This remarkable collection brings together a host of writings from across different regions and cultures of the Middle Ages, from the ninth to the fifteenth century. They are arranged to follow the life stages of a Medieval woman living a secular existence, from infancy and girlhood, through marriage and motherhood, to widowhood and old age. Some women are famous or captured in exceptional circumstances, many more are anonymous: an abandoned baby in Italy, or an epitaph for the female leader of a Synagogue, speaking across the ages.
Originally composed in Old French, the two chronicles brought together here offer some of the most vivid and reliable accounts of the Crusades from a Western perspective. Villehardouin's Conquest of Constantinople, distinguished by its simplicity and lucidity, recounts the controversial Fourth Crusade, which descended into an all-out attack on the E astern Christians of Byzantium. In Life of Saint Louis, Joinville draws on his close attachment to King Louis IX of France to recall his campaigning in the Holy Land. Together these narratives comprise a fascinating window on events that, for all their remoteness, offer startling similarities to our own age.
"Medieval Saints is a collection remarkable both for its range and for its respect for the richness of the individual texts. Through it, the reader will be able to trace the origin, the diffusion, and the many layers of meaning of a central element of Christianity for a period of well over a millennium. We begin with the martyrs, with vivid tales of public cruelty in the cities of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean and with holy men and women in a recognizably Roman world in its last days. We end, often with the same figures, transformed over time, to become part of the Christian 'folklore' of all Western Europe. Gathered from the vernacular languages of Europe, as well as from Latin texts, this collection does justice to the many layers to which the cult of the saints penetrated, and to the constantly changing views of the human person implied in the idea of Christian sanctity. To read it is to re-live an entire era in the imaginative history of Christian Europe."
This book challenges the standard conception of the Middle Ages as a time of persecution for Jews. Jonathan Elukin traces the experience of Jews in Europe from late antiquity through the Renaissance and Reformation, revealing how the pluralism of medieval society allowed Jews to feel part of their local communities despite recurrent expressions of hatred against them.