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The word ‘hostage’ might immediately bring to mind hostile situations: the entrapment of a wealthy businessman’s daughter in exchange for money, a terrorist incident (1) or a manifestation of domestic abuse.(2) However, the meaning of hostageship has undergone many transformations over time, some of which are brought under the microscope Profe
No exhibition can guarantee a museum a popular success, but the Vikings must surely offer a pretty good shot at it. Where often it is a challenge to establish the identity of an historical culture or phenomenon for a potential audience, absolutely no such problem exists for the Vikings, for everyone – even those who know nothing about history – knows about the Vikings.
The significance of ransoming has long been recognised by students of medieval chivalry and diplomacy. Seen as key to the development of an international aristocratic ethic that mitigated some of the worst excesses of medieval combat the ransom system led to a pan-European conception of a chivalric brotherhood.
As medieval English kings go, William I has been well-served by his modern English biographers. D.C.
In comparison with the many recently published one-volume histories of the crusade movement, Malcolm Barber has undertaken a relatively modest task: a history of the crusader states from the time of the First Crusade (1096–1109) to the end of the Third (1187–92).
The main charateristic of Crusade studies in the post-Runciman era has been expansion and diversification (much like the crusading ‘movement’ itself). One of many new ways into the topic is to focus on how crusades and crusading were received, understood and interpreted by different social groupings.
In an age of crisis a late Roman bureaucrat offered a plan for reforming military recruitment and training to an unnamed emperor, who requested the project’s continuation.
In his new book Steven Pinker, psychologist at Harvard University, sets out to fundamentally alter our understanding of the trajectory of violence from pre-historic times to the present. He takes issue with the widely held perception that the most recent past, the 20th century, was an age of large-scale bloodshed and genocidal slaughter.
Michael Hicks’s new book on the Wars of the Roses seeks to offer a general explanation of the civil wars that dominated English political life in the second half of the 15th century. Declaring that ‘many textbooks on Late Medieval England have been written by the best academic historians and survey what happened, and yet they still do not explain the Wars’ (p.
In the Middle Ages a series of Old French knightly-spoken poems known as chansons de geste, devoted to the subject of crusades, took shape in the north of France.