Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pg. 99: Susan Wise Bauer's "The History of the Medieval World"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade by Susan Wise Bauer.

About the book, from the publisher:
A masterful narrative of the Middle Ages, when religion became a weapon for kings all over the world.

From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T’ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled.

In her earlier work, The History of the Ancient World, Susan Wise Bauer wrote of the rise of kingship based on might. But in the years between the fourth and the twelfth centuries, rulers had to find new justification for their power, and they turned to divine truth or grace to justify political and military action. Right thus replaces might as the engine of empire.

Not just Christianity and Islam but the religions of the Persians and the Germans, and even Buddhism, are pressed into the service of the state. This phenomenon—stretching from the Americas all the way to Japan—changes religion, but it also changes the state.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Wise Bauer's blog and website.

The Page 99 Test: The Art of the Public Grovel.

The Page 99 Test: The History of the Medieval World.

--Marshal Zeringue