Books and music

Agincourt 1415
By Matthew Bennett, Jeffrey Burn
At Agincourt, Henry V’s army, starving and riddled with disease, defeated a French army at odds of more than three to one. The battle, described here in detail using recently discovered evidence, illustrated the dominant power of the English longbowman in Medieval warfare.
Anthology of Medieval Music
By Richard H. Hoppin
English love songs, rondeaux, troubadour ballads, and movements for the Solem Mass of Easter Day are included in an anthology of seventy-one works of medieval music
Blood Red Roses: The Archaeology of a Mass Grave from the Battle of Towton AD 1461
By Veronica Fiorato (Editor), etc.
In 1996 a mass grave believed to be from the Battle of Towton was discovered by chance. This provided the opportunity for the first archaeological excavation of a mass grave from an English battlefield and was the catalyst for a multi-disciplinary research project, beginning with the excavation of the grave, and then a study of the skeletal remains, the battlefield landscape and the historical evidence and contemporary arms and armour. The discoveries were dramatic and moving; the individuals had clearly suffered traumatic deaths and subsequent research highlighted the often multiple wounds each individual had received before and, in some cases after they had died. The exciting forensic work was documented in the Channel Four programme "Secrets of the Dead". An important and controversial question that emerged was whether the soldiers had been killed in battle, or executed as prisoners in its aftermath. This volume publishes the excavation reports and subsequent research, revealing much information about how and in what circumstances the men died and the fighting techniques and weapons and armour employed. Also discussed are the wider implications of the discovery, both in terms of increasing our knowledge and understanding of what happened at Towton, and what it contributes to our knowledge of Mediaeval warfare
Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour
By David Nicolle (Editor)
The primary focus of this book is on the arms and armour of Europe, but it also includes neighbouring cultures where these had a direct influence on developments and changes within Europe, from late Roman cavalry armour, Byzantium and the East, to the influence of the Golden Horde. Specialists cover issues ranging from the migrations to the first firearms, divided into three sections: "From the First Fall of Rome to the Eleventh Century"; "Emergence of a European Tradition in the High Middle Ages"; and "New Influences and New Challenges of the Late Middle Ages". Throughout, there is a particular emphasis on the social and technological aspects of medieval military affairs
Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (2) The Stone castles of Latvia and Estonia 1185-1560
By Stephen Turnball

The Teutonic Knights, a military order of warrior monks consolidated their victories by building a network of castles, firstly of timber and then in stone. In the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia these castles were used to enforce Christianity on the fickle population who would revert back to their old ways as soon the crusaders backs were turned.

This book goes to some length in explaining how the castles were built and, indeed, why they were built where they were. The rich illustrations for which the Osprey series has become famous brighten up what is sometimes a hard read with unfamiliar place names and laboured text but for the latter part of the book, on life in the castle it is worth persevering.

To view this book at the publishers website click here
Contact Osprey Direct, PO Box 140, Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 2FA
UK Telephone +44(0) 1933 443 863 for further details on this and other books in the series.

