Accused of being a demon by those who could not tolerate her independence, Eleanor of Aquitaine made her mark as one of the most dynamic and extraordinary figures of the Middle Ages. Born in 1122, Eleanor refused to be confined by the traditional gender roles of her time. She became well educated, gaining political and governing know-how from her father, William X, duke of Aquitaine, and armed herself with the skills necessary to become an influential queen-first of France, and later, England. With an impact that reached beyond politics, Eleanor shaped the future of the arts and humanities. And in a time when women were viewed as inferior to men, the virtues of chivalry and courtly love were born. Once described by a contemporary as "a woman beyond compare," Eleanor of Aquitaine is a figure who will remain controversial, powerful, and enchanting in the twenty-first century.
Islam and Christianity in Medieval Anatolia offers a comparative approach to understanding the spread of Islam and Muslim culture in medieval Anatolia. It aims to reassess work in the field since the 1971 classic by Speros Vryonis, The Decline of Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization which treats the process of transformation from a Byzantinist perspective. Since then, research has offered insights into individual aspects of Christian-Muslim relations, but no overview has appeared. Moreover, very few scholars of Islamic studies have examined the problem, meaning evidence in Arabic, Persian and Turkish has been somewhat neglected at the expense of Christian sources, and too little attention has been given to material culture. The essays in this volume examine the interaction between Christianity and Islam in medieval Anatolia through three distinct angles, opening with a substantial introduction by the editors to explain both the research background and the historical problem, making the work accessible to scholars from other fields. The first group of essays examines the Christian experience of living under Muslim rule, comparing their experiences in several of the major Islamic states of Anatolia between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, especially the Seljuks and the Ottomans. The second set of essays examines encounters between Christianity and Islam in art and intellectual life. They highlight the ways in which some traditions were shared across confessional divides, suggesting the existence of a common artistic and hence cultural vocabulary. The final section focusses on the process of Islamisation, above all as seen from the Arabic, Persian and Turkish textual evidence with special attention to the role of Sufism.
Medieval Sexuality: A Casebook is a fascinating collection featuring both new and established experts in the field. The volume includes 11 original essays by Ross Balzaretti, Philip Crispin, Dominic Janes, Hugh Kennedy, A. Lynn Martin, Kim M. Phillips, Samantha J. E. Riches, Joyce E. Salisbury, David Santiuste, and the volume editors, April Harper and Caroline Proctor. The authors explore a variety of sources, contributing work on a diverse range of topics including: sources for sexuality in Late Lombard Italy; the problematic reception of early medieval penitentials by modern readers; sexuality as experienced by the desert fathers and mothers; connections between saints, monsters, and sexuality in medieval art and hagiography; the relationship between food, seduction, and adultery in the fabliaux; sex, alcohol, and the late medieval stereotype of the unruly woman; sex as a medical and moral concern in medieval regimens of health; ideas of sexuality in political discourse; sex and scandal in festive drama; debates on sexual orientation in Arabic court literature; and pre-colonial descriptions of sexuality in the Far East. The volume concludes with a useful selection of further reading.
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