Book picks similar to
The Cathars: The Most Successful Heresy of the Middle Ages by Sean Martin
The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Spectacular Death of the Medieval Cathars
Stephen O'Shea - 2000
Chronicles the life & death of the Cathar movement, led by a group of heretical Christians whose brutal suppression by the Catholic Church unleashed the Inquisition.
Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy
John Julius Norwich - 2011
Norwich presents such popes as Innocent I, who in the fifth century successfully negotiated with Alaric the Goth, an invader civil authorities could not defeat; Leo I, who two decades later tamed (and perhaps paid off) Attila the Hun; the infamous “pornocracy”—the five libertines who were descendants or lovers of Marozia, debauched daughter of one of Rome’s most powerful families; Pope Paul III, “the greatest pontiff of the sixteenth century,” who reinterpreted the Church’s teaching and discipline; John XXIII, who in five short years starting in 1958 instituted reforms that led to Vatican II; and Benedict XVI, who is coping with today’s global priest sex scandal.
The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars' Rebellion Against the Inquisition, 1290-1329
René Weis - 2000
The Cathars, whose religion was based on the Gospels but contradicted the tenets set forth by Rome, found themselves the focus of ruthless repression. In systematic waves of brutal persecution, thousands of Cathars were captured, summarily tried, and burned at the stake as heretics. Yet so ardent was their faith that during the years 1290 to 1329, the Cathars rose up one last time. René Weis tells the dramatic and moving story of these thirty years, offering a rich medieval tale of faith, adventure, sex, and courage. Having spent years exploring a rich trove of untouched information, including trial records and interrogation transcripts, Weis creates a remarkably detailed portrait of the last great gasp of the movement and the day-to-day life of the individual Cathars in their villages. This is an exceptionally vivid re-creation of a fascinating, and otherwise lost, world.
The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages
Norman Cohn - 1957
At the dawn of the 21st millennium the world is still experiencing these anxieties, as seen by the onslaught of fantasies of renewal, doomsday predictions, and New Age prophecies.This fascinating book explores the millenarianism that flourished in western Europe between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries. Covering the full range of revolutionary and anarchic sects and movements in medieval Europe, Cohn demonstrates how prophecies of a final struggle between the hosts of Christ and Antichrist melded with the rootless poor's desire to improve their own material conditions, resulting in a flourishing of millenarian fantasies. The only overall study of medieval millenarian movements, The Pursuit of the Millennium offers an excellent interpretation of how, again and again, in situations of anxiety and unrest, traditional beliefs come to serve as vehicles for social aspirations and animosities.
Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error
Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie - 1975
When Jacquest Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers, launched an elaborate Inquisition to stamp them out, the peasants & shepherds he interrogated revealed, along with their position on official Catholicism, many details of their everyday life. Basing his absorbing study on these vivid, carefully recorded statements of peasants who lived more than 600 years ago--Pierre Clergue, the powerful village priest & shameless womanizer is even heard explaining his techniques of seduction--eminent historian Le Roy Ladurie reconstructs the economy & social structure of the community & probes the most intimate aspects of medieval life: love & marriage, gestures & emotions, conversations & gossip, clans & factions, crime & violence, concepts of time & space, attitudes to the past, animals, magic & folklore, death & beliefs about the other world.
The Reformation: A History
Diarmaid MacCulloch - 2003
Acclaimed as the definitive account of these epochal events, Diarmaid MacCulloch's award-winning history brilliantly recreates the religious battles of priests, monarchs, scholars, and politicians--from the zealous Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses to the polemical John Calvin to the radical Igantius Loyola, from the tortured Thomas Cranmer to the ambitious Philip II. Drawing together the many strands of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and ranging widely across Europe and the New World, MacCulloch reveals as never before how these dramatic upheavals affected everyday lives--overturning ideas of love, sex, death, and the supernatural, and shaping the modern age.
Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages
Richard E. Rubenstein - 2003
His ideas spread like wildfire across Europe, offering the scientific view that the natural world, including the soul of man, was a proper subject of study. The rediscovery of these ancient ideas sparked riots and heresy trials, caused major upheavals in the Catholic Church, and also set the stage for today's rift between reason and religion. In Aristotle's Children, Richard Rubenstein transports us back in history, rendering the controversies of the Middle Ages lively and accessible-and allowing us to understand the philosophical ideas that are fundamental to modern thought.
How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe
Thomas Cahill - 1995
The great heritage of western civilization - from the Greek and Roman classics to Jewish and Christian works - would have been utterly lost were it not for the holy men and women of unconquered Ireland. In this delightful and illuminating look into a crucial but little-known "hinge" of history, Thomas Cahill takes us to the "island of saints and scholars, " the Ireland of St. Patrick and the Book of Kells. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes laboriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the west's written treasures. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning. Thus the Irish not only were conservators of civilization, but became shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on western culture.
