From Thomas Becket to Charlemagne, from Leif Erickson to Count Dracula, this series of biographical essays separates truth from legend as it explores the lives of some of the most accomplished and influential figures of medieval history.
Drawing on the latest research, Icons of the Middle Ages: Rulers, Writers, Rebels, and Saints examines the lives of some of the most remarkable personalities of the Medieval Era—powerful, ruthless, compassionate, brilliant people who remain widely influential today.
Each portrait in this extraordinary gallery sets its subject in the context of their world, revealing what we really know about their lives, their iconic status in their own times, and their lasting legacies in our time. Readers will encounter fascinating individuals devoted to the pursuit of power (Richard III), to freedom (Robert the Bruce), to philosophy and religion (Maimonides; Thomas More), and to the arts (Dante; Hildegard of Bingen). Additional chapters explore life in the medieval castle and the advent of siege warfare—two defining developments in the Middle Ages.
- Contributions from 18 accomplished scholars and writers bring their fascinating medieval era subjects to life in 20 entries—18 biographical and 2 topical entries
- Bibliographical references and "Suggestions for Further Reading" for each chapter
- Presents in lively fashion the fascinating careers of major medieval figures whose influence extends to the present day
- Separates fact from fiction as it reveals what we really know about the real people and legendary characters
- Demonstrates how the long-ago past continues to influence the present in many popular cultural spheres
"This work will be useful to beginning medieval scholars as it is a good place for initial research on prominent figures of the period. A welcome addition to secondary libraries needing to update their history sections or medieval studies collections."
"Overall, the essays are well-written and accessible, providing a solid overview of each icon’s life and legacy, both historical and modern. Students will find them to be a useful starting point for research in this area. Recommended for academic and large high school and public libraries."
"Icons of the Middle Ages is a selective, if unconventional, reference focusing on 21 'larger-than-life medieval men and women.' Editor Matheson (Michigan State) heads an impressive list of contributors who focus on the 'iconic quality' (person as cultural phenomenon) of a variety of well-known medieval figures . . . Easy-to-read entries provide abundant biographical context and consider individuals' 'lasting significance' all the way through to their influence on contemporary pop culture. Entries are all-encompassing and, as necessary, feature well-placed time lines, fact boxes, and quotations."