The Northmen's Fury: A History of the Viking World


Philip Parker - 2014
    It recounts the epic voyages that took them across the Atlantic to the icy fjords of Greenland and to North America over four centuries before Columbus and east to the great rivers of Russia and the riches of the Byzantine empire.One summer’s day in 793, death arrived from the sea. The raiders who sacked the island monastery of Lindisfarne were the first Vikings, sea-borne attackers who brought two centuries of terror to northern Europe. Before long the sight of their dragon-prowed longships and the very name of Viking gave rise to fear and dread, so much so that monks were reputed to pray each night for delivery from ‘the Northmen’s Fury’. Yet for all their reputation as bloodthirsty warriors, the Vikings possessed a sophisticated culture that produced art of great beauty, literature of abiding power and kingdoms of surprising endurance.The Northmen’s Fury describes how and why a region at the edge of Europe came to dominate and to terrorise much of the rest of the continent for nearly three centuries and how, in the end, the coming of Christianity and the growing power of kings tempered the Viking ferocity and stemmed the tide of raids. It relates the astonishing achievement of the Vikings in forging far-flung empires whose sinews were the sea and whose arteries were not roads but maritime trading routes.The blood of the Vikings runs in millions of veins in Europe and the Americas and the tale of their conquests, explorations and achievements continues to inspire people around the world.

Barbarians, Marauders, And Infidels: The Ways Of Medieval Warfare


Antonio Santosuosso - 2004
    In this sweeping chronicle, historical figures and major campaigns such as Charlemagne, the Magyars, and the Crusades are presented not as icons but as a living part of their times, with all their achievements and human failures. Santosuosso asserts that war, for most of the Middle Ages, was carried out for God, personal gain, and honor. Both Christians and Muslims often explained their acts of violence in war as the will of God. Besides the religious motivation, soldiers, if upper class, believed that acts of bravery were a necessary aspect of gaining honor in society. Finally, war constituted a way to make material gains in a period of chronic underemployment and low prosperity. Particular emphasis is given to massive transitions from one period to the next in the medieval era. The author explains how these changes reflected an environment where charismatic leaders, the Church, and the aristocracy played leading roles as "managers" of the art and practice of war and normally as main actors on the battlefield.

Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades


Jonathan Phillips - 2009
    Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoes—from the mysteries of the Templars to the grim reality of al-Qaeda. Holy Warriors puts the past in a new perspective and brilliantly sheds light on the origins of today’s wars.Starting with Pope Urban II’s emotive, groundbreaking speech in November 1095, in which he called for the recovery of Jerusalem from Islam by the First Crusade, Phillips traces the centuries-long conflict between two of the world’s great faiths. Using songs, sermons, narratives, and letters of the period, he reveals how the success of the First Crusade inspired generations of kings to campaign for their own vainglory and set down a marker for the knights of Europe, men who increasingly blurred the boundaries between chivalry and crusading. In the Muslim world, early attempts to call a jihad fell upon deaf ears until the charisma of the Sultan Saladin brought the struggle to a climax. Yet the story that emerges has other dimensions—as never before, Phillips incorporates the holy wars within the story of medieval Christendom and Islam and shines new light on many truces, alliances, and diplomatic efforts that have been forgotten over the centuries.Holy Warriors also discusses how the term “crusade” survived into the modern era and how its redefinition through romantic literature and the drive for colonial empires during the nineteenth century gave it an energy and a resonance that persisted down to the alliance between Franco and the Church during the Spanish Civil War and right up to George W. Bush’s pious “war on terror.”Elegantly written, compulsively readable, and full of stunning new portraits of unforgettable real-life figures—from Richard the Lionhearted to Melisende, the formidable crusader queen of Jerusalem—Holy Warriors is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval Europe, as well as for those seeking to understand the history of religious conflict.

The Templars: The Secret History Revealed


Barbara Frale - 2004
    At its height, the Order of the Knights Templar rivaled the kingdoms of Europe in military might, economic power, and political influence. For 700 years, the tragic demise of this society of warrior-monks amid accusations of heresy has been plagued by controversy, in part because the transcript of their trial by the Inquisition—which held the key to the truth—had vanished. Templar historian Barbara Frale happened to be studying a document at the Vatican Secret Archives when she suddenly realized that it was none other than the long-lost transcript! It revealed that Pope Clement V had absolved the order of all charges of heresy. The Templars chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of the organization against a sweeping backdrop of war, religious fervor, and the struggle for dominance, and finally lifts the centuries-old cloak of mystery surrounding one of the world’s most intriguing secret societies.

