Category Archives: Medieval

Lost Kingdoms by Norman Davies – Aragon


The kingdom of Aragon was a major naval power in the Middle Ages. Its sailors skills at seacraft gave it power – and that power was used to carve out a maritime empire in the western Mediterranean.   Indeed its influence was felt in the eastern half of that sea as well. At its height it comprised in addition to its heartland on the southern side of the Pyrenees: Catalonia, Sardinia, Corsica, Athens, Sicily, Naples and the bit of Italy near to Naples and the Balearic Islands. Naples was no mean possession at the time. It was the largest port in the Western Mediterranean. There were several notable people of aragonese extraction who important figures in the late Middle Ages. Continue reading

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Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

This is a novel that works on several different levels – Dan Brown style pot-boiler, girlie relationship stuff, ghost story, thriller.  But I am going to ignore all that and just talk about the historical bit. Continue reading

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The Medieval Machine by Jean Gimpel

What is your view of the medieval world? A quaint world of tradition and custom? A low tech stable society where everyone knew their place? I don’t know about you but I for a long time wasn’t all that interested in the Middle Ages. It just seemed like a sort of hiatus between the civilisation of the Classical world and the exciting progress of the Renaissance. Indeed I think part of the reason for this was spin on the part of Renaissance scholars keen to show how much more brilliant they were than previous generations. Even the name, Middle Ages, suggests simply a filler between more interesting and significant periods. I don’t think that this view of the Middle Ages is particularly unusual. It is a period that tends to be ignored or romanticised. Continue reading

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