This narrative history surveying one thousand years of Jewish life integrates the Jewish experience into the context of the overall culture and society of medieval Europe. It presents a new picture of the interaction between Christians and Jews in this tumultuous era.Alienated Minority shows us what it meant to be a Jew in Europe in the Middle Ages. The story begins in the fifth century, when autonomous Jewish rule in Palestine came to a close, and when the papacy, led by Gregory the Great, established enduring principles regarding Christian policy toward Jews. Kenneth Stow examines the structures of self-government in the European Jewish community and the centrality of emerging concepts of representation. He studies economic enterprise, especially banking; constructs a clear image of the medieval Jewish family; and portrays in detail the very rich Jewish intellectual life.Analyzing policies of church and state in the Middle Ages, Stow argues that a firmly defined legal and constitutional position of the Jewish minority in the earlier period gave way to a legal status created expressly for Jews, who in the later period were seen as inimical to the common good. It was this special status that paved the way for the royal expulsions of Jews that began at the end of the thirteenth century.
In the early 1140s, the Bavarian princess Bertha von Sulzbach arrived in Constantinople to marry the Byzantine emperor Manuel Komnenos. Wanting to learn more about her new homeland, the future empress Eirene commissioned the grammarian Ioannes Tzetzes to compose a version of the Iliad as an introduction to Greek literature and culture. He drafted a lengthy dodecasyllable poem in twenty-four books, reflecting the divisions of the Iliad, that combined summaries of the events of the siege of Troy with allegorical interpretations. To make the Iliad relevant to his Christian audience, Tzetzes reinterpreted the pagan gods from various allegorical perspectives. As historical allegory (or euhemerism), the gods are simply ancient kings erroneously deified by the pagan poet; as astrological allegory, they become planets whose position and movement affect human life; as moral allegory Athena represents wisdom, Aphrodite desire.As a didactic explanation of pagan ancient Greek culture to Orthodox Christians, the work is deeply rooted in the mid-twelfth-century circumstances of the cosmopolitan Comnenian court. As a critical reworking of the Iliad, it must also be seen as part of the millennia-long and increasingly global tradition of Homeric adaptation.
Poets of every age deal with roughly the same human emotions, and for the experienced reader poetry is interesting or not depending upon the moment-by-moment intensity of its appeal. This skillful rendering by John Gardner of seven Middle English poems into sparklingly modern verse translation—most of them for the first time—represents a selection of poems that, generally, have real artistic value but are so difficult to read in the original that they are not as well known as they deserve to be. The seven poems are: The Alliterative Morte Arthure, Winner and Waster, The Parliament of the Three Ages, Summer Sunday, The Debate of Body and Soul, The Thrush and the Nightingale,and The Owl and the Nightingale.
The first four poems represent high points in the alliterative renaissance of the fourteenth century. Morte Arthure,here translated for the first time in its entirety into modern verse, is the only heroic romance in Middle English—a work roughly in the same genre as the French Song of Roland. The other three poems have been included in the anthology as further poetic examples.
With his employment of extensive comments and notes on the poems, Gardner provides a wealth of aids to appreciation and understanding of his outstanding translations. The anthology will be of interest to general readers as well as to students.
Animal Fables of the Courtly Mediterranean is a treasure trove of stories and lessons on how to conduct oneself and succeed in life, sometimes through cleverness rather than virtue. They feature human and many animal protagonists, including the two jackals Stephanites and Ichnelates, after whom the book is named, as well as several lion kings. At the heart of this work are tales from the Sanskrit Panchatantra and Mahabharata, to which more were added, both in the original Middle Persian collection and its eighth-century Arabic translation, the widely known Kalīla wa-Dimna.In the eleventh century, readers in Constantinople were introduced to these stories through an abbreviated Greek version, translated by Symeon Seth from the Arabic. The new Byzantine Greek text and English translation presented here is a more complete version, originating in twelfth-century Sicily and connected with Admiral Eugenius of Palermo. It contains unique prefaces and reinstates the prologues and stories omitted by Seth.
Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109 CE), in his work Proslogion, originated the “ontological argument” for God’s existence, famously arguing that “something than which nothing greater can be conceived,” which he identifies with God, must actually exist, for otherwise something greater could indeed be conceived. Some commentators have claimed that although Anselm may not have been conscious of the fact, the Proslogion as well as his Reply to Gaunilo contains passages that constitute a second independent proof: a “modal ontological argument” that concerns the supposed logical necessity of God’s existence. Other commentators disagree, countering that the alleged second argument does not stand on its own but presupposes the conclusion of the first.Anselm’s Other Argument stakes an original claim in this debate, and takes it further. There is a second a priori argument in Anselm (specifically in the Reply), A. D. Smith contends, but it is not the modal argument past scholars have identified. This second argument surfaces in a number of forms, though always turning on certain deep, interrelated metaphysical issues. It is this form of argument that in fact underlies several of the passages which have been misconstrued as statements of the modal argument. In a book that combines historical research with rigorous philosophical analysis, Smith discusses this argument in detail, finally defending a modification of it that is implicit in Anselm. This “other argument” bears a striking resemblance to one that Duns Scotus would later employ.
When does imitation of an author morph into masquerade? Although the Roman writer Ovid died in the first century CE, many new Latin poems were ascribed to him from the sixth until the fifteenth century. Like the Appendix Vergiliana, these verses reflect different understandings of an admired Classical poet and expand his legacy throughout the Middle Ages.The works of the “medieval Ovid” mirror the dazzling variety of their original. The Appendix Ovidiana includes narrative poetry that recounts the adventures of both real and imaginary creatures, erotic poetry that wrestles with powerful desires and sexual violence, and religious poetry that—despite the historical Ovid’s paganism—envisions the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.This is the first comprehensive collection and English translation of these pseudonymous medieval Latin poems.
Not much escapes the intellect and imagination of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas. Whether it be love, children, education, moral reasoning, happiness or the proper dispositions for human existence, St. Thomas seems an expert in all of it. Crime and criminal conduct are no exceptions to this general tendency with him. Not only does he have much to say about it, what he relates is perpetually fresh and surely the bedrock of what is now taken for granted. In this short treatise, the focus targets St. Thomas’s criminal codification – his law of crimes.
Indeed the magnanimity of his crimes code is a subject matter not yet treated in any detail in the scholarly literature. While parts and pieces are covered in many quarters, the literature has yet to develop a systematic, codified examination of Thomistic criminal law. The essence of the endeavor is threefold: first, how does St. Thomas factor the nature of the human person into the concept of criminal culpability and personal responsibility; second, what types of criminal conduct does St. Thomas specifically delineate and define; and lastly, what is Thomas’s view of mitigation and defense, as well as the corresponding punishment meted out for criminal conduct? This short commentary zeroes in on Thomistic Criminal Law – a project which will illuminate the root, the heritage and the foundation of modern criminal codification.
In contemporary discussions of abortion, both sides argue well-worn positions, particularly concerning the question, When does human life begin? Though often invoked by the Catholic Church for support, Thomas Aquinas in fact held that human life begins after conception, not at the moment of union. But his overall thinking on questions of how humans come into being, and cease to be, is more subtle than either side in this polarized debate imagines. Fabrizio Amerini—an internationally-renowned scholar of medieval philosophy—does justice to Aquinas’ views on these controversial issues.Some pro-life proponents hold that Aquinas’ position is simply due to faulty biological knowledge, and if he knew what we know today about embryology, he would agree that human life begins at conception. Others argue that nothing Aquinas could learn from modern biology would have changed his mind. Amerini follows the twists and turns of Aquinas’ thinking to reach a nuanced and detailed solution in the final chapters that will unsettle familiar assumptions and arguments.Systematically examining all the pertinent texts and placing each in historical context, Amerini provides an accurate reconstruction of Aquinas’ account of the beginning and end of human life and assesses its bioethical implications for today. This major contribution is available to an English-speaking audience through translation by Mark Henninger, himself a noted scholar of medieval philosophy.
