Everybody’s Jerusalem

These two books have more in common than their subject. Both present Jerusalem through the medium of descriptions by residents, visitors, and pilgrims, and chronologically they complement each other. Professor Peters begins with Abraham and passages from Genesis. He ends with a quotation from Edward Robinson, who first came to …

Parfit Gentil Knights

Chivalry is a word that nearly everyone knows and uses, but what does it mean? We associate it with a code of conduct that places help for others, especially for the weak, the helpless, and those in distress, before self-advantage. Yet this is not all. The word derives from the …

The Hunter and the Haunted

Dr. Partner’s short book is divided into two equal parts, of which the first is easier to read and review than the second. It begins by surveying the history of the Knights Templar from their foundation in the early twelfth century to their brutal suppression in the early fourteenth. The …

Below the Boot

Self-government has been rare among the populations of the Mediterranean islands. Their harbors have been an enticement to the commercial Empire builders—the Phoenicians, the Venetians, the British. They have been too small to preserve their independence against sea-borne conquerors—Romans, Arabs, Normans, Ottoman Turks—or to resist being disposed of by will …

Brightening Up the Dark Ages

The emergence of Western Europe as an identifiable society in world history is a theme that remains popular with medieval historians, and especially for those writing, as all other authors are, for the interested general reader. It is one that they like to discuss in biological metaphors—life, death, growth, decay.

Born Yesterday

The Middle Ages is a term of convenience. It denotes an epoch which lay between two others more familiar to our educated ancestors: on the one hand the ancient world, on whose literature their education had been founded, and, on the other, that immediate past of which they and their …

Is It True about the Templars?

The trial of the Knights Templars is one of the causes célèbres of medieval history. Of all the spiritual and military Orders that flourished in the Europe of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, none stood higher in reputation and influence. The Knights, who took monastic vows, were also pledged to …

The Siege of Byzantium

In 1453 Constantinople was the capital of a Byzantine emperor who had no empire. Outside the city his authority was accepted in parts of the Peloponese, and nowhere else. Eastwards in Asia Minor, westwards in Thrace and beyond, the lands ruled by his predecessors were firmly held by the Ottoman …