POWERS AND THRONES: A New History of the Middle Ages

Book number: 94091 Product format: Hardback Author: DAN JONES

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Bibliophile price £12.50
Published price £25

This sweeping 700-page narrative history has everything we expect from Dan Jones, who combines a gift for recreating the past with meticulous scholarship. The whole 1000 years of the Middle Ages are here, from the end of the Roman empire to the cataclysmic break with the Catholic church at the Reformation. At the time of the 4th century Emperor Constantine, Rome was a state that could crush any aggressor, but a few years later the appearance of the Huns, climate migrants or refugees from the lands above China, signalled imminent decline. The Roman empire had a brief resurgence in the 6th century under Justinian, who codified the law and also acted brutally to quell the riots at chariot races, much like our own football violence. In the 8th century the emperor Charlemagne probably came to power by disposing of his brother and nephews, but he also hugely extended the Frankish realm. The expansion was short-lived since marauding northmen under Ragnar were waiting in the wings with the Magyars not far behind. The knightly ideal came to Engand with the Normans, epitomised in the 12th century by William Marshal, who was inseparable from the young Prince Henry in a model of courtesy and comradeship. But rumours of a love-triangle with Henry's wife, echoing the myth of Arthur and Guinevere, sent William into exile. On the Prince's death he returned, now working for his father Henry II whose sons Richard and John were plotting against him. For several centuries the crusades dominated European politics. The first crusaders had been a motley crowd led by the rabble-rousing Peter the Hermit and the disreputable Count of Flonheim. The Plantagenets supported crusading, though Henry II wisely refused the crown of Jerusalem. In the 13th century the westward march of Genghis Khan caused consternation, and although the Mongols never made it to the Frankish kingdom, in 1258 they sacked Baghdad, destroying the world's finest library. The 14th century was the age of merchants, the dissolution of the Templars and the towering intellect of Thomas Aquinas. 704pp, pagemarker, colour photos.

Additional product information

ISBN 9781789543537

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