For the first time in a generation, a historian has had the vision and confidence to write a spell-binding account of the era immortalised by Shakespeare's history plays. THE HOLLOW CROWN brilliantly brings to life for the reader a world we have long lost - a strange, Catholic, rural country of monks, peasants, knights and merchants, almost perpetually at war - but continues to define so much of England's national myth.
Drawing on an array of archival evidence from court records to the poems of Chaucer, this work explores how medieval thinkers understood economic activity, how their ideas were transmitted and the extent to which they were accepted. Moving beyond the impersonal operations of an economy to its ethical dimension, Hole’s socio-cultural study considers not only the ideas and beliefs of theologians and philosophers, but how these influenced assumptions and preoccupations about material concerns in late medieval English society. Beginning with late medieval English writings on economic ethics and its origins, the author illuminates a society which, although strictly hierarchical and unequal, nevertheless fostered expectations that all its members should avoid greed and excess consumption. Throughout, Hole aims to show that economic ethics had a broader application than trade and usury in late medieval England.
The struggle for mastery in the book's title is in reality the struggle for different masteries within Great Britain. The book weaves together the histories of England, Scotland and Wales in a new way and argues that all three, in their different fashions, were competing for domination