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Medieval civilization came of age in thunderous events like the Norman Conquest and the First Crusade. Power fell into the hands of men who imposed coercive new lordships in quest of nobility. Rethinking a familiar history, Thomas Bisson explores the circumstances that impelled knights, emperors, nobles, and churchmen to infuse lordship with social purpose. Bisson traces the origins of European government to a crisis of lordship and... more...

This collection is a notable example of how the cultural history of the middle ages can be written in terms that satisfy both the historian and the literary scholar. John Benton's knowledge of the personnel, structure and finance of medieval courts complemented his understanding of the literature they produced.

This book--the first study of its kind in English in more than fifty years--surveys the history of the medieval Crown of Aragon from its early origins in counties of the eastern Pyrenees. Reviewing the most recent research into the well-preserved archives of the region, Bisson recreates a sense of the energy, drama, and color of these creative and expansionist people between the 12th and 15th centuries. Throughout, the book duly stresses individual... more...

Medieval civilization came of age in thunderous events like the Norman Conquest and the First Crusade. Power fell into the hands of men around castles who imposed coercive new lordships in quest of nobility, heedless of the old public order. In The Crisis of the Twelfth Century, acclaimed historian Thomas Bisson asks what it was like to live in a Europe without government, and he asks how people experienced power, and suffered. Rethinking a familiar... more...