Dictionary of Word Origins
By Linda and Roger Flavell
As a quick reference to those common words which we all use without thinking this book is a must. Well put together and easy to understand with well researched content. Above all this book is interesting and fun to read. Highly recommended.
Food and Feast in Medieval England
By P.W. Hammond
This fully illustrated book describes the extraordinary range of food which found its way on to the tables of medieval English society, its production and distribution. Although bread, ale, meat and fish were the staple diet, fish often came from as far away as Iceland, and as early as 1480 over 100,000 oranges were being imported to augment the diet. The book covers a wide range of medieval food, from hunting, fish breeding, brewing, baking, food hygiene and storage. The book concludes with an examination of medieval feasts, such as that held at York on 26 December 1251, which took six months to prepare, and saw the consumption of no fewer than 68,500 loaves of bread, 170 boars and 25,000 gallons of wine. Based on archaeological and documentary evidence, this book aims to provide an introduction to an often neglected topic of medieval life
Illuminated Initials in Full Color
By Carol Belanger Grafton (Editor)
An absolutely gorgeous collection of illuminated initials, arranged alphabetically. Lots of styles, from very ornamented to relatively plain. Some initials take up the whole page. If you like illuminations its a great little book. You can also use the images from the book completely royalty free.
Knives and Scabbards
By Jane Cowgill, Margrethe de Neergaard, Nick Griffiths, Geoff Egan
This is a long awaited rewrite and republishing of one of the Museum of London’s Medieval Finds from Excavations in London series. It is packed with excellent information and illustrations
Letters from the Mary Rose
By David Loades and Charles Knighton
The raising of the Mary Rose has made her one of the most famous ships in history but what was she actually like in her heyday? This book, based around letters from her days of active service, brings her story vividly to life. The letters, most of which have not been published before, give an extended flavour of what it was like to serve on her, or to be involved with her supply and maintenance, between her launch in 1511 and that fateful day in 1545. Most of them were written aboard the ship by the commanding admirals and many details are revealed about her day-to-day operation at sea and the various engagements with which she was involved. Also included are the main contemporary accounts of the sinking, one of which records a conversation with one of the few survivors.This book is published for the 20th anniversary of the raising of this splendid ship, and illustrated with artefacts recovered from the wreck site, which in many cases can be linked to the documents here printed.
Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique
By Mark Drogin
This is a must have book for anyone who wants to try their hand at medieval calligraphy instead of just look at it. Highly recommended
Medieval Combat
By Hans Talhoffer
A literal tranlation of the works of Master Talhoffer, circa 1467, this book provides valuable insight into the nature of germanic combat. My only (even vague) criticism of this book would be that it does not cover the initial positions, guards, and gripping of the sword in any great depth, preferring to move straight to the techniques. Nothing wrong with this, but if you are a beginning fighter, it would be my recommendation to start with something like Medieval Swordsmanship by John Clements, which covers the basics far more efficiently. That said, if you are already capable of the basics, and need a kick start to your training, this book will more than provide it. The illustrations (a good 80% of the book) are sharp and clear, with a good definition of what is going, how it is getting there, and what it will do when it gets there, in my experience, a thing that is missing in altogether too many books these days
Medieval Costume and Fashion
By Herbert Norris
This book is an unabridged reprint of the title published in the 1920s. It is a mine of information, showing not only clothing but footwear, buckles and jewellery from the period including some information about how various styles came about.
Medieval Military Costume
By Gerry Embleton
This text contains photographs of spearmen, archers, crossbowmen, gunners and knights, mainly from the period 1300 to 1500. With detailed recreations of costumes being worn in authentic settings, the book gives a snapshot of what it was like to live, work and fight in the middle ages whether a combatant or a woman camp follower.
Medieval Music
By Richard H. Hoppin
This is the main, sister, volume of the above book. Essential reading for the student of medieval music
Medieval Swordsmanship Illustrated Methods and Techniques
By John Clements
The book covers in detail the history, design, and most importantly the use of the sword and shield and the long sword against a whole host of European weapons including pole arms, axes, spears, flails, swords and shields. Over 300 pages contain more than 200 hundred pages of illustrations including a nice collection of historical drawings. But be warned, there are no blows held back concerning myths, misconceptions, and other negative influences on the reconstruction of historical European swordsmanship today. If you are ready for a challenge to your current ideas and methodology for the study of medieval arms then consider this book as a definite addition to your collection. Its packed with an incredible range of information from historical fighting manuals
Medieval Warfare
By Maurice Keen
This illustrated book explores over 700 years of European warfare, from the time of Charlemagne to the end of the middle ages (c .1500). The period covered has a distinctive character in military history. It was an age when organization for war was integral to social structure, when the secular aristocrat was by necessity also a warrior, and whose culture was profoundly influenced by martial ideas. Twelve scholars, experts in their own fields, have contributed to the book. It is divided into two parts. Part I seeks to explore the experience of war viewed chronologically with separate chapters on, for instance, the Viking age, on the wars and expansion of the 11th and 12th centuries, on the Crusades and on the great Hundred Years War between England and France. The chapters in Part II trace thematically the principal developments in the art of warfare; in fortification and siege craft; in the role of armoured cavalrymen; in the employment of mercenary forces; the advent of gunpowder artillery; and of new skills in navigation and shipbuilding.
Norman Stone Castles (2) Europe 950-1204
By Christopher Gravett

Most castle visitors in the UK tend to forget that it was the Normans who built these dominating structures having been introduced to them well before the invasion of England.

This book discovers the castles in the Norman homeland and covers their design, building and functionality. It traces their spread down through Europe, through Italy and Sicily. It explains the architectural design and features and how these were influenced, not only by the styles and techniques of the new lands, but by the everyday needs of those living within their confines as well as for their defence. The whole is complemented by photographs, illustrations and diagrams on every page.

The role of the castle in war is illustrated by a chapter which draws on historical fact recounted in a lively manner and one which reminds us of the unique ties between England and Normandy. This more than demonstrates how the castle was not, by any means, impregnable and is a good prelude to the final chapter which discusses the fate of the castles.

A book which will be a good addition to the library of any castle enthusiast especially one who is visiting mainland Europe.

To view this book at the publisher's website click here
Contact Osprey Direct, PO Box 140, Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 2FA
UK Telephone +44(0) 1933 443 863 for further details on this and other books in the series.

