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Eurasian Parallels, Connections and Divergences
The concept, practice, institution and appearance of ‘the state’ have been hotly debated ever since the emergence of history as a discipline within modern scholarship. The field of medieval Islamic history, however, has remained aloof from most of these debates. Rather it tends to take for granted the particularity of dynastic trajectories within only slowly changing bureaucratic contexts. Trajectories of State Formation promotes a more critical and connected understanding of state formation in the late medieval Sultanates of Cairo and of the Timurid, Turkmen and Ottoman dynasties. Projecting seven case studies onto a broad canvas of European and West-Asian research, this volume presents a trans-dynastic reconstruction, interpretation and illustration of statist trajectories across fifteenth century Islamic West-Asia.

Contributors include: Contributors are: Georg Christ, Kristof D’hulster, Jan Dumolyn, Albrecht Fuess, Dimitri J. Kastritsis, Beatrice Forbes Manz, John L. Meloy, Jo Van Steenbergen, and Patrick Wing.
Dalir and the Eyjafjörður region c.870-c.1265
Chris Callow’s Landscape, Tradition and Power critically examines the evidence for socio-political developments in medieval Iceland during the so-called Commonwealth period. The book compares regions in the west and north-east of Iceland because these regions had differing human and physical geographies, and contrasting levels of surviving written evidence. Callow sets out the likely economies and institutional frameworks in which political action took place. He then examines different forms of evidence – the Contemporary sagas, Landnámabók (The Book of Settlements), and Sagas of Icelanders – considering how each describes different periods of the Commonwealth present political power. Among its conclusions the book emphasises stasis over change and the need to appreciate the nuances and purposes of Iceland’s historicising sagas.
Studies on the Christian Interpretation of pre-Christian Cults and Beliefs in the Middle Ages
In this volume, Stanisław Rosik focuses on the meaning and significance of Old Slavic religion as presented in three German chronicles (the works of Thietmar of Merseburg, Adam of Bremen, Helmold of Bosau) written during the time of the Christianization of the Western Slavs. The source analyses show the ways the chroniclers understood, explained and represented pre-Christian beliefs and cults, which were interpreted as elements of a foreign, “barbarian”, culture and were evaluated from the perspective of Church doctrine. In this study, individual features of the three authors are discussed– including the issue of the credibility of their information on Old Slavic religion– and broader conclusions on medieval thought are also presented.
Contemporary Politics between New Barbarians and Modern Crusaders
In The Militant Middle Ages, historian Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri delves into common perceptions of the Middle Ages and how these views shape contemporary political contexts. Today more than ever, the medieval era is mined from across the political spectrum for symbols, examples, allegories, and models to represent and interpret the present. From “new crusades” to fantasy literature and cosplay, from Catholic Traditionalism to environmentalism, from neo-Vikings to medieval tourism and festivals, Carpegna Falconieri leads us in an impassioned and often disquieting journey through the “Modern Middle Ages.” The first book-length study dedicated to the broad phenomenon of political medievalism, The Militant Middle Ages offers a new lens for scrutinizing contemporary society through its instrumentalization of the medieval past.

First published in Italian as Medioevo militante. La politica di oggi alle prese con barbari e crociati - © 2011 Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a., Torino.
The Story of a Great Caravel, 1462-1475
This study traces the chequered history of Peter von Danzig, a French caravel which was inadvertently taken over by Gdańsk (Danzig). Beata Możejko charts the fluctuating and often dramatic fortunes of the caravel, from her arrival in Gdańsk as a merchantman in 1462 to her demise near La Rochelle in 1475. The author examines the caravel’s role as a warship during the Anglo-Hanseatic conflict, and her most famous operation, when she was used by Gdańsk privateer Paul Beneke to capture a Burgundian galley with a rich cargo that included Hans Memling’s Last Judgement triptych.
Using literary and archival sources, Możejko provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of the information available about the caravel and her colourful career.
This collection forges new ground in the discussion of aristocratic and royal women, their relationships with their objects, and medieval geography. It explores how women’s geographic and familial networks spread well beyond the borders that defined men’s sense of region and how the movement of their belongings can reveal essential information about how women navigated these often-disparate spaces. Beginning in early medieval Scandinavia, ranging from Byzantium to Rus', and multiple lands in Western Europe up to 1500, the essays span a great spatio-temporal range. Moreover, the types of objects extend from traditionally studied works like manuscripts and sculpture to liturgical and secular ceremonial instruments, icons, and articles of personal adornment, such as textiles and jewelry, even including shoes.
Der Streit um den Nutzen der Philosophie an der mittelalterlichen Pariser Universität
In Kreative Gegensätze Marcel Bubert analyses the debates among medieval scholastics on the social usefulness of learned knowledge in their specific social and cultural contexts. In particular, he shows how the skepticism towards the scholars as well as the tensions between the University of Paris, the French royal court, and the citizens of Paris had profound effects on the scientific community, and led to very different views on the utility of philosophy. Some Masters responded to the expectations of society by emphasizing the autonomy of philosophical cognition. Others departed radically from this notion of science “for its own sake”, and created decidedly “practical” concepts of knowledge. The examination of these contentious relations shows how the dynamics of mutual demarcation within this “constellation” became intellectually prolific by way of generating highly original and innovative responses to the question of the utility of philosophy.
Cultures of Political Freedom in the German Lands c. 1300-1800
Hundreds of rural communities tasted political freedom in the Holy Roman Empire. For shorter or longer periods, villagers managed local affairs without subjection to territorial overlords. In this first book-length study, Beat Kümin focuses on the five case studies of Gochsheim and Sennfeld (in present-day Bavaria), Sulzbach and Soden (Hesse) and Gersau (Switzerland). Adopting a comparative perspective across the late medieval and early modern periods, the analysis of multiple sources reveals distinct extents of rural self-government, the forging of communalized confessions and an enduring attachment to the empire. Negotiating inner tensions as well as mounting centralization pressures, Reichsdörfer provide privileged insights into rural micro-political cultures while their stories resonate with resurgent desires for greater local autonomy in Europe today.
Medieval Archaeology in the Soviet Republic of Moldova: Between State Propaganda and Scholarly Endeavor
In The Slavic Dossier, Iurie Stamati’s objective is to understand the reasons for the emergence of two different discourses on the place of the Slavs on the territory of Moldova and their role in the genesis of Moldovans and their culture during the medieval period in the Soviet archaeology. His analysis goes beyond the utilitarian perception of Soviet archeology. To achieve this, Stamati not only questions the political contexts in which these discourses emerged, but also looks at the history of the Moldovan archaeological field, personal profiles of archaeologists, their theoretical and ideological attachment, relationships and interactions with each other inside and outside the archaeological field.
In Faces of Charisma: Image, Text, Object in Byzantium and the Medieval West, a multi-disciplinary group of scholars advances the theory that charisma may be a quality of art as well as of person. Beginning with the argument that Weberian charisma of person is itself a matter of representation, this volume shows that to study charismatic art is to experiment with a theory of representation that allows for the possibility of nothing less than a breakdown between art and viewer and between art and lived experience. The volume examines charismatic works of literature, visual art, and architecture from England, Northern Europe, Italy, Ancient Greece, and Constantinople and from time periods ranging from antiquity to the beginning of the early modern period.
Contributors are Joseph Salvatore Ackley, Paul Binski, Paroma Chatterjee, Andrey Egorov, Erik Gustafson, Duncan Hardy, Stephen Jaeger, Jacqueline E. Jung, Lynsey McCulloch, Martino Rossi Monti, Gavin Richardson, and Andrew Romig.