain
This book is one of the latest volumes in the Longman Regional History of England series. The series has a simple goal--to provide a two volume review of the archaeology, landscape, and social history of each geographical region in England. The first volume for each set covers from the Paleolithic to AD 1000; while the second covers from AD 1000 to the 1980s. Each volume has a separate author. A book covering prehistoric and early historic Wessex is long overdue. The archaeology of Stonehenge and the Neolithic Early Bronze Age of Wessex has been extensively treated by others (Burgess 1980; Castledon 1987; Richards 1990), the only recent books to look at the whole of Wessex over several thousands of years are Crittal's 1973 Victoria County History volume on Wiltshire and J. F. S. Stone's 1958 study Wessex. Suffice to say, since these two books appeared there have been extensive excavations throughout Wessex and new interpretations of the archaeological record. This book does provide a start in filling the gap. Cunliffe provides a well-written, organized review of the archaeology and early history of Wessex. A nice balance is struck in describing such well known sites as Bath, Silchester or Stonehenge, and incorporating the data from smaller sites such as Chalton and Winterbourne Stokes. Examination of the bibliography shows that site reports written up through 1991 were incorporated into this review. Exceedingly useful is an appendix listing the radiocarbon dates for sites in Wessex, in both calibrated and uncalibrated form. Each chapter is laid out in similar fashion. There is an introductory section, a section explaining social and political developments, a description of the economy, material culture and settlement patterns. Interpretations of all this data occurs primarily at the end of each section and chapter. For the most part, Cunliffe's interpretations and approach to the archaeological record are rooted in the "New Archaeology" of the late 1960s and not tinged by the jargon-laden post-processualists. Overall, this a a very good book, but it has some deficiencies. First, Cunliffe is Professor of European Archaeology at Oxford University and is a very accomplished excavator of such sites as Bath and Danebury. His strength is with the Iron Age and Roman periods in Britain though. Wessex is an area with an extremely rich archaeological record, and in the hands of another writer, say Richard Bradley or Julian Richards, there would be more interpretation and synthesis and less dry description. Second, the later time periods-Roman and Anglo-Saxon-are dealt with in cursory fashion. In these final chapters too, less emphasis is put on archaeology and more on the historical record. Historians may enjoy this, but the Early Medieval period is one which has a limited database and can benefit from utilizing archaeology. ... Read more

4. Pleasures and Pastimes in Medieval England (Sutton Illustrated History Paperbacks)
by Compton Reeves
Paperback: 240 Pages (1997-12)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$19.95
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Asin: 075091498X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the SUTTON ILLUSTRATED HISTORY PAPERBACKS series a look at the leisure persuits of all classes of Medieval society in England. Originally published in hardback in 1995. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Much Ado about
Compton's book reflects superficial research. What he covers has been done better. Occasionally he stumbles on some new "fact" which does not compensate for the book's promise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything you need to know about Medieval Times
Very Informative and Entertaining, the subjects are broken down into categories such as literature, games, sports and pets.The book includes many period illustrations and has a great deal of information condensed into just a little more than 200 pages.A must read for anyone studying or recreating the middle ages.It explains and documents the information given while still remaining light and fun to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific overview
This book is a rare gem. If you're interested in medieval social history - specifically the history of leisure activities - this book is a wonderful reference.

While many medieval history books touch on the subject of leisure activities, this book gives the topic the focus it deserves. It's packed with information on a huge range of subjects - art, music, fashion, games, hunting, pets, diet, courteous behavior, prostitution, etc. - and the author nicely blends general discussion with specific, primary-source accounts.

Additionally, it's filled with photos of objets d'art, misericords, and manuscript illustrations...and contains a long list of sources for further research.

While not exhaustive, this book is an impressive, encyclopedic overview of a subject given short shrift in the majority of medieval history books.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice survey, good for beginners, but lacks depth
This is a very accessible work on the "pleasures and pastimes" of medieval England.The author defines this term rather broadly, and includes not only such matters as games, hunts, drinking, poetry, pets, dancing, music, etc.-- but also clothes, architecture, and craftsmanshsip on the grounds that finely made clothes, armor, elaborate buildings, and well-crafted goods were a source of 'pleasure' to their owners and/or those who used them.Religion is also considered as a source of pleasure and pastime (pilgrimmages, feast days, etc.) The chapters are organized thematically, with one chapter on "literature", another on the plastic arts, another on "religion", etc.Each chapter is divided up into further thematic subsections (for example, breaking down crafts into goldsmithing, leather working, woodcarving, etc.) each of which is given a page or two.

