In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canon’s Yeoman’s Prologue and Tale, the phrase ‘ignotum per ignocius’ is used in connection with the so-called ‘sliding science’ at which the would-be alchemists of the tale labour so diligently.(1) The phrase means to explain the unknown by the more unknown.
Kathleen Walker-Meikle’s book is a welcome addition to the increasing volume of research concerned with the roles animals played throughout history. This genuinely multidisciplinary subject has begun recently to attract attention, a sign that the intellectual market for animal-related topics is expanding among historians.
You may think you know the story of the Tudor dynasty and the steps they took in securing their power and legacy, but what most grand narratives of the Tudor monarchs do not describe is their intimate relationship with the built environment around them.
Francis Young’s Magic as a Political Crime in Medieval and Early Modern England makes an important contribution to both the historiography of political culture in medieval and early modern England and the historiography of magic. This book develops ideas from Young’s previous monograph English Catholics and the Supernatural, 1553–1829.
The late 12th century has long been recognised as a ‘golden age’ of medieval English historiography, and in many ways Michael Staunton’s Historians of Angevin England is a study of that age. To be more precise, it is an examination of the flowering of contemporary history writing in the period between the Great Revolt of 1173–4 and the loss of Normandy in 1204.
The second publication to appear in Routledge’s Rulers of the Latin East series, Simon John’s new book charts the career of Godfrey of Bouillon, a person who was, as the author notes, ‘by any estimation … a significant historical figure’ (p. 1).
For generations of historians, the fall of the Christian-held city of Acre to the Mamluk forces of al-Ashraf Khalil in 1291 brought about the end of the crusading era.
It is acceptable to like bishops again. Perhaps this change in the historiographical weather (would it be too much to label it an ‘episcopal turn’?) is not so much a result of the opening up of new sources, but a reflection of academics’ own positions in the wider world. The 1970s and 1980s fixed us with a standard of bishops as intolerant heresy hunters and seekers-out of deviancy.
The exhibition honouring the legacy of Richard the Lionheart (d. 1199) - king of England, knight and crusading leader - at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz Speyer, Germany, offers a royal tribute to the legacy of this famous medieval ruler. Pageantry, stateliness and effective design create a compelling narrative, supported by displays of the most important treasures of Richard’s reign.
Both in the number and quality of his writings, William of Malmesbury (c.1090-1142) has been widely recognised as one of the foremost contributors to the pronounced historiographical turn seen throughout the Anglo-Norman realm from the first decades of the 12th century onwards.