Roman Britain and Early England: 55 BC - AD 871


Peter Hunter Blair - 1963
    Because the source material is so meager for much of early British history, Mr. Blair is careful to explain just how scholars have arrived at an accurate knowledge of the first 900 years.The real history of Britain begins with the Roman occupation, for the Romans were the first to leave substantial documentary and archaeological evidence. After the governorship of Agricola the written sources almost entirely disappear until the early Anglo-Saxon era of the fifth century; but archaeologists have been able to gather a great deal of information about the intervening centuries from excavations of old walled towns, roads, and fortresses dating from the Roman period. Mr. Blair skillfully describes the transition from Roman to Saxon England and shows why Rome's greatest legacy to her former colony—Christianity—flowered within Anglo-Saxon culture. The source material on Saxon England is mainly documentary, as these new inhabitants built in wood and little archaeological evidence has survived. However, Bede's Ecclesiatical History of the English Nation and other great Christian writings, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Beowulf, the stories of Caedmon, and other poems and epics in the Germanic minstrelsy tradition, have revealed much about English economic, social, and cultural life up to the accession of Alfred the Great.

The First Crusade: A New History


Thomas Asbridge - 2004
    His words set Christendom afire. Some 100,000 men, from knights to paupers, took up the call--the largest mobilization of manpower since the fall of the Roman Empire. Now, in The First Crusade, Thomas Asbridge offers a gripping account of a titanic three-year adventure filled with miraculous victories, greedy princes and barbarity on a vast scale. Readers follow the crusaders from their mobilization in Europe (where great waves of anti-Semitism resulted in the deaths of thousands of Jews), to their arrival in Constantinople, an exotic, opulent city--ten times the size of any city in Europe--that bedazzled the Europeans. Featured in vivid detail are the siege of Nicaea and the pivotal battle for Antioch, the single most important military engagement of the entire expedition, where the crusaders, in desperate straits, routed a larger and better-equipped Muslim army. Through all this, the crusaders were driven on by intense religious devotion, convinced that their struggle would earn them the reward of eternal paradise in Heaven. But when a hardened core finally reached Jerusalem in 1099 they unleashed an unholy wave of brutality, slaughtering thousands of Muslims--men, women, and children--all in the name of Christianity. The First Crusade marked a watershed in relations between Islam and the West, a conflict that set these two world religions on a course toward deep-seated animosity and enduring enmity. The chilling reverberations of this earth-shattering clash still echo in the world today.

A Brief History of the Hundred Years War


Desmond Seward - 2003
    France was a large, unwieldy kingdom, England was small and poor, but for the most part she dominated the war, sacking towns and castles and winning battles - including such glorious victories as Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, but then the English run of success began to fail, and in four short years she lost Normandy and finally her last stronghold in Guyenne. The protagonists of the Hundred Year War are among the most colourful in European history: for the English, Edward III, the Black Prince and Henry V, later immortalized by Shakespeare; for the French, the splendid but inept John II, who died a prisoner in London, Charles V, who very nearly overcame England and the enigmatic Charles VII, who did at last drive the English out. Desmond Seward's account traces the changes that led to France's final victory and brings to life all the intrigue and colour of the last chivalric combats as they gave way to a more brutal modern warfare.

Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse


Jay Rubenstein - 2011
    At Antioch, the Crusaders -- their saddles freshly decorated with sawed-off heads -- indiscriminately clogged the streets with the bodies of eastern Christians and Turks. At Ma'arra, they cooked children on spits and ate them. By the time the Crusaders reached Jerusalem, their quest -- and their violence -- had become distinctly otherworldly: blood literally ran shin-deep through the streets as the Crusaders overran the sacred city. Beginning in 1095 and culminating four bloody years later, the First Crusade represented a new kind of warfare: holy, unrestrained, and apocalyptic. In Armies of Heaven, medieval historian Jay Rubenstein tells the story of this cataclysmic event through the eyes of those who witnessed it, emphasizing the fundamental role that apocalyptic thought played in motivating the Crusaders. A thrilling work of military and religious history, Armies of Heaven will revolutionize our understanding of the Crusades.

The Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades


Piers Paul Read - 1999
    Examines the history and legacy of the warrior monks, discussing their successful capture of the city of Jerusalem during the Crusades, and their eventual demise.