Overall, the book's organization and function is that of a general survey. It provides only a cursory overview of a lot of different 'pleasures and pastimes' rather than an in-depth scholarly study that provides new knowledge or puts forth a new intepretation.These kinds of survey books have their uses, to be sure, but somehow, in reading this, I just I find myself feeling a bit like a rock being skipped over the surface of a deep pond.I guess I'd just liked the author to have gone a little bit deeper below the surface in some way.Perhaps he could have provided more concrete examples-- or even some counter examples. Perhaps he could have delved a bit more into how 'pleasures and pastimes' changed over time, or differed from region to region-- or maybe even among the different classes of society.Or perhaps he could have engaged a bit more with some of the historiographical contraversies surrounding this subject.Most of all, however, I wish the author had explored whether or not people in the Middle Ages had the same concepts of 'pleasure' and 'pastime' as we do or whether they viewed them in the same way, with the same set of values.(I suspect they probably did not.)All in all, I can't help but think that that there just isn't quite as much 'meat' to chew here as there ought to be.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Beginning
It's not often a student gets to review one of their teachers, but I get to do so with great delight. Pleasures and Pastimes is a wonderfully readable history of just what the later medieval English did for fun - and there's quite a bit.

If you're looking to do more indepth research on the subject, then this book may be a bit of a let-down. It is, however, a wonderful introduction to the topic, and a good starting point for those beginning to study medieval fun.

There's also a good bit of humor in the book, especially in some of the pictures' captions, including an illustration of a medieval beer bong! The book is a must have for those interested in English medieval history. (And no, I don't get extra credit for saying that!) ... Read more

5. Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England (Studies in the History of Sexuality)
by Ruth Mazo Karras
Paperback: 232 Pages (1998-04-23)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$23.11
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Asin: 0195124987
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Through a sensitive use of a wide variety of imaginative and didactic texts, Ruth Karras shows that while prostitutes as individuals were marginalized within medieval culture, prostitution as an institution was central to the medieval understanding of what it meant to be a woman. This important work will be of interest to scholars and students of history, women's studies, and the history of sexuality. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well Researched
This is the last book I've had to read for my Medieval history class, which focused on women in the Middle Ages. We started out by examining mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, and Margery Kempe, and then looked at Eleanor of Aquitaine and Joan of Arc. I guess it is fitting to end on the lowest of the female population in this time period, the prostitute. This book, by Ruth Karras, provides an in-depth analysis of the role that the prostitute played in the male dominated world of the Middle Ages, but with a twist, as Karras uses her analysis to also examine sexuality in the same period. The focus is on English prostitutes, mostly due to accessibility of records. England had a fairly stable government, so records were better preserved. France, for example, lost many court rolls and other important records in the chaos of the Revolution in the 1790's.

Karras gives a broad sketch of the prostitute by showing how they were affected by laws. The laws served a dual purpose. They seemed to try and protect prostitutes from beatings and coercion, but also tried to keep them in a restricted place in society, by isolating them to the outskirts of town, and regulating both what they could wear and how they conducted themselves in their personal relationships. The power structure, according to Karras, seemed to subscribe to the theory that prostitution was a necessary evil, in that men needed an outlet for their sexual energy. If this need wasn't met, the general belief was that these men would resort to rape and other unpleasantness against the other ladies of the town/city. So while prostitutes were reviled, they were also accorded a role in society that was seen to fill an important need.

There's lots of stuff I'm leaving out, of course. Some books always give a revelation of sorts that the reader remembers long after the book has been read, and this one has a good one. England had very few legal brothels, but one was on the outskirts of London, in Southwark. These brothels were referred to as "stews", and this stew was actually owned by the Bishop of Winchester! He made quite a profit off the ladies, too. He didn't run the house directly, but appointed brothelkeepers who did the dirty work. An interesting role for the Church, don't you think? Actually, it sort of makes since in light of the belief that prostitution filled a social role of sorts. The government sure wasn't providing any sort of programs or assistance. The Church was the closest thing to a social service system (I'm way out on a limb here, I smell a research paper!) so maybe bishops running houses of ill repute wasn't so spectacular after all.

Copious notes at the end of the book show the astonishing amount of primary and secondary sources that Karras scoured through to construct the book. I'm impressed. This book certainly has an interest to the historian, but the casual reader would get a kick out of it too, as it isn't overly scholarly, and it reads fast at 142 pages. Well done, Dr. Karras!

5-0 out of 5 stars Prostitution in England compared to the rest of Europe
This book is very helpful for those people who want to make a comparative study between prostitution in England and in the rest of Europe, particularly Italy for which we have a wealth of material and publications.The reading is easy and engaging, and the book offers many importantreferences and a rich bibliography that can be used to expand on thissubject.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book on Medieval Women.
Dr. Karras has written a wonderful book exploring the roles of medieval women.It's written in a language that is accessable to everyone!A great read for anyone interested in educating themselves about medieval women.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent study in medieval marginality
This book is a wonderful study of the sexual and moral climate of the Middle Ages.It is readable, without bein condescending.A must read for anyone interested in this sort of topic!

