Well as you have no doubt seen the weekly update all went more than a little pear shaped! So I’m going to hit you with a ton of information and then spend the rest of my time cleaning up as best I can!
Here is a quick list of titles that have been awaiting their introduction for quite some time but have been available on the site.
Our first book in the list is from the Time Team stable and is the first book in the series. I have presented the second book previously and if you missed my post about this companion title go for a little scroll down and you will find it linked in the previous updates. It took it’s time to get here as I had to await it’s reprinting but I feel that it has been worth the wait. This books strength is in it’s illustrations and unfortunately that makes it difficult for me to describe it to you. You can take my word for it or keep an eye out for it next time you catch-up with the store to see this one for yourself; I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Marignano and the Barons War are the next two new titles out of Freezywater Press.
The Battle of Marignano was fought during the War of the League of Cambrai phase of the Italian Wars (1494-1559), that took place on 13 and 14 September 1515, near the town today called Melegnano, 16 km southeast of Milan.
On one side were the French forces of Francis I and some German landsknechts, and, eventually, his Venetian allies and on the other the mercenaries of the Old Swiss Confederacy, since 1512 in control of Milan, where the nominal Sforza duke, Massimiliano – son of Lodovico il Moro, whom the French had previously defeated for possession of Milan, was under Swiss control. The bloody Battle of Marignano was fought to retake control of the Duchy of Milan, the French gate to Italy. This battle really did have the lot. Plots, politics, risky strategy. Click on the picture and read the more in-depth review that is the books description.
The Barons War looks at a much earlier and longer time period of 1264 to 1267. This is actually the 2nd Barons War and England’s 2nd civil war, the first one being caused by the fallout from the signing of the Magna Carter and King John’s refusal to abide by it. One has to remember that England has been no stranger to civil strife over the course of its long history. The 2nd Barons War was like the First, an attempt to curb the Kings power or more realistically to shift some of his power to the Baronial Council. So it was not a civil war in the sense of a popular rising to empower the masses, but still an attempt to change the status quo. Once again and more in-depth summary can be found on the books page, just click on the picture for more information.
Our next title for introduction is Leprosy in Medieval England. Ok how do I approach this book, cause it certainly isn’t easy. Before I read this book if you mentioned Leper in the Medieval context to me my response would have been something along the lines of begging bowl, hand bell, cries of unclean and a fully hooded habit for the wearing of. So while some of this is partially correct a lot of it is pure Victorian and current misconception. It would appear that I have been socialised quite a lot in my views and this book tears down a lot of them and helped me build a more balanced view of the subject. All in all it was and is a horrific disease but the social reaction to it and the manner in which it was dealt with by the Medieval society are all fascinating. One can draw a lot of information about a group from the manner in which they tend and deal with their sick and wounded and this book cast more than a little light on Medieval English Society. I found it utterly fascinating.
Now what would one of our updates be without a cookbook. My final offering for this missive is Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World, which also contains 174 recipes. Now of these 174 only 143 are actually from Medieval Islamic cookbooks and there are 4 cookbooks that are referenced. The book is roughly of two parts, the first section covers the history and sources of the receipts as well as looking at the historical back drop against which these dishes were being prepared. The second half is the recipes, unfortunately it does not offer the original manuscript but the translations do seem to be taken direct from the books complete with asides and off stage references. Each receipt of the first 143 is also referenced to which of the four cookbooks it comes from. The book also contains a fine notes, glossary and index. The last little section is a treatment of contemporary North African cuisine which contains the remaining receipts though these are unreferenced being modern receipts.
This little book makes my mouth water, which I feel is always a good sign in a cookbook. So if you are looking for a little something out of the ordinary or wish to take the taste buds on a Medieval trip but outside of the European experience then I would suggest that you give this book a try. Though I will note that I do think that it will be sometime before I try the Locust Sahna, anything that involves sealing bugs in a jar to ferment doesn’t strike me as a good thing. Guess I’m just not hungry enough… and I hope to never be that hungry!
Ok well that brings us to the end of my literary adventures for today. I’m looking over the piles of new items that have yet to be introduced and I get the feeling that you will be hearing again from me before the weeks is out. I’ll be starting with some music in our next update as this is defiantly one of our underdeveloped areas which we hope to fix. So in the mean time good reading to you and chuck a Locust on the Barbie for me!
Paul and Loreena