medieval history

Robert the Bruce — master of guerrilla warfare

11 January 2020 9:00 am

The story of Robert the Bruce runs from the death of Alexander III of Scotland in 1286 to Robert’s own…

Eleanor of Aquitaine is still as elusive as quicksilver

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Eleanor of Aquitaine is the most famous woman of the Middle Ages: queen of France and England, crusader, mother of…

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

There are lessons to be learned from the disintegration of this once majestic multicultural Norman kingdom, says Martin Gayford