[tabs] [tab title=”Publisher’s Blurb”] The British Library’s Luttrell Psalter is probably the best-known of all English illuminated manuscripts. Even before it was bought for the nation in 1929, social historians were using it to illustrate early-14th-century agrarian life in the Midlands. This book presents a detailed analysis and critique of the use of these illuminations as records of historical experience, and an examination of the relationship between them and the construction of time past. The Luttrell Psalter was made in order to consolidate the social position of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell as Lord of Irnham at a time when his family was shaken by a scandalous charge of incest. By drawing on research on the village of Irnham as well as on Sir Geoffrey’s manor itself – his tomb, his will and the urban illuminators he employed – the author seeks to show that, rather than serving as a perfect mirror in miniature of a feudal society, the Luttrell Psalter flaunts the cracks and contradictions in the social system of the time, and ultimately heralds that system’s demise. [/tab] [/tabs]
At St Ives 2016, we did two talks. One on gemstones and their meanings and one on The Humoural theory.
As part of the humoural theory talk, we recommended
“The fyrst boke of the introduction of knowledge made by Andrew Borde, of physycke doctor. A compendyous regyment; or, A dyetary of helth made in Mountpyllier” written by ah, Andrew Borde, who was Henry the 8th’s physcian after Sir William Butts passed. (They believed in clear titles then….)
This is part of a series on medieval craftsmen from the University of Toronto Press. (Must find some of these other titles, glass painters, armorers, goldsmiths etc)
The name gives it away, this is about paper and parchment makers, ink-makers and scribes and illuminators, binders and booksellers.
There’s a lot of references to period sources, including quotes from written sources and lots and lots of manuscript images. It’s not a how to, except in making the tools. There’s a fair amount of detail on how to stretch a hide and then scrape it to make the parchment and some photos of a modern reconstruction. There’s actually a lot of images in this book – photos of artefacts and modern reconstructions, and lots and lots of manuscript images. (including an adorable half finished 15th century sketch of French birds.)
Get it from someone who is a good goldbeater; and examine the gold; and if you find it rippling and matt, like goat parchment, then consider it good.
The tone is good and flows well without being too dry.The book is less than 70 pages so it can’t go into great depth about the subject matter, but it does present a good (and well researched) broad brush on the subject matter.
I would recommend this book for anyone getting started in making parchment, ink or looking at getting into illumination. It’s a good history of, and has some information about how to do it, but it is definitely not a “how to”.
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Illuminated manuscripts survive in great numbers from the Middle Ages. They are often beautifully preserved, enabling us to appreciate the skilled design and craftsmanship of the people who created them. Christopher de Hamel describes each stage of production from the preparation of the vellum, pens, paints and inks to the writing of the scripts and the final decoration and illumination of the book. He then examines the role of the stationer or bookshop in co-ordinating book production and describes the supply of exemplars and the accuracy of texts. He follows the careers of a number of specific scribes and illuminators who emerge not as anonymous monks but as identifiable professional lay artisans. He also looks at those who bought the completed books, why they did so, and how much they paid.His survey ranges from the eleventh century through the golden age of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to the luxurious manuscripts existing at the invention of printing. [/tab] [/tabs]
James Stallard is a 14th century re-enactor from Victoria. An extremely experienced fighter, well regarded in the Australian National Scene, we asked him for his favourite books to share with everyone.
Chivalry by Maurice Keen
Deeds of Arms by Steven Mulburgher
A translation of Charney Tournament in England 1100-1400
(Note, this book is currently out of print.)
The Book of the Order of Chivalry by Ramon Llull.
Just for fun
The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
“This book isn’t essential by a bloody good read and lots of fun. For more advanced readers it seems basic but there is always something to learn. I’m intermediately read of the medieval topic and I’m loving this book because it’s very vivid! And learning more about poor people!”
Records of the Medieval Swords by Ewart Oakeshott
Stop buying F***ING Viking swords for 14th Century! I’m don’t care how cheap it was!
Tell us what you really think James…..
Got a favourite chivalric or tournament book? Comment with a link and let us know, we’d love to know what yours is.
