Posts Tagged ‘Edward II’

As 2012 draws to a close, there are so many items to blog, and so little time…

To begin, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of Norman Schwarzkopf, who was a larger-than-life figure from my childhood. And while there are many conflicting opinions regarding what his actual role and effectiveness was in planning and executing the campaign in 1990-1991, I think that, on balance, as the commander of a complex coalition one couldn’t have asked for much more from a general. With that in mind, here’s an WP article on his passing, a round-up of reactions to him, a thoughtful article about the larger legacy of the Gulf War to untreated veterans (read this!), and a very short PBS obituary. RIP, General.

Here’s a roundup of some links and stories that have caught my eye in the last month or so–enjoy!

Happy New Year!

I haven’t done a “random news” post in a while, so here’s a round up some items that have caught my eye in the last few days.  Some are links originally posted by friends on Facebook, others are more random.

First–I grew up reading H. E. Marshall’s An Island Story and An Empire Story, and was pleasantly surprised to run across this version she did of Guy of Warwick (I gave a paper on aspects of the story over the weekend, so I have the tale very much on the brain).  Great fun, and worth reading.  See the TEAMS edition of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick for more information on the tale itself and a good edition of the text by a leading scholar on the subject.

In more serious vein, apparently the chap responsible for concocting the story about WMDs in Iraq is coming out and “telling all.”  Or just did, the other night, on national British TV.  Sort-of boggles the mind, really, but on the other hand I guess this kind of…crap…has been going on for ages.  Not much else to say, really.

Random historical news: Renaissance painter Caravaggio was murdered by the Knights of St. John, according to a new study by Professor Vincenzo Pacelli of the University of Naples.  Not everyone is buying the theory, but it’s pretty intriguing, and rests on some suggestive evidence.  A couple weeks ago, Michael White posted a rumination the origins of Parliament in The Guardian.  Rather a nifty summary, and I appreciated especially the way he emphasized how easily English political institutions could have developed differently.  Oh, and did you know that Handel wrote an opera on Richard the Lionheart?  Performed in 1727; apparently it has to be seen to be believed, and it WAS seen–front and center in the London Handel Festival. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to get the DVD any time soon…

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Saw this news item from my friends at Medievalists.net, and oh boy this is exciting!!  We’re all familiar (or should be) with Emperor Frederick II’s reputation as a multi-lingual man of affairs (though Heng’s description of him as a “Mozarabic emperor” is verrrry…hyperbolic, let’s say).   As a person and a ruler, he elicited wildly varying reactions during his own time, and these have continued to our own times.  Ibn Al-Jawzi thought him a shallow, clever materialist, and physically not a very imposing specimen–“had he been a slave, he would not have been worth two hundred dihram.”  Certainly not his grandfather’s martial image, that’s for sure.  The defining modern study of Frederick, Kantorowicz’s massive volume, portrayed him as an urbane visionary centuries ahead of his time–the “great man” whose dreams were frustrated by fate and malevolent forces.  David Abulafia’s revisionist biography tries so hard to portray Frederick as typical of his times that you start to wonder how he caused such a stir at all–in other words, if he was that typical of a medieval ruler, how did all that trouble with the Papacy, the Italian cities, and even his own German kingdom come about?   The best  biography to date is Wolfgang Sturner’s brilliant 2-volume study, Friedrich II, but unfortunately for many of you (including my students) it’s only in German, so until I translate it you’ll have to wait.

Ah, the exciting news item!   (more…)