5-0 out of 5 stars How men and women got along with their sexuality-c.1500
This review was done by Elaine E. Whitaker, Dept.of English, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Karras, Ruth Mazo.Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England.Studies in the History of Sexuality. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.Pp. viii + 221. ISBN 0-195-06242-6.

Reviewed by Elaine E. WhitakerDepartment of English University of Alabama at Birminghameew@uab.edu

This aptly-titled study focuses on women's sexuality apartfrom marriage in England from approximately 1348 to 1500.The titleforegrounds Karras's finding that the distinguishing feature of whoring inmedieval England was not payment for sex, though this did occur, but ratherthe availability of a given woman to any interested male.This property ofbeing "common" -- held in common by all men -- was so definingthat these women were not allowed to have exclusive relationships withtheir clients. Rather than freeing these women at the price of theirreputations, prostitution affirmed patriarchy by protecting the investmentvalue of virgins and faithful wives while simultaneously meeting (to borrowlanguage from college financial aid offices) the full extent ofdemonstrated need. The word "sexuality" in the subtitleintroduces the continuity between perceptions of a whore (L. meretrix, Fr.putain) and of medieval women generally.

Acknowledging her scholarship tohave been inspired by the late John Boswell, Karras crafts definitions thatemerge from medieval records rather than from late-twentieth-centuryperceptual categories.Whoring here is the expression of "femininesexuality . . . outside of marriage"; prostitution is "theexchange of sex for money."At the end of her introduction, Karrasreminds us that people in the Middle Ages "identified people bybehavior rather than by desire or orientation" (12).In the body ofthe text, she describes

whores, priest's whores, stewhouses, and theirkeepers.(Among a plethora of memorable details is, for example, the storyof a young woman who had come to London seeking honest work only to findherself rowed haplessly to Southwark, where her virginity was protected bythe intervention of a Southwark waterman's wife [58].)Just as JohnBoswell's scholarship led to a revisioning of homosexuality in the ancientand medieval worlds and ultimately to queer studies generally, Ruth MazoKarras's investigations point toward another valid alternative perspective,that of women whose business was sex.

In an interestingly complicated andnuanced argument, Karras reconstructs the roles of "common" womenfrom legal records, penitentials, and contemporary fiction.Of specialinterest to her is the question of the degree that these women could besaid to be full participants in society rather than (to use our presentcategory of perception) marginalized.In six chapters, an introduction,and a conclusion, she describes a society that tolerated prostitution inorder to meet the sexual needs of unattached men who might otherwise havebecome violent and might have violated the property rights that other menheld in wives and virgins.Intrinsic worth and self-esteem are not factorsin this calculus; civil order is.

In Chapter 1, "Prostitution andthe Law," Karras justifies her use of law because it iscarefully-worded language delineating

a society's values.Althoughmedieval English law did not define the terms under consideration, thelaw's application in borough, manorial, and ecclesiastical courts indicatessociety's need to constrain but not obliterate whoring. Prostitutes worestriped hoods and were subject to other sumptuary legislation.London'sprostitutes were restricted to Cock Lane or to the then-suburb Southwark. A statute in Coventry required that no single woman could live alone -- anillustration of the way that the presence of whoredom furnished a rationalefor regulating women generally.

In Chapter 2, "Brothels, Licit andIllicit," Karras shows how the condoning of brothels -- either ascottage industries or as officially sanctioned institutions -- did not workto condone the behavior of the women involved.The beginning of thischapter departs from the English focus to include three pages summarizingwhat is known about institutionalized brothels in Europe (32-35 and passimlater in the chapter), where institutionalization of prostitution was morecommon than in England.Karras then fully describes official brothels inSandwich, Southampton, and Southwark.Interestingly, since Southwark wasunder the jurisdiction of the bishop of Winchester, the bishop was -- atseveral removes -- a brothelkeeper.As to brothelkeeping in Englandgenerally, Karras considers it "an important area for femaleentrepreneurship" (44).

In Chapter 3, "Becoming aProstitute," Karras asks why medieval women became involved.As theuse of the word "prostitute" indicates, this chapter argues fromeconomic evidence, concluding that women usually had some degree of choiceabout entering prostitution, even if their alternatives were limited.Factors involved are an average age for first marriages in themid-twenties, the high (by our standards) number of people who nevermarried, and the need for dowries.Most prostitutes were single, and agood proportion seem to have been foreigners.An interesting sidebar isthe connection of laundresses with prostitution.Quoting Karras in orderto let you sample the elegance of her prose, "[t]he equation oflaundress and whore was clearly made.Both the prostitute and thelaundress had some connection with filth, but laundresses most likelyacquired a reputation for prostitution because they were among the fewwomen who frequently came and went from all- male households" (54). The chapter concludes with legal records of bawds recruiting young girls,where the bawds -- and female bawds in particular -- received blame.