Trial by Battle: The Hundred Years War, Volume 1


Jonathan Sumption - 1990
    The bankruptcy of the French state and a bitter civil war within the royal family were followed by the defeat and capture of the King of France by the Black Prince at Poitiers. A peasant revolt and a violent revolution in Paris completed the tragedy. In a humiliating treaty of partition France ceded more than a third of its territory to Edward III of England. Not for sixty years would the English again come so close to total victory. France's great cities, provincial towns and rural communities resisted where its leaders failed. They withstood the sustained savagery of the soldiers and the free companies of brigands to undo most of Edward III's work in the following generation. England's triumphs proved to be brittle and short-lived.

Accursed Tower: The Fall of Acre and the End of the Crusades


Roger Crowley - 2019
    After a desperate six weeks, the beleaguered citadel surrendered to the Mamluks, bringing an end to Christendom's two-hundred year adventure in the Middle East.In The Accursed Tower, Roger Crowley delivers a lively narrative of the lead-up to the siege and a vivid, blow-by-blow account of the climactic battle. Drawing on extant Arabic sources as well as untranslated Latin documents, he argues that Acre is notable for technical advances in military planning and siege warfare, and extraordinary for its individual heroism and savage slaughter. A gripping depiction of the crusader era told through its dramatic last moments, The Accursed Tower offers an essential new view on a crucial turning point in world history.

Northmen: The Viking Saga, 793-1241 AD


John Haywood - 2015
    But as these Norse warriors left their northern strongholds to trade, raid, and settle across wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic, their violent and predatory culture left a unique imprint on medieval history. So much so that, by 1200, the Viking homelands had become an integral part of Latin Christendom. Northmen tells this story.Focusing on key events, such as the sack of Lindisfarne in 793 and the murder of the saga-writer Snorri Sturluson in 1241, in authoritative and compelling prose, medieval history expert Dr. John Haywood tells the extraordinary story of the Viking Age shedding light on the causes, impact, and eventual decline of Viking seafaring.

A History Of The Crusades 3 Volume Set


Steven Runciman - 1951
    Volume I deals completely with the First Crusade and the foundation of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Volume II describes the Frankish states of Outremer from the accession of King Baldwin I to the re-conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin, and in the final volume, Runciman examines the revival of the Frankish kingdom from the time of the Third Crusade until its collapse a century later. The interwoven themes of the book include: Christiandom, the replacement of the cultured Ayubites by the less sympathetic Mameluks as leader of the Moslem world, and the coming of the Mongols. Runciman includes a chapter on architecture and the arts, and an epilogue on the last manifestations of the Crusading spirit.

The Templars: History & Myth


Michael Haag - 2008
    Yet two centuries later, the Knights were suddenly arrested and accused of blasphemy, heresy and orgies, their order was abolished, and their leaders burnt at the stake. Their dramatic end shocked their contemporaries and has gripped peoples' imaginations ever since.This new book explains the whole context of Templar history, including, for the first time, the new evidence discovered by the Vatican that the Templars were not guilty of heresy. It covers the whole swathe of Templar history, from its origins in the mysteries of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem through to the nineteenth century development of the Freemasons.The book also features a guide to Templar castles and sites, and coverage of the Templars in books, movies and popular culture, from Indiana Jones to the Xbox360 game Assassin's Creed.

Arab Historians of the Crusades


Francesco Gabrieli - 1969
    For the first time contemporary accounts of the fighting between Muslim and Christian have been translated into English, and the Western reader can learn 'the other side' of the Holy War.Seventeen authors are represented in the extracts in this work, which have been drawn from various types of historical writings. The excerpts are taken firstly from the general histories of the Muslim world, then from chronicles of cities, regions and their dynasties, and finally from biographies or records of the deeds of certain persons. The Arab histories of the Crusades compare favorably with their Christian counterparts in their rich accumulation of material and chronological information. Another of their merits is their faithful characterization, which they practiced in the brief but illuminating sketches of enemy leaders: Baldwin II's shrewdness, Richard Coeur de Lion's prowess in war, the indomitable energy of Conrad of Motferrat, Frederick II's diplomacy. The chronicles are generous, naturally, with their praises of the great champions of the Muslim resistance, especially of Saladin, who towers above all the other leaders in heroic stature. Although, this book gives a sweeping and stimulating view of the Crusades seen through Arab eyes.