In the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Jordan Landes interviews Darin Hayton about the latter's recent book on the use of astrology as a political tool in an early Renaissance court.
Darin Hayton is associate professor of history of science at Haverford College.
It is surprising how frequently books appear on the subject of Adam, Eve and the Garden of Eden. The already extensive bibliography in this volume could easily be doubled or trebled (1), but it has to be said that this is a fascinating, original and impressive contribution to what we might term protoplastic studies.
King Henry VIII’s quarrel with the papacy over the annulment of his almost 24-year marriage to Catherine of Aragon is familiar to both popular and historical audiences. What is less well known is that papal interference in royal marriages dates as far back as the Carolingian era, although the tools popes used to defend the indissolubility of marriage evolved over time.
In this engaging new book, Thomas Marsden examines the repressive campaign against the Russian Old Believers [staroobriadtsy] launched by the conservative Minister of Internal Affairs Dmitrii Gavrilovich Bibikov (1792–1870) in 1853, just as Nicholas I’s reign (1825–55) was drawing to a close.
The Andalusian jurist Abū Bakr al-Ṭurṭūshī (d. 1126) was once asked whether or not it was permissible to eat cheese imported into Alexandria from the Christian territories along the northern coastline of the Mediterranean. The question clearly intrigued al-Ṭurṭūshī, since he went to considerable lengths to research the subject before issuing his final response.
Missionaries are no strangers to students and researchers of the British Empire. The hackneyed image of the rough-hewn Anglican vicar preaching salvation, Christ, and colonialism to legions of natives is one of the enduring archetypes of British colonialism. This image, like so many similar ones, is not without basis in historical fact.
American evangelicalism has, for some time, been dominated by Baptists. American Baptist churches attract tens of millions of worshippers, and the Southern Baptist Convention stands unrivalled as the single largest Protestant denomination in the country. And yet, despite their numerical hegemony, American Baptists have not attracted commensurate attention from historians.
The name Medici is almost inextricably interlinked with the city of Florence and the idea of the Renaissance in both popular and scholarly imagination. The family dominated the Florentine republic politically for the better part of the 15th century and became, first, dukes of Florence and, then, grand dukes of Tuscany in the 16th.
In his latest book, Dr Peter Elmer grapples with two of the thorniest, and most enduring, questions in the study of witchcraft and witch-hunting: How might we account for fluctuations in the number of witch-craft prosecutions? And what explains the eventual demise of witchcraft prosecutions (in England, at least) by the end of the 17th century?
The first rigorous academic overview of witchcraft in Ireland, this publication is a very welcome addition to a growing corpus of scholarship on this relatively neglected aspect of Irish social and cultural history. For decades, St John D. Seymour’s Irish Witchcraft and Demonology (1) was the only academic text on the subject available to researchers.