InChapter 4, "The Sex Trade in Practice," Karras analyzesprostitution as one among many trades in medieval England with tradepractices marked by "transience, variation, and adaptability"(66).First, Karras traces the careers of a handful of women whoseprostitution appears repeatedly in English records.Her next sectionconcerns the ways in which more casual prostitutes might pick up theircustomers.She then turns to the categories of men who were consideredappropriate customers and with the range of fees a common woman couldexpect from them -- "from less than a penny's worth of food to severalpounds" (79).The fees on the high side apparently resulted fromlong-term relationships or bribery; the lowest decently acceptable feeseems to have been a penny. Finally, Karras finds evidence that someprostitutes ultimately married and that some bore children either whilecommon or subsequently.

In Chapter 5, "Marriage, Sexuality, andMarginality," Karras explores possible discrepancies between theideals expressed by civil and ecclesiastical law and the day-to-day livesof medieval people.Using literary evidence, Karras concludes that the"line between a respectable woman and a whore was a vague one"(88) in practice due to the level of exchange in both cases.Karrasmarshals the fabliaux generally as well as the Roman de laRose, Piers Plowman, the CanterburyTales, and the Book of Margery Kempe tosupport the view that both marital and extramarital sex were medievalcommodities.Karras devotes the later pages of this chapter to speculationon the degree to which individual common women were integrated intosociety.Although the evidence is scant and mixed, some prostitutes onsome occasions were accepted even when the concept of prostitution wascondemned.

In Chapter 6, "Saints and Sinners," Karras detailsthe church's condemnation of prostitution.She concludes that the church'sposition, as it was expressed in vernacular preaching manuals and otherworks of religious instruction, vilified women generally.The deadly sinof lust was women's special province.Karras ends this chapter withsummaries of the lives of harlot saints such as Mary Magdalen.

The book'sconclusion, "Sexuality, Money, and the Whore" (131- 42) is anadmirably concise summary of Karras's findings.Over forty pages of notescollected at the end of the text not only fully document Karras's evidencebut also provide additional historical context, as well as further glimpsesinto Karras's thinking as she teases underlying principles from fragmentaryrecords.Her bibliography (189-213) is also a treasure. Divided intomanuscript sources, published primary sources, and secondary works, itfurnishes at a glance the lists of materials analyzed and synthesized toproduce this book.While earlier postings to TMR haverightly noted occasions when books omit entire countries or periods of theMiddle Ages from consideration, Karr ... Read more

6. Ancient and Medieval England Beginnings to 1509 (Harbrace History of England Part 1) (Pt. 1)
by J. R. Lander
Paperback: 192 Pages (1973-06)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$51.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0155351079
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7. Medieval England: A Social History and Archaeology from the Conquest to 1600 AD
Hardcover: 312 Pages (1995-12-14)
list price: US$130.00 -- used & new: US$126.75
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Asin: 0415119154
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By drawing equally on the work of historians and archaeologists, Professor Colin Platt puts forward a view of English medieval society in which there is much that is new and unexpected. ... Read more

8. Everyday Life in Medieval England
by Christopher Dyer
Paperback: 336 Pages (2003-02-05)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$60.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1852852011
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Everyday Life in Medieval England captures the day-to-day experience of people in the middle ages - the houses and settlements in which they lived, the food they ate, their getting and spending - and their social relationships. The picture that emerges is of great variety, of constant change, of movement and of enterprise. Many people were downtrodden and miserably poor, but they struggled against their circumstances, resisting oppressive authorities, to build their own way of life and to improve their material conditions. The ordinary men and women of the middle ages appear throughout. Everyday Life in Medieval England is an outstanding contribution to both national and local history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Everyday Life in Medieval England
I found this book very informative and insightful. Christopher Dyer presents various aspects of everyday medieval life in England such as the villages and their decline, food, relationships between landowners and tenants and numerous other areas of life all based on facts and evidence drawn from archeological, topographical, and ancient documents as the sources for evidence.Trying to piece together a full view of this period of history based on scattered evidence can be a daunting task and I feel the approach Christopher takes works very well. Arranged in essay form, Christopher presents facts, he doesn't come across as someone trying to justify his point of view but wants to give the reader the truth based on the body of research information currently available (at the time of writing the book).For example if he is drawing a conclusion based on limited evidence he will state something to the effect that his conclusion is based on limited evidence and that more research needs to be done.By doing this I feel it shows he is more concerned about presenting evidence and truth and not forcing his opinion or painting his own vision of the medieval time period.This book does read a bit dry similar to academic text and for this reasonI do agree with the previous post that it seems it was written more for academia than for the casual reader of history.Still, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the everyday life in medieval England.