Architrenius, a satirical allegory in dactylic hexameters completed in 1184 by the Norman poet Johannes de Hauvilla, follows the journey of its eponymous protagonist, the “arch-weeper,” who stands in for an emerging class of educated professionals tempted by money and social standing. Architrenius’s quest for moral instruction leads through vivid tableaux of the vices of school, court, and church, from the House of Gluttony to the Palace of Ambition to the Mount of Presumption. Despite the allegorical nature of Architrenius, its focus is not primarily religious. Johannes de Hauvilla, who taught at an important cathedral school, probably Rouen, uses his stylistic virtuosity and the many resources of Latin poetry to condemn a secular world where wealth and preferment were all-consuming. His highly topical satire anticipates the comic visions of Jean de Meun, Boccaccio, and Chaucer.This edition of Architrenius brings together the most authoritative Latin text with a new English translation of an important medieval poem.
In Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s most famous paintings, grapes, fish, and even the beaks of birds form human hair. A pear stands in for a man’s chin. Citrus fruits sprout from a tree trunk that doubles as a neck. All sorts of natural phenomena come together on canvas and panel to assemble the strange heads and faces that constitute one of Renaissance art’s most striking oeuvres. The first major study in a generation of the artist behind these remarkable paintings, Arcimboldo tells the singular story of their creation.
Drawing on his thirty-five-year engagement with the artist, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann begins with an overview of Arcimboldo’s life and work, exploring the artist’s early years in sixteenth-century Lombardy, his grounding in Leonardesque traditions, and his tenure as a Habsburg court portraitist in Vienna and Prague. Arcimboldo then trains its focus on the celebrated composite heads, approaching them as visual jokes with serious underpinnings—images that poetically display pictorial wit while conveying an allegorical message. In addition to probing the humanistic, literary, and philosophical dimensions of these pieces, Kaufmann explains that they embody their creator’s continuous engagement with nature painting and natural history. He reveals, in fact, that Arcimboldo painted many more nature studies than scholars have realized—a finding that significantly deepens current interpretations of the composite heads.
Demonstrating the previously overlooked importance of these works to natural history and still-life painting, Arcimboldo finally restores the artist’s fantastic visual jokes to their rightful place in the history of both science and art.
Many spectacular examples of Persianate art survive to the present day, safeguarded in Istanbul and beyond—celebrating the glory of the Persian Empire (and, later, the Ottoman Empire). These include illustrated books, featuring exquisitely painted miniatures artfully embedded in the texts of literary masterpieces, as well as tile decorations in medieval Anatolian architecture.Because of their beauty, many Persianate books were deliberately disassembled, their illustrations re-used in newer books or possessed as isolated art objects. As fragments found their way to collections around the world, the essential integration of text and image in the original books was lost. Six art historians and a literary historian—instrumental in reconstruction efforts—trace the long journey from the destructive dispersal of fragments to the joys of restoration.
This volume presents two complementary medieval anthologies containing lyrics by two outstanding Latin poets of the second half of the twelfth century. The poet Peter of Blois was proclaimed by a contemporary of his to be a master composer of rhythmic verse. Peter’s secular love-lyrics gathered in the Arundel manuscript give substance to that claim. Written with a technical virtuosity that rivals the metrical display of Horatian lyric, the poems give eloquent and learned expression to the cult of secular love that emerged in the twelfth century.The collection is further augmented by verse as varied as Christmas poems and satires on the venality of the Roman Curia and immoral bishops, including a famous lament about church corruption by Walther of Châtillon.The cleric Hugh Primas won recognition and fame for compositions in which he reflects upon his experiences, good and bad, while traveling around the cities of northern France (such as the important sees of Rheims and Sens) in search of patronage. Artistic in conception and execution, the poems are memorable for the witty and often acerbic tone with which Primas engages the holders of ecclesiastical power.
A comprehensive biography of the Treatise of the Three Impostors, a controversial nonexistent medieval book.
