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Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

de Terry Jones

Outros autores: Alan Ereira

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
6081228,779 (3.83)25
"Was medieval England full of knights on horseback rescuing fainting damsels in distress? Were the Middle Ages mired in superstition and ignorance? Why does nobody ever mention King Louis the First and Last? And, of couse, those key questions- which monks were forbidden the delights of donning underpants... and did outlaws never wear trousers? Terry Jones and Alan Ereira are your guides to this most misrepresented and misunderstood period, and they point you to things that will surprise and provoke. Did you know, for example, that medieval people didn't think the world was flat? That was a total fabrication by an American journalist in the 19th century. Did you know that they didn't burn witches in the Middle Ages? That was a refinement of the so-called Renaissance. In fact, medieval kings weren't necessarily merciless tyrants and peasants entertained at home using French pottery and fine wine. Terry Jones' MEDIEVAL LIVES reveals Medieval Britain as you have never seen it before - a vibrant society teeming with individuality, intrigue and innovation."… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Även om det var fråga om en produktion för BBC så står det vid läsningen fast att teve-historia är som all annan populärhistoria, fast mer så: bland stundom tämligen radikala om än väl belagda försök till omtolkning finns gamla, sedan länge avfärdade myter återberättade, en tendens att förlita sig på anekdotisk eller väldigt lokal bevisföring och ibland en tämligen ohämmad partiskhet.

Bokens syfte är i huvudsak att visa att mycket av den populära bilden av medeltiden är lika falsk som den populära bilden av snart sagt alla tidsepoker: stolta riddare, väna damer i nöd, välvilliga (eller illsluga) kungar, förtryckta bönder – som bäst kanske dessa klichéer var passade efter ett fåtal, eller under en viss tid, men flera är rena påhitt (de lismande, penningsugna prelaterna avfärdas dock inte, snarast stärks bilden).

Att synen på vad som egentligen menades med ridderliga dygder varierade beroende på vem man frågade, att bönder kunde vara nog så välnärda, att vissa kungars eftermäle blivit oförtjänt när segrarna skrev historien, att medeltidens kvinnor var mer än stackars våp – sådant kan nog många historiker skriva under på. Färre – i alla fall sådan som skriver på andra språk än engelska – skulle kanske hålla med om den bild av engelsk exceptionalism som utmålas, eller att klosterordnarna väsentligen var källan till allt det som framstår som dåligt i den medeltida kyrkan (i synnerhet med protestantiska ögon sett).

Men det är många myter som försöks stickas hål på. Viktigast och mest lyckat är nog attacken på »medeltiden« som en homogen period, där de viktigaste skillnaderna mellan 1100 och 1500 var vad kungen hette – medeltiden var lika lite en stagnant del av historien som någon annan epok. ( )
  andejons | Mar 12, 2021 |
Terry Jones of Monty Python fame is also a medieval scholar and this book is a companion to his BBC documentary history. Each chapter focuses on a different type of person in medieval times from peasant to damsel to outlaw to king. Jones' challenges popular misconceptions of medieval history and turns them on their head with evidence of the period being one of great change with innovation and more opportunity for the lower sorts than typically imagined. It's a well-written guide to the medieval past with doses of humor and lots of historical evidence.

Favorite Passages:
Perhaps the most surprising example of that distinctiveness is that in England, uniquely in Europe, bold robber outlaws were necessary for the effective functioning of the kingdom.



England now had an extraordinary and unique legal structure, entirely invented by an ingenious and desperate monarchy. Its most remarkable feature was the amount of power, however messily administered, it placed in the hands of the local community. English law was quite unlike that on the Continent. There, law was run from above and was based on Church law (canon law) and Roman law. In England, it was totally dependent on a popular understanding of law, and the job of the courts was to enforce ‘common law’. The juries who laid accusations and tried cases were made up of people who supposedly knew what had happened. This meant they consisted very largely of people who were legally in various degrees of servitude. This would have a very striking effect on the development of the law. It meant that the ordinary Englishman, even though he was a villein or even a serf, was familiar with the law and the courts, not as a victim but as a participant in the legal process.



