Historian and writer Michael Haag has written widely on the Egyptian, Classical,and Medieval worlds. He is the author of The Templars: The History & the Mythand Alexandria: City of Memory, a definitive study of Cavafy, Forster, and LawrenceDurrell in the city, as well as travel guides to Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. He livesin London.
This book combines chronological narrative, discussion of important areas of scholarly enquiry and evidence from primary sources to give a well-rounded survey of the period. It considers not only the military meetings between Muslims and the Crusaders, but also the personal, political, diplomatic and trade interactions that took place between Muslims and Franks away from the battlefield. Through the use of a wide range of translated primary source documents, including chronicles, dynastic histories, religious and legal texts and poetry, the people of the time are able to speak to us in their own voices.
This is the exciting—yet little known—story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.
The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred’s kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father’s land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.
This thrilling adventure—based on existing records of Bernard Cornwell’s ancestors—depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.
Mary Magdalene is a larger figure than any text, larger than the Bible or the Church; she has taken on a life of her own. She has been portrayed as a penitent whore, a wealthy woman, Christ’s wife, an adulteress, a symbol of the frailty of women, and an object of veneration. And, to this day, she remains a potent and mysterious figure.
In the manner of a quest, this book follows Mary Magdalene through the centuries, explores how she has been reinterpreted for every age, and examines what she herself reveals about woman and man and the divine. It seeks the real Mary Magdalene in the New Testament and in the gnostic gospels, where she is extolled as the chief disciple of Christ. It investigates how and why the Church recast her as a fallen woman, traces her story through the Renaissance when she became a goddess of beauty and love, and looks at Mary Magdalene as the feminist icon she has become today.