2-0 out of 5 stars Academic and dry
Dyer's book consists of a series of essays on topics ranging from why villages declined in England in the middle ages to changes in diet to gardens, peasant buildings and the peasant's revolt of 1381.Yet unlike the tremendous breadth and depth ofPaul B. Newman's far more engagingly written "Daily Life in the Middle Ages," Dyer's book seems to be as much about justification for why Dyer's view of life in the middle ages is accurate as about actual medieval life.This book is written more for the academic who cares deeply about sources for what is known than what is known itself, and the dry style and format (intro, argument, conclusion, and lots of footnotes, charts and tables) won't win many fans outside academia. ... Read more

9. Death and the Noble Body in Medieval England
by Danielle Westerhof
Hardcover: 300 Pages (2008-10-16)
list price: US$95.00 -- used & new: US$73.30
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Asin: 1843834162
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We all die, but how we perceive death as an event, process or state is inextricably connected to our experiences and the social and environmental culture in which we live. During the early middle ages, the body was used to demonstrate a whole range of concepts and assumptions: the ideal aristocrat possessed a strong, whole and virile body which reflected his inner virtues, and nobility of birth was understood to presuppose and enhance nobility of character and action. Here, the author examines how contemporary ideas about death and dying disrupted this abstract ideal. She explores the meaning of aristocratic funerary practices such as embalming and heart burial, and, conversely, looks at what the gruesomely elaborate executions of aristocratic traitors in England around the turn of the fourteenth century reveal about the role of the body in perceptions of group identity and society at large. ... Read more

10. Death of Kings: Royal Deaths in Medieval England
by Michael Evans
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-01-01)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$7.80
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Asin: 1852855851
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A king's death was a critical and highly dramatic moment, often with major political consequences. Death in battle, whether that of Harold at Hastings or Richard III at Bosworth, could end a dynasty, while the secret murders of Edward II, Richard II and Edward V blighted the fortunes of their murderers. "The Death of Kings" is an account of what is known about the deaths of medieval kings, whether natural, violent or accidental (as William Rufus's death while out hunting in the New Forest). It shows how contemporaries and later writers, including Shakespeare, drew morals from such deaths and about the characters of individual kings, giving these deaths an imaginative and symbolic resonance that has lasted until the present day. Full of fascinating detail and personal information about the characters and attitudes of English kings and queens, "The Death of Kings" is a unique window into the heart of medieval society. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine study
This book takes its title from Shakespeare's Richard II, a passage which goes on to recount the many and varied ways mediaeval kings can, and have, met their demise.

In this fascinating and highly readable book, Michael Evans takes a thematic approach to his subject. We learn of death and burial, divine punishment, corruption of the body and so on. As anyone familiar with mediaeval history knows, sources cannot always be taken at face value, and the accounts of murders, deaths in battle, deaths by illness, etc, are not always historically accurate. Dr Evans's method, therefore, is to discuss particular deaths within these themes, going into the original sources in which the death is described, and then opening the discussion to include the mythology, the symbolism and the religious connotations to bring out the meaning behind each individual account. One intriguing section deals with royal murder and usurpation, making it a must-read for all those interested in deposed kings and their fate.

This is a highly erudite work, wonderful to read and is recommended to all who like to explore their history off the beaten track. An excellent book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Review Death of Kings Book
This book was written by my college professor.It is extremely informative, and not a typical history book.

5-0 out of 5 stars An extensive, scholarly, and highly accessible account
The Death Of Kings: Royal Deaths In Medieval England by Michael Evans (Medieval History, Christ Church College, Canterbury, England) is an extensive, scholarly, and highly accessible account of all that is know about the deaths of medieval royalty, whether natural, by accident, or by murder. Demonstrating how writers of the era (and later) drew upon such deaths and gave them symbolic qualities that transcended the events of history, The Death Of Kings is a welcome and recommended addition to Medieval History Studies in general, and British Monarchial History collections in particular. ... Read more