The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
Thomas Asbridge - 2010
Thomas Asbridge—a renowned historian who writes with “maximum vividness” (Joan Acocella, The New Yorker)—covers the years 1095 to 1291 in this big, ambitious, readable account of one of the most fascinating periods in history. From Richard the Lionheart to the mighty Saladin, from the emperors of Byzantium to the Knights Templar, Asbridge’s book is a magnificent epic of Holy War between the Christian and Islamic worlds, full of adventure, intrigue, and sweeping grandeur.
The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity
Richard Fletcher - 1997
It is a very large story, for conversion encompassed much more than religious belief. With it came enormous cultural change: Latin literacy and books, Roman notions of law and property, and the concept of town life, as well as new tastes in food, drink, and dress. Whether from faith or by force, from self-interest or by revelation, conversion had an immense impact that is with us even today. It is Richard Fletcher's achievement in this superb work that he makes that impact both felt and understood.
Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire
Judith Herrin - 2007
The name evokes grandeur and exoticism - gold, cunning, and complexity. In this unique book, Judith Herrin unveils the riches of a quite different civilization. Avoiding a standard chronological account of the Byzantine Empire's millennium - long history, she identifies the fundamental questions about Byzantium - what it was, and what special significance it holds for us today.Bringing the latest scholarship to a general audience in accessible prose, Herrin focuses each short chapter around a representative theme, event, monument, or historical figure, and examines it within the full sweep of Byzantine history - from the foundation of Constantinople, the magnificent capital city built by Constantine the Great, to its capture by the Ottoman Turks.She argues that Byzantium's crucial role as the eastern defender of Christendom against Muslim expansion during the early Middle Ages made Europe - and the modern Western world - possible. Herrin captivates us with her discussions of all facets of Byzantine culture and society. She walks us through the complex ceremonies of the imperial court. She describes the transcendent beauty and power of the church of Hagia Sophia, as well as chariot races, monastic spirituality, diplomacy, and literature. She reveals the fascinating worlds of military usurpers and ascetics, eunuchs and courtesans, and artisans who fashioned the silks, icons, ivories, and mosaics so readily associated with Byzantine art.An innovative history written by one of our foremost scholars, Byzantium reveals this great civilization's rise to military and cultural supremacy, its spectacular destruction by the Fourth Crusade, and its revival and final conquest in 1453.
God's War: A New History of the Crusades
Christopher Tyerman - 2006
From 1096 to 1500, European Christians fought to recreate the Middle East, Muslim Spain, and the pagan Baltic in the image of their God. The Crusades are perhaps both the most familiar and most misunderstood phenomena of the medieval world, and here Christopher Tyerman seeks to recreate, from the ground up, the centuries of violence committed as an act of religious devotion. The result is a stunning reinterpretation of the Crusades, revealed as both bloody political acts and a manifestation of a growing Christian communal identity. Tyerman uncovers a system of belief bound by aggression, paranoia, and wishful thinking, and a culture founded on war as an expression of worship, social discipline, and Christian charity. This astonishing historical narrative is imbued with figures that have become legends--Saladin, Richard the Lionheart, Philip Augustus. But Tyerman also delves beyond these leaders to examine the thousands and thousands of Christian men--from Knights Templars to mercenaries to peasants--who, in the name of their Savior, abandoned their homes to conquer distant and alien lands, as well as the countless people who defended their soil and eventually turned these invaders back. With bold analysis, Tyerman explicates the contradictory mix of genuine piety, military ferocity, and plain greed that motivated generations of Crusaders. He also offers unique insight into the maturation of a militant Christianity that defined Europe's identity and that has forever influenced the cyclical antagonisms between the Christian and Muslim worlds. Drawing on all of the most recent scholarship, and told with great verve and authority, God's War is the definitive account of a fascinating and horrifying story that continues to haunt our contemporary world. (20060724)
The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors
Dan Jones - 2017
A band of elite warriors determined to fight to the death to protect Christianity’s holiest sites. A global financial network unaccountable to any government. A sinister plot founded on a web of lies.Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since. In this groundbreaking narrative history, Dan Jones tells the true story of the Templars for the first time in a generation, drawing on extensive original sources to build a gripping account of these Christian holy warriors whose heroism and alleged depravity have been shrouded in myth. The Templars were protected by the pope and sworn to strict vows of celibacy. They fought the forces of Islam in hand-to-hand combat on the sun-baked hills where Jesus lived and died, finding their nemesis in Saladin, who vowed to drive all Christians from the lands of Islam. Experts at channeling money across borders, they established the medieval world’s largest and most innovative banking network and waged private wars against anyone who threatened their interests.Then, as they faced setbacks at the hands of the ruthless Mamluk sultan Baybars and were forced to retreat to their stronghold in Cyprus, a vindictive and cash-strapped King of France set his sights on their fortune. His administrators quietly mounted a damning case against the Templars, built on deliberate lies and false testimony. Then on Friday October 13, 1307, hundreds of brothers were arrested, imprisoned and tortured, and the order was disbanded amid lurid accusations of sexual misconduct and heresy. They were tried by the Pope in secret proceedings and their last master was brutally tortured and burned at the stake. But were they heretics or victims of a ruthlessly repressive state? Dan Jones goes back to the sources tobring their dramatic tale, so relevant to our own times, in a book that is at once authoritative and compulsively readable.