A new edition featuring Saint Augustine’s dialogue on immortality from a tenth-century Latin manuscript, accompanied by an Old English vernacular adaptation translated into modern English for the first time in a hundred years.Around the turn of the tenth century, an anonymous scholar crafted an Old English version of Saint Augustine of Hippo’s Soliloquia, a dialogue exploring the nature of truth and the immortality of the soul. The Old English Soliloquies was, perhaps, inspired by King Alfred the Great’s mandate to translate important Latin works. It retains Augustine’s focus on the soul, but it also explores loyalty—to friends, to one’s temporal lord, and to the Lord God—and it presses toward a deeper understanding of the afterlife. Will we endure a state of impersonal and static forgetfulness, or will we retain our memories, our accrued wisdom, and our sense of individuated consciousness?This volume presents the first English translation of the complete Old English Soliloquies to appear in more than a century. It is accompanied by a unique edition of Augustine’s Latin Soliloquia, based on a tenth-century English manuscript similar to the one used by the translator, that provides insight into the adaptation process. Both the Latin and Old English texts are newly edited.
The Augustinian Epic, Petrarch to Milton rewrites the history of the Renaissance Vergilian epic by incorporating the neo-Latin side of the story alongside the vernacular one, revealing how epics spoke to each other "across the language gap" and together comprised a single, "Augustinian tradition" of epic poetry. Beginning with Petrarch's Africa, Warner offers major new interpretations of Renaissance epics both famous and forgotten—from Milton's Paradise Lost to a Latin Christiad by his near-contemporary, Alexander Ross—thereby shedding new light on the development of the epic genre. For advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and scholars in the fields of Italian, English, and Comparative literatures as well as the Classics and the history of religion and literature.
Authoring the Past surveys medieval Catalan historiography, shedding light on the emergence and evolution of historical writing and autobiography in the Middle Ages, on questions of authority and authorship, and on the links between history and politics during the period. Jaume Aurell examines texts from the late twelfth to the late fourteenth century—including the Latin Gesta comitum Barcinonensium and four texts in medieval Catalan: James I’s Llibre dels fets, the Crònica of Bernat Desclot, the Crònica of Ramon Muntaner, and the Crònica of Peter the Ceremonious—and outlines the different motivations for the writing of each.
For Aurell, these chronicles are not mere archaeological artifacts but rather documents that speak to their writers’ specific contemporary social and political purposes. He argues that these Catalonian counts and Aragonese kings were attempting to use their role as authors to legitimize their monarchical status, their growing political and economic power, and their aggressive expansionist policies in the Mediterranean. By analyzing these texts alongside one another, Aurell demonstrates the shifting contexts in which chronicles were conceived, written, and read throughout the Middle Ages.
The first study of its kind to make medieval Catalonian writings available to English-speaking audiences, Authoring the Past will be of interest to scholars of history and comparative literature, students of Hispanic and Romance medieval studies, and medievalists who study the chronicle tradition in other languages.
The Avignon papacy (1309–1377) represented the zenith of papal power in Europe. The Roman curia’s move to southern France enlarged its bureaucracy, centralized its authority, and initiated closer contact with secular institutions. The pope’s presence also attracted leading minds to Avignon, transforming a modest city into a cosmopolitan center of learning. But a crisis of legitimacy was brewing among leading thinkers of the day. The Avignon Papacy Contested considers the work of six fourteenth-century writers who waged literary war against the Catholic Church’s increasing claims of supremacy over secular rulers—a conflict that engaged contemporary critics from every corner of Europe.Unn Falkeid uncovers the dispute’s origins in Dante’s Paradiso and Monarchia, where she identifies a sophisticated argument for the separation of church and state. In Petrarch’s writings she traces growing concern about papal authority, precipitated by the curia’s exile from Rome. Marsilius of Padua’s theory of citizen agency indicates a resistance to the pope’s encroaching power, which finds richer expression in William of Ockham’s philosophy of individual liberty. Both men were branded as heretics. The mystical writings of Birgitta of Sweden and Catherine of Siena, in Falkeid’s reading, contain cloaked confrontations over papal ethics and church governance even though these women were later canonized.While each of the six writers responded creatively to the implications of the Avignon papacy, they shared a concern for the breakdown of secular order implied by the expansion of papal power and a willingness to speak their minds.
Browse our collection.
See BiblioVault's publisher services.
Files for college accessibility offices.
UChicago Accessibility Resources
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press