11. Medieval England: Hastings to Bosworth
by Edmund King
Paperback: 288 Pages (2009-07-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$13.44
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Asin: 0752450522
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Medieval England presents a broad panorama of the political and cultural development of English society from the Norman Conquest to the end of the Wars of the Roses. It is a story of change, progress, setback, and consolidation, with England emerging as a wealthy and stable country, many of whose essential features were to remain unchanged until the industrial revolution. Edmund King traces his chronicle the lives of successive monarchs, the inescapable thread of that epoch. Yet the great nobles, knights, and merchants meeting in parliament provided constraints which bound even the most powerful king, and a major theme of this book is the gradual emergence of a single political community of shared ideas embracing all ranks of society. Within this framework the author examines many other facets of medieval England, including everyday life, warfare and chivalry, religion and learning, agriculture and economic developments, the machinery of government, the administration of justice, art, and architecture.
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Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Traces the emergence of England as a unified political nation, and at the same time presents a broad picture of their religion
This text is a bit strong on the central narrative, but I really enjoyed reading of the broad panorama, political and cultural development of the English Society from the Norman Conquest to the end of the Wars of the Roses.It is the story of change, progress, setbacks and consolidation, with England emerging as a wealthy and stable country, many of whose essential features were to remain unchanged until the Industrial
Within the framework of the book "King" examines many other facets of medieval England, including religion and learning, agriculture and economic developments, the machinery of government, the administration of justice, warfare and chivalry, everyday life, art and architecture.
A very fine book....

4-0 out of 5 stars The good olde days
Some periods and places in history are more interesting than others; it just depends on your interests.With American history, I enjoy reading about the Revolutionary era, but I'm not as much into the Civil War.With others, it could be the reverse.When it comes to English history, I find the more modern period tedious, but I enjoy reading about the early monarchy, especially from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth. This time span was mostly in the Middle Age times which Edmund King covers in his book, Medieval England, which covers the period from William's conquest of England to the conclusion of the War of the Roses, a timespan of roughly 400 years.

Superficially, this seems like a rather adventurous era filled with larger than life characters.This is the time of the heroic Richard the Lion Heart and Henry V as well as the villainous King John and Richard III.It was the era that produced the real life Braveheart, William Wallace as well as the legendary Robin Hood, a period that Shakespeare would write ten plays about (King John, Edward III (which Shakespeare co-wrote), Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two, Henry V, Henry VI Parts One to Three and Richard III).Of course, in reality, medieval England was a more complicated place.

Edmund King's provides a more realistic look of the period in his brief (less than 300 pages) book.No person is simply good or evil, though some are definitely more brilliant than others.Even the more successful monarchs, such as Henry II and Edward I, had their problems.King presents the early English epoch as one in constant flux but definitely evolving from a feudal society of royalty and nobles to the beginnings of a more modern England with king (or queen) and Parliament.

King's writing is always informative, but not always interesting.He's not a bad writer, but stylistically, he is sometimes a bit tiring.There are, however, some nice illustrations, so I'll push it up from a high three stars to a low four.Although King knows his stuff and this is probably the best book I've read on this period, I still think there are better ones out there; I just haven't found them yet.

... Read more

12. Food and Feast in Medieval England (Illustrated History Paperbacks)
by P. W. Hammond
Paperback: 192 Pages (1993-06)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$19.98
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Asin: 0750909927
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This fully illustrated book describes the extraordinary range of food which found its way on to the tables of medieval English society, its production and distribution. Although bread, ale, meat and fish were the staple diet, fish often came from as far away as Iceland, and as early as 1480 over 100,000 oranges were being imported to augment the diet. The book covers a wide range of medieval food, from hunting, fish breeding, brewing, baking, food hygiene and storage. The book concludes with an examination of medieval feasts, such as that held at York on 26 December 1251, which took six months to prepare, and saw the consumption of no fewer than 68,500 loaves of bread, 170 boars and 25,000 gallons of wine. Based on archaeological and documentary evidence, this book aims to provide an introduction to an often neglected topic of medieval life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent history book
My wife thoroughly enjoyed this well written and well researched book about the way the British ate in the Middle Ages. It must be borne in mind that it is primarily a historical overview and not in any way a lifestyle or diet book as my wife seems to think it is. Breakfast on the hoof before a busy day at the office is impossible now that the standard breakfast table typically groans under the weight of 2 loins of mutton, 2 loins of veal, a loin of beef, a leg of mutton, a pig, a capon, a coney, one dozen pigeons, one hundred eggs, a goose, a gallon of red wine and a kilderkin of ale in the Raddick household.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss
The most interesting thing about this book is lists of medieval data from house records, ship inventories, bills of sale and so on. You can find out how much wine England imported from France in 1415 compared to how much they imported from Greece. You can find out how many eggs were used in a noble's house. How much ale a monk was allowed to drink in a day. A lot can be learned from facts like these and that makes the book interesting. There are also several references to medieval poems and plays that describe what peasants eat. (An area never covered by extant cookery books.) However, it is hard to believe that this book is written by a medieval scholar. Many of the conclusions made are just not true. They are simple, little things too, such as soppes. Hammond says soppes are toasted bread. ??? If you have read any other medieval cookery books, you know that is not true. Why doesn't Hammond know? There are many more examples like this in the book. If you read it for the medieval sources quoted, it is interesting. If you veer off that path, you are on shaky ground with Hammond's conclusions. ... Read more

