New Medieval Books: From Manuscripts to Cathedrals


Five new books about the Middle Ages that will take you to Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

The Cathedrals of Pisa, Siena and Florence: A Thorough Study of Medieval Building Techniques

By Pietro Matracchi and Luca Giorgi

CRC press
ISBN; 978-1-032-01920-8

Moving out: At the time they were built, there was no supposed original design that would have provided all the necessary information; Rather, the main decisions about the selection and manufacture of the materials and constructive solutions were made on the construction site itself. Furthermore, decisions about the architectural style to be created were often made incrementally during the execution phases, often showing a willingness to make changes capable of challenging earlier decisions. The construction site was a place where architectural experiments took place.

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The political message of the shrine of St. Heribert of Cologne: church and empire after the Investiture Controversy

By Carolyn M Carty

ARC Humanities Press

Overview: This is the first book in English devoted exclusively to one of the most important reliquary shrines of the Maasan Rhineland, the Heribert shrine. Carolyn M. Carty examines how liturgy, history, politics and geography, following the Investiture Controversy between the Church and the Holy Roman Empire, interact to influence the creation and message of a work of art. She argues that the Heribert Shrine’s images and inscriptions support the supremacy of the church over the state, with corresponding implications for the intended viewers of the shrine.

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Embodying the Soul: Medicine and Religion in Carolingian Europe

By MegLeja

University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 9780812253894

Excerpt: Hair removal was serious business in the Carolingian era. Even the assumption of the title “King of the Franks” from the long-established Merovingian family was symbolically connected with a haircut. In 751, the last Merovingian king was deposed, shaved and tortured, and committed to a monastery – the “long-haired” kings, whose tresses are imbued with a mysterious power, we are relegated to the past. The new Carolingian dynasty would favor a close-cropped hairstyle with a long mustache, as endorsed by the famous Charlemagne.

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Community, urban health, and the environment in the late medieval Netherlands

By Janna Coomans

Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 978-1-108-83177-2

Excerpt: Health and hygienic conditions are topics where “Middle Ages” is still regularly used as a mobile pejorative term. A better understanding of public health during the reporting period also helps move forward in these discussions. We therefore study them in their own terms, from an emic perspective, as opposed to an etic perspective that projects contemporary definitions and methods of studying public health back in time and evaluates societies’ prophylactic practices accordingly. In doing so, it becomes clear that pre-modern notions of community well-being differ in fascinating ways from their modern counterparts, from which many lessons can be drawn.

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Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Cultures and Connections

By Claire Breay and Joanna Story

Four Courts Press
ISBN: 978-1-84682-866-9

Excerpt: Public narratives sometimes project backward socio-political structures and forms of government that are better documented in later periods. Since ‘England’ as a territorial entity did not exist, either formally or conceptually, before the middle decades of the 10th century, one aim of the exhibition was to trace the fate of earlier kingdoms and to explain the steps towards the emergence of a single kingdom, as documented and remembered in the written ones Sources surviving from the later part of the period. The essays contained here reflect the broad chronological, thematic and geographical spectrum of the exhibition itself and report on the results of new research in a large number of handwritten testimonies.

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