[tabs] [tab title=”Chivalry Publisher Blurb”] Chivalry–with its pageants, heraldry, and knights in shining armor–was a social ideal that had a profound influence on the history of early modern Europe. In this eloquent and richly detailed book, a leading medieval historian discusses the complex reality of chivalry: its secular foundations, the effects of the Crusades, the literature of knighthood, and its ethos of the social and moral obligations of nobility. “This is a rich book, making effective use of all sorts of documents and illustrations. Keen moves easily across Europe in search of the international spirit of chivalry…The pageantry he presents is colorful and his conclusions uplifting.”–David Herlihy, New York Times Book Review “An elegantly written, important book.”–Carolly Erickson, Los Angeles Times Book Review “Splendid…Keen is exemplary in the use he makes of many kinds of medieval literature, epic and lyric poetry, family and military histories, didactic treatises, translations into the vernacular of books of the Bible and of works from ancient Rome.”–R.C. Smail, New York Review of Books “Original [and] beguiling.” –Fiona MacCarthy, Times (London) “A most readable and comprehensive survey: stimulating, informative, a splendid creation of context.”–Nicholas Orme, Times Higher Education Supplement “All historians of Western society …will do well to refer to this book.”–Georges Duby, Times Literary Supplement [/tab][tab title=”Deed of Arms”] During the 14th century, men of arms–knights and soldiers–exercised themselves in various forms of competitions to both refine their skills and as a matter of national honor. Steven Muhlberger details these contests, analyzing how their renown was of great politial importance. Drawn from an extensive study of all remaining sources from the 14th century, Dr. Muhlberger brings his considerable scholarly expertise together with a knack for accessible writing to produce what will become the definitive work on the subject [/tab][tab title=”The Book of the Order of Chilavlry”] Ramon Llull (1232-1316) composed The Book of the Order of Chivalry between 1274 and 1276 as both an instrument of reform and an agent for change. His aim was to create and codify the rules for a unilateral Order of Chivalry. Loyalty to the Order, coupled with common sense, religious faith, education, and martial prowess, were in his view the keys to victory in the Holy Land and the Reconquista. The book was an immediate success and widely disseminated across Europe, eventually reaching a medieval English audience, though through a fanciful translation of a translation by William Caxton, in which most of the stylistic nuances of the Catalan original were lost. This new translation is directly from the original Catalan, so capturing for the first time in English the concise, austere style that characterises Llull’s prose; it is presented with introduction and notes. It will be essential reading for all scholars and enthusiasts of medieval chivalric culture. Noel Fallows is Associate Dean and Professor of Spanish at the University of Georgia, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London [/tab][tab title=”Time Travellers Guide To Medieval England”] The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there…Imagine you could travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see, and hear, and smell? Where would you stay? What are you going to eat? And how are you going to test to see if you are going down with the plague? In The Time Traveller’s Guide…Ian Mortimer’s radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. History is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived, whether that’s the life of a peasant or a lord. The result is perhaps the most astonishing history book you are ever likely to read; as revolutionary as it is informative, as entertaining as it is startling [/tab][tab title=”Record of the Medieval Sword”] Forty years of intensive research into the specialised subject of the straight two-edged knightly sword of the European middle ages are contained in this classic study. Spanning the period from the great migrations to the Renaissance, Ewart Oakeshott emphasises the original purpose of the sword as an intensely intimate accessory of great significance and mystique. There are over 400 photographs and drawings, each fully annotated and described in detail, supported by a long introductory chapter with diagrams of the typological framework first presented in The Archaeology of Weapons and further elaborated in The Sword in the Age of Chivalry. There are appendices on inlaid blade inscriptions, scientific dating, the swordsmith’s art, and a sword of Edward III. Reprinted as part of Boydell’s History of the Sword series. [/tab] [/tabs]
Alex the Potter of Flaming Gargoyles says “It’s great!”
Amsterdam Ceramics provides a look at the ceramic finds in Amsterdam over the past 900 years. It’s organised by time period and each piece has a brief description of what the item is and the size. Each chapter has a brief intro with some other (non ceramic) archeological finds. (Iron handsaw! Finally we find someone who has the evidence!)
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Amsterdam Ceramics explores nine centuries of urban history and archaeological ceramics from the city of Amsterdam. A total of 1247 archaeological ceramic items are presented in a catalogue which is chronologically subdivided into nine chapters covering the period 1175-2011, and offers a representative selection of finds from over 200 excavation sites. In introductory chapters to each chronological period the finds are set alongside the changing topography of the city. [/tab] [/tabs]
This handy little book is a stroke of genius on the publishers part. A collection
of recipes from Apicius as researched and trialled by the author ? who just
happens to be the same as co-authored Apicius ? A Critical Review. No
wading through pages of discourse, reviews and examinations of potential
influences ? just straight to the recipes.
To me, it?s not a stand-a- lone because the recipes are not accompanied by
the original text or even a translation of the original. I personally enjoy
knowing about the context a dish was created and enjoyed in. I was also a
little disappointed in the recipes selected (a solid 64 in total). They are either
totally unreproducible (due to extinction of main ingredient, ethical or safety
reasons) or what I would term ?safe? ? they will work and be very tasty (and
very accurate) but actually not very different from the flavour combinations we
are used to today.
This is a totally personal perspective ? and as a primer for someone starting
out presenting Roman style food, it is hard to go past.
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Content”] Sally Grainger has gathered, in one convenient volume, her modern interpretations of 64 of the recipes in the original text. This is not recipes inspired by the old Romans but rather a serious effort to convert the extremely gnomic instructions in the Latin into something that can be reproduced in the modern kitchen which actually gives some idea of what the Romans might have eaten. Sally Grainger, therefore, has taken great pains to suggest means of replicating the particular Roman taste for fermented fish sauce. It may sound unpleasant, but actually is not too far removed from the fish sauces of the Far East and any reproduction of Roman cookery must depend on getting this particular aspect right.” [/tab] [/tabs]