13. The Nobility of Later Medieval England (Ford Lectures)
by K. B. McFarlane
 Paperback: 315 Pages (1981-06-04)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$87.65
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Asin: 0198226578
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14. Secretaries of God: Women Prophets in Late Medieval and Early Modern England (Library of Medieval Women)
by Diane Watt
Paperback: 208 Pages (2001-05-03)
list price: US$37.95 -- used & new: US$32.27
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Asin: 0859916146
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Diane Watt sets aside the conventional hiatus between the medieval and early modern periods in her study of women's prophecy, following the female experience from medieval sainthood to radical Protestantism. The English women prophets and visionaries whose voices are recovered here all lived between the twelfth and the seventeenth centuries and claimed, through the medium of trances and eucharistic piety, to speak for God. They include Margery Kempe and the medieval visionaries, Elizabeth Barton (the Holy Maid of Kent), the Reformation martyr Anne Askew and other godly women described in John Foxe's Acts and Monuments, and Lady Eleanor Davies as an example of a woman prophet of the Civil War. The strategies women devised to be heard and read are exposed, showing that through prophecy they were often able to intervene in the religious and political discourse of the their times: the role of God's secretary gave them the opportunity to act and speak autonomously and publicly. Winner of Foster Watson Memorial Gift for 1998.Dr DIANE WATT is Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most important new book about women visionaries
This groundbreaking, scholarly and beautifully-written volume argues for a tradition in women's religious prophecy from the Middle Ages into the modern era.It includes detailed studies of Margery Kempe, ElizabethBarton, Anne Askew, and Lady Eleanor Davies.It is essential reading forstudents and scholars working in the fields of literature, history,theology, and women's studies.I recommend anyone working in these areasto buy it. ... Read more

15. Telling Tales: Sources and Narration in Late Medieval England
by Joel Thomas Rosenthal
Hardcover: 217 Pages (2003-10-01)
list price: US$63.95 -- used & new: US$11.25
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Asin: 027102304X
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One of the great challenges facing historians of any era is to make the strangeness of the past comprehensible in the present. This task is especially difficult for the Middle Ages, which can seem particularly alien to modern sensibilities. In Telling Tales Joel Rosenthal takes us on a journey through some familiar sources from fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England to show how memories and recollections can be used to build a compelling portrait of daily life in the late Middle Ages. Rosenthal is a senior medievalist whose work over the years has spanned several related areas including family history, women's history, the life cycle, and memory and testimony. In Telling Tales he brings all of these interests to bear on three seemingly disparate bodies of sources: the letters of Margaret Paston, depositions from a dispute between the Scropes and Grosvenors over a contested coat of arms, and Proof of Age proceedings, whereby the legal majority of an heir was established. In Rosenthal s hands these familiar sources all speak to questions of testimony, memory, and narrative at a time when written records were just becoming widespread. In Margaret Paston we see a woman who helped hold family and family business together as she mastered the arduous and complex task of letter writing. From the knights whose tales were elicited for the Scrope and Grosvenor case, it was the bonding of men at arms in the Hundred Years War. From the Proof of Age, we have brief tales that are rich in the give-and-take of daily life in the village--memories of baptisms, burials, a trip to market, a fall from a roof, or marriage to another juror s sister. An example of the historian at the top of his craft, Telling Tales shows how medievalists can turn scraps of recollection into a synthetic story, one that enables us to recapture the strange and lost country of the European Middle Ages. ... Read more

16. Fifteenth-Century Attitudes: Perceptions of Society in Late Medieval England
Paperback: 260 Pages (1997-02-13)
list price: US$27.99 -- used & new: US$3.18
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Asin: 052158986X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This collection of essays takes a fresh and invigorating look at late-medieval English society by focusing not on how people lived but on how they saw the world and their place in it. Alongside contributions on how different social groups saw themselves and were seen by others are more general discussions of key aspects of fifteenth-century life: attitudes to the rule of law, to the power of the ruler, to education, to honour and service, and finally to death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource
I, too, have had the pleasure of studying with Dr. Horrox; however, I have had the added pleasure of having read this book.Dr. Horrox's choice of essays, her deft handling of the material, and the overall significance of the material is, not unexpectedly, superb.

