New medieval books: from chivalry to precious stones


Five new books on the Middle Ages, taking you from Arabia to Iceland.

The Arab conquests: the spread of Islam and the first caliphates

By Justin Marozzi

Head of Zeus
ISBN: 9781838933401

Excerpt: At the time of the great conquests, surging north from the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabs came into the world. In the golden age that followed, the world came to the Arabs. Countless poets, scholars, scientists, singers, artists, craftsmen, dancers, engineers, laborers and hangers in search of fortune have all fought towards the new metropolitan wonder of Baghdad, the focal point of the world. Islam had awakened the Arab genius of civilization, by definition an intensely urban experience. The boundary-breaking warriors had paved the way for sedentary sheikhs and scholars.

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A Chivalrous Life: The Book of Deeds of Sir Jacques de Lalaing

Translated by Rosalind Brown-Grant and Mario Damen

The Boydell Press
ISBN: 978 1 78327 721 6

Excerpt: The end of the 15th century Book of the facts of Sir Jacques de Lalaing (The Book of Acts of Jacques de Lalainglisten)) is a chivalric biography of a young knight from Hainaut, one of the principal principalities of the Burgundian composite state under its third duke, Philippe le Bon. Probably written in the 1470s, the biography follows Lalaing’s career in chronological order, from his childhood to his early participation in tournaments held by other knights and his travels through Europe in order to perform in jousts that he himself devised and to serve Duke Philippe in a diplomatic capacity. It then recounts Lalaing’s role in the Duke’s war in the early 1450s to quell a revolt in the city of Ghent and, finally, recounts his death during that war during the siege of Poeke Castle.

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Saint Cecilia during the Renaissance: the emergence of a musical icon

By John A. Rice

The University of Chicago
ISBN: 978-0-81710-1

Excerpt: At the beginning of the 15th century, Christians perceived Cecile as one of the many virgin martyrs, without musical skills or interests. Over the next two centuries, while retaining her status as a martyred virgin, she became the patroness of musicians and music, inspiring more than a hundred motets in her honor and paintings that depict her singing or playing the instrument. organ, virginal, clavichord. , violin, bass viol or lute. How could an originally non-musical saint be portrayed as a musician?

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Icelandic Tales 1 and 2: seven short stories, Norse text, translation and list of words

By Matthew Leigh Embleton

ISBN: 978801811406

Excerpt: The texts are presented in their original Norse version, with a line-by-line word-for-word literal translation and a modern English translation, all side by side. In this way it is possible to see and feel how the Norse language worked and how it evolved. A word list with 2,323 Norse words translated into English and 1,709 English words translated into Norse is also included.

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The mineral and the visual: precious stones in medieval secular culture

By Brigitte Buttner

Pennsylvania State University Press
ISBN: 9780271092508

Excerpt: In combination with “lapidary knowledge”, I have used the anachronistic term “mineral” to go beyond the existence of gemstones as physical objects and grasp their cultural, social and epistemological roles more wide. The mineral thus understood has converged in a number of artistic genres. I have chosen three of them as main case studies: the jeweled crown, the illustrated lapidary and the illustrated travelogue. Each category staged distinct permutations of the mineral and the visual, each transcended the sphere of artistic production to guide social and cognitive practices, and each, finally, was invented in the Middle Ages.

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