Pleyn Delit : Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks
By Constance B. Hieatt, Brenda Hosington, Sharon Butler
Adapts over one hundred authentic medieval recipes to the ingredients and equipment of the modern kitchen, providing an abundance of simple and elaborate soups, side and main dishes, stews, and desserts
Renaissance Swordsmanship : The Illustrated Use of Rapiers and Cut-And-Thrust Swords
By John Clements
This is the most thorough work ever about historical swordsmanship. It is both a general reference and an instructional guide for advanced and beginning sword enthusiasts, students of military history and martial artists. Includes rare historical info and 100 original drawings
Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship
By Christian Henry Tobler (Editor), Jorg Bellinghausen
In the late 14th century, Master Johannes Liechtenauer developed a deadly form of martial art that fully integrated sword, spear, dagger and grappling, in and out of armour, on foot and on horseback. Founding a school of swordsmanship that would dominate Germany for centuries, he recorded his teachings into cryptic mnemonic verses and swore his students to secrecy. In the 15th century, Sigmund Ringeck, a master of the "Liechtenauer school", broke the secrecy and explained the verses in detailed instructions. Christian Henry Tobler has rendered this key text into English for the first time, and provides photographic interpretations of each technique of this "secret" martial art.
Techniques of Medieval Armour Reproduction: The 14th Century
By Brian Price
This text offers a complete course in the tools and techniques of the modern armourer’s art. Through more than 1,000 photos and textual instruction, the author presents a working handbook for those wanting to develop or sharpen their skills in the production of 14th century medieval armour.
The Hussite Wars 1419-36
By Stephen Turnball

While the dynastic struggles known as the Wars of the Roses were occupying the British a revolution was flowering in Bohemia. Riding on the back of sermons by Jan Hus, against the unfair wealth of the church and the abuses of the rival popes, and his death by burning at the stake, the so called Hussite Wars were to involve the state, church and mercenaries from many nations.

This book gives a lively account of the war and its antagonists covering the rise of Jan Zizka as head of the largely peasant forces which, under their chalice banner, enjoyed success against the Royal army as well as mercenary forces in the form of "crusades" from across Europe. Men and women fought side by side using the tactics of Zizka including the war wagon which enabled them to create a highly mobile "fort" wherever they wished.

The book concludes with a section on the weapons and tactics with descriptions of the hand weapons developed from agricultural implements, the guns of the day and, of course, the wagenburg. Richly illustrated with diagrams, photographs, contemporary art and, of course, the full colour work of Angus McBride this book introduces us to a little known area of medieval history.

To view this book at the publisher's website click here
Contact Osprey Direct, PO Box 140, Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 2FA
UK Telephone +44(0) 1933 443 863 for further details on this and other books in the series.

The Lancaster and York: the War of the Roses
By Alison Weir
The war between the houses of Lancaster and York for England’s throne saw some of the bloodiest battles on England’s soil. This account of the war focuses on the human side - on the people and personalities involved in the conflict, chiefly King Henry VI and the Duke of York, Richard Plantagenet
The Medieval Soldier
By Gerry Embleton, John Howe
This work features the recreation, in colour photographs, of the appearance of the fighting men of the past, their environment - even their families. The book features material on civilian costume, male and female, and on medieval life in general. The book presents a range of nearly 300 colour photographs of authentically costumed, armoured and equipped live models, posed realistically in outdoor settings and historical interiors in Continental Europe and Britain. The accompanying text details many aspects of 15th-century life and warfare, drawn from primary research sources in several language.
With a Bended Bow
By Erik Roth
Most books on the longbow concentrate upon the battles of Crecy and Agincourt expounding the virtues of the archers in those battles but Erik Roth has, thankfully, avoided dwelling on this overworked aspect of the bow. Erik’s book mentions their use in battle but is more a complete technical treatise on the longbow, shortbow, crossbow and their missiles. The book is neatly split into two sections, the first examining the benefits, using documents and artifacts from the period, of different arrows and the measurements for bow and arrow which marry the two into a perfect weapon for warfare and hunting. It reminds us of the fletchers and bowyers who turned out the hundreds of thousands of their craft products. The wealth of detail demands a concentrated read which rewards the reader with a fuller understanding of the technology and techniques used in the production of the archer’s equipment.The second section covers the users and the uses of the output of the craft guilds. The methods of hunting and the use of the bow and arrows in leisure activities reminds us that this is was not just a weapon of war but an integral part of everyday life Erik Roth’s book contains a wealth of knowledge and analysis to satisfy the serious bowman and is highly recommended. Published by The History Press
A Golden Treasury of Mediaeval Music
By by King of Castille and León Alfonso X(Composer), et al
By by Cantamus
This CD by the highly acclaimed girl’s choir Cantamus has to be heard to be believed. Music lovers have reviewed this CD on Amazon and consistently awarded maximum stars. The standard of singing and the material is so high you won’t be able to stop listening.
English Medieval Christmas Carols
By by New York Pro Musica Antiqua
Mediaeval Carols
By by Various performers
The Rose
By by Mediaeval Baebes
Another great CD from the Baebes, songs in middle English, French, Italian, Spanish and even Russian
By Mediaeval Baebes
This is an excellent album which easily manages to maintain the impressive standards set by 'Salva Nos' and 'Worldes Blysse'. The beautiful 'Quan Vey La Lauzeta' and 'Besse Bunting' stand out initially from amongst the the 18 tracks, but further listenings reveal the sheer quality of the music throughout. There's even a rendition of 'Summerisle' from the film 'The Wicker Man' and you can't get any better than that !
Worldes Blysse
By by Mediaeval Baebes