medieval history

Homage to Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor

10 August 2019 9:00 am

It is not often that a book’s blurb gives any idea of what’s inside, but Helen Castor’s endorsement — ‘a…

Heroism in a hopeless cause: why the crusades remain fascinating

15 June 2019 9:00 am

The crusades are part of everyone’s mental image of the Middle Ages. They extended, in one form or another, from…

Rebel girls of the 13th century

13 April 2019 9:00 am

Women who can — however tenuously — be described as ‘rebel girls’ are big in publishing now. Goodnight Stories for…

The Siege of Acre, depicted in Chroniques de France ou de Saint Denis (1487)

The Siege of Acre: a monstrous blot on the Third Crusade

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Lionheart! Saladin! Massacre! There is no shortage of larger-than-life characters and drama in the epic, two-year siege of Acre, the…

The ruins of Dougga, Tunisia convinced Ibn Khaldun that North Africa had once been extremely prosperous and heavily populated

How a 14th-century Arab thinker influenced Ronald Reagan’s fiscal policy

3 March 2018 9:00 am

  At a press conference in October 1981, Ronald Reagan quoted Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) in support of what is known…

Dyers at work. There was a tradition that Jesus was apprenticed to a dyer when young

The pilgrims’ ways

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Liza Picard, an chronicler of London society across the centuries, now weaves an infinity of small details into an arresting…

The Templars’ final disaster: Guillaume de Clermont on the ramparts of Acre in 1291. Painting by Dominique Papety

Crusading passions

9 September 2017 9:00 am

In W.B. Yeats’s ‘Meditations in Time of Civil War’, a testing allusion emerges amid a scene of nightmare: Monstrous familiar…

Detail of mosaic depicting the martyrdom of Saints Castus and Cassius, 12th century, at the Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily

Norman Sicily was a multicultural paradise – but it didn’t last long

9 April 2016 9:00 am

A few weeks ago, I looked out on the Cathedral of Monreale from the platform on which once stood the…