5-0 out of 5 stars an unfair review
i must confess that i haven't read this book just YET-- but i have looked for it forever, it seems. the reason i feel that i am justified in reviewing a book i haven't read is that i have had the extraordinary pleasure of getting it, as they say, straight from the horse's mouth. she was one of my professors at summer school in cambridge. her class was entitled life, literature and art 1000-1500 and was probably the most enjoyable class i've ever taken. she would never look at the class (we were warned that she wouldn't) but she would roam back and forth across the front of the room, looking up, looking down, and speaking almost as if to herself of the most fascinating bits of information. while other teachers were dry or commanding or chummy, she was just genuinely informative. she spoke of history as if it were the juiciest gossip that you held your breath to hear more of. if ms. horrox can write half as well as she teaches this book should be one of the greatest reads imaginable for anyone with even the slightest hint of interest on the subject. cheers, ms. horrox. ... Read more

17. Chronicles: The Writing of History in Medieval England
by Christopher Given-Wilson
Paperback: 320 Pages (2007-04-10)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 1852855835
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The priorities of medieval chroniclers and historians were not those of the modern historian, nor was the way that they gathered, arranged and presented evidence. Yet, if we understand how they approached their task, and their assumption of God's immanence in the world, much that they wrote becomes clear. Many of them were men of high intelligence whose interpretation of events sheds clear light on what happened. Chris Given-Wilson is one of the leading authorities on medieval English historical writing. He examines how medieval writers such as William of Malmesbury and Adam of Usk treated chronology and geography, politics and warfare, heroes and villains. He looks at the ways in which chronicles were used during the middle ages, and at how the writing of history changed between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly fascinating and informative read
An exceptional look at how Chronicles were written in late medieval England and what uses they served. The scholarship is evident, if not omnipresent, throughout the work, which makes the prose very readable and interesting, but still leaving the extensive notes in the back of the book handy should the reader grow interested. That being said, this book is for those who are interested in history, the middle ages, or some combination of the two. Can also be read as a history of history of sorts, in late medieval England, a subject interesting in and of itself. To be fair, there is the chance of casual readers growing bored with the material. ... Read more

18. An Illustrated History of Late Medieval England
Hardcover: 292 Pages (1996-11)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$19.00
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Asin: 071904152X
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The late Middle Ages (c.1200-1500) was an age of transition. The major events of this period - the Black Death, the Hundred Years War, the rise of Parliament, the deposition of five English kings between 1327-1483 are examined in this volume. Also discussed are the sub-currents running through English society during these years, such as the slow decline of serfdom, the triumph of the English language, the rise of the judicial and medical professions, and the growth of religious non-conformity in the century and a half before the reformation. The 11 chapters, each written by an expert in the field, highlight these developments, while chapters on art and literature emphasize the range of English achievement in the age of Chaucer, Langland and the Wilton Diptych. ... Read more

19. Medieval England, 1000 - 1500: A Reader (Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures, 6)
Paperback: 520 Pages (2000-10-01)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$19.99
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Asin: 1551112442
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"Emilie Amt's judicious selection of sources covers the range of human experience in Medieval England, from the classic political texts of the Constitution of Clarendon and Magna Carta to the lives of ordinary people that we glimpse in coroners' rolls, chronicle accounts of the Black Death, and trials following the Peasants' Revolt. The collection also draws on visual material, such as the Bayeux Tapestry, and provides brief but useful introductory comments that set each selection in context. What lifts this collection above others, however, are the study questions that Amt appends to each document. Her imaginative questions, which ask students to compare, for example, features of different sources, or to consider the implications of gender and religious thought, or to assess the potential bias and reliability of a document's information, encourage students to be active participants in historical analysis, rather than passive readers. All teachers will be grateful! for the help this collection provides in showing students that history involves not just memorizing facts, but answering questions." Maryanne Kowaleski, Fordham University ... Read more

20. Parks in Medieval England (Medieval History and Archaeology)
by Stephen Mileson
Hardcover: 232 Pages (2009-10-11)
list price: US$125.00 -- used & new: US$95.51
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Asin: 0199565678
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Parks were prominent and, indeed, controversial features of the medieval countryside, but they have been unevenly studied and remain only partly understood. Stephen Mileson provides the first full-length study of the subject, examining parks across the country and throughout the Middle Ages in their full social, economic, jurisdictional, and landscape context.

The first half of the book investigates the purpose of these royal and aristocratic reserves, which have been variously claimed as hunting grounds, economic assets, landscape settings for residences, and status symbols. An emphasis on the aristocratic passion for the chase as the key motivation for park-making provides an important challenge to more recent views and allows for a deeper appreciation of the connection between park-making and the expression of power and lordship.

The second part of the book examines the impact of park creation on wider society, from the king and aristocracy to peasants and townsmen. Instead of the traditional emphasis on the importance of royal regulation, greater attention is paid to the effects of lordly park-making on other members of the landed elite and ordinary people. These widespread enclosures interfered with customary uses of woodland and waste, hunting practices, roads and farming; not surprisingly, they could become a focus for aristocratic feud, popular protest and furtive resistance.

Combining historical, archaeological, and landscape evidence this ground-breaking study provides fresh insight into contemporary values and how they helped to shape the medieval landscape. ... Read more

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