These were not maps. Mappa simply means ‘cloth’ and a mappa mundi is not a ‘map of the world’ but a ‘cloth of the world’. The fact that we have derived our word ‘map’ from these cloths is not the fault of the people of the Middle Ages. If there’s any blame to be apportioned it’s our fault for forgetting where the word comes from. And a cloth of the world had an entirely different purpose from an atlas (a seventeenth-century idea). A mappa mundi is a depiction of the world as a place of experiences, of human history, of notions and knowledge. It’s more like an encyclopaedia. It’s certainly not – and was never intended to be – a chart to be followed by travellers.



In the United States medical treatment is the third highest cause of death (iatrogenic death) after cancer and heart disease. So, despite our undoubted progress in understanding the chemistry and biological structure of the body, and great advances in the techniques of medical intervention, we are not exceeding the achievements of medieval doctors as much as we might expect. In their terms we are doing worse, because the objective of their care was not necessarily to save the body (which would, of course, be wonderful) but to help save the soul by allowing patients to know the hour of their death, and prepare for it. This was itself a genuine medical skill and, again, one that depended on seeing the patient as a human being.



The fact is, there is little reference to genuinely helpless high-born maidens in medieval literature. Perhaps this is not too surprising as the stories were often commissioned by noblewomen, to be read to their friends and family. We do not have enormous knowledge of their lives, but there is enough to show that the lady’s bedchamber was, in many cases, more like a salon, elegantly decorated, where she amused herself entertaining her women friends (generally her retainers, ‘damsels’ married to men of status in her husband’s service) and male visitors, and where they would ‘drink wine, play chess and listen to the harp’.*2 They would also read and be read to – silent reading was regarded as highly suspect, a sign of being antisocial or melancholy, suitable only for scholars. ( )
1 vote Othemts | May 2, 2020 |
Ok, this book was lots of fun. I enjoyed how the author weaved in the little bits and pieces of quirky history with the overall medieval story, as it could have gotten boring otherwise. He definitely has a way with telling a tale. I also loved how the book was split into different people of the time period (kings, monks, knights, etc). This made separating the facts much easier. ( )
  BookishHooker | Dec 16, 2019 |
I focused on the medieval period when I was getting my Master's degree, reading many of the primary sources (Domesday Book, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, etc.), but none of it gave me the high-level view of what the period was like - I was smothered in particularity. Terry Jones' book, however, provides that general view that I was missing. It does cover some details, often of a humorous incident, but it really concentrates on exposing the underlying economic, political and religious motives and events behind the myths of chivalry and knights and daring-do, all while providing a good look at what the lives of the common man and woman were like. Highly recommended. ( )
  TempleCat | Sep 25, 2015 |
Too much anecdata, too much opinion presented as fact, without backup, and too many weak jokes shoehorned in. Meh. ( )
  sloopjonb | Apr 23, 2015 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Terry Jonesautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Ereira, Alanautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado

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"Was medieval England full of knights on horseback rescuing fainting damsels in distress? Were the Middle Ages mired in superstition and ignorance? Why does nobody ever mention King Louis the First and Last? And, of couse, those key questions- which monks were forbidden the delights of donning underpants... and did outlaws never wear trousers? Terry Jones and Alan Ereira are your guides to this most misrepresented and misunderstood period, and they point you to things that will surprise and provoke. Did you know, for example, that medieval people didn't think the world was flat? That was a total fabrication by an American journalist in the 19th century. Did you know that they didn't burn witches in the Middle Ages? That was a refinement of the so-called Renaissance. In fact, medieval kings weren't necessarily merciless tyrants and peasants entertained at home using French pottery and fine wine. Terry Jones' MEDIEVAL LIVES reveals Medieval Britain as you have never seen it before - a vibrant society teeming with individuality, intrigue and innovation."

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