logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: spanish-history
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-08 02:33
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Modern Library Volume 2 of 3)
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 2 - D.J. Boorstin,Gian Battista Piranesi,Edward Gibbon,John B. Bury

The second volume of Modern Library’s three-volume reprint of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire covers chapters 27 through 48 of the author’s vast magnum opus.  Beginning with the reign of Gratian and ending with the reconquests of Heraclius in 628 A.D., Gibbons relates in detail the political, martial, social, and theological developments that saw the ultimate split of the Roman Empire, the fall of the West, and the continuance of Roman tradition in the East centered in Constantinople before glancing at the lives of the next 60 emperors of Byzantium over the next 600 years.

 

The deterioration of the Rome picks up with the reign of Gratian and his eventual overthrow leading to the unification of the Empire under Theodosius the Great before its finale split with the inheritance of his sons and then their successors over the next 50+ years.  Throughout the era of House of Theodosius, the various barbarian tribes made inroads into the Western Empire which included two sacks of Rome itself by the Visigoths and Vandals, as the long ineffectual reign of Honorius and his successors allowed the Empire to slip out of their fingers.  In the vacuum arose the genesis of future European states such as England, France, and Spain while Italy declined in population and political cohesion as the Pope began to fill not only a religious but political role.

 

The Eastern Emperors in Constantinople, unlike their family and colleagues in the West, were able to keep their domain intact through military force or bribes to turn away.  The bureaucratic framework established by Constantine and reformed by Theodosius was used to keep the Eastern Empire thriving against barbarian incursion and Persian invasions while creating a link to the Roman past even as the eternal city fell from its greatness.  Yet as the Eastern Emperors kept alive the Roman imperial tradition while continually orienting it more towards Greek cultural heritage, the internal conflicts of Christianity became a hindrance to social and imperial stability leading to rebellions of either a local or statewide nature or allowing foreign powers to invade.

 

This middle volume of Gibbon’s monumental work is divided in two, the first focusing on the fall of the Western Empire and the second on how the Eastern Empire survived through various struggles and for a brief time seemed on the verge of reestablishing the whole imperium.  Yet throughout, Gibbon weaves not only the history of Rome but also the events of nomadic peoples as far away at China, the theological controversies within Christianity, and the numerous other treads to create a daunting, yet compete look of how Rome fell but yet continued.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-02-25 05:35
An encyclopedic overview of Spain during the Middle Ages
A History of Medieval Spain - Joseph F. O'Callaghan

This is amazingly encyclopedic account of the history of the Iberian peninsula from Visigothic times to the end of the 15th century. While it may be getting a little dated, it's narrative of the development of the kingdoms, societies and cultures of the region holds together thanks to Joseph O'Callaghan's clarity and his command of the sources. This is a book from which a reader can profit either by reading it cover-to-cover or by dipping into its clearly-delineated chapters, each of which can stand alone as a mini-essay on their topic. If you're looking for a book on Spain during the Middle Ages, this is definitely an excellent place to start.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-04-03 12:59
Blood of Spain: An Oral History of the Spanish Civil War
Blood of Spain: An Oral History of the Spanish Civil War - Ronald Fraser This has to be one of the key books for anyone studying the Spanish Civil War. Fraser concentrates on how the war affected ordinary people. In terms of background research, outside of Spain itself, he is perhaps the leading authority. He writes well, too.
Like Reblog Comment
review 2012-10-13 00:00
The Story of the Moors in Spain
The Story of the Moors in Spain - Stanley Lane-Poole

The Islamic Moors are the focus, but through the lens of the Black Legend

 

Though originally written and published over 125 years ago, The Story of the Moors in Spain by Stanley Lane-Poole is an quick, easy, and informative read. Although the book is not up to the scholarship standards of today, Lane-Poole uses the sources at his disposal along folklore, traditional Spanish ballads, and romantic history written by Washington Irving to produce a most engaging book. Lane-Poole always denoted in the text when he was going on either the folklore, ballads, or romantic history insertions for the reader as a way to bring history alive and when they were contrary to actual history he made note of it.

 

One of the biggest negatives of the book that one notices is that Lane-Poole engages in perpetuating the Black Legend that has tainted the perception of the Spanish since it's creation. At the beginning and ending of the text, Lane-Poole laments that the Spaniards decided to reject the civilization of the Islamic Moors for the backwardness of the Catholic (note I said Catholic not Christian) "crusaders" then points out certain incidents that prove his point. To be fair to Lane-Poole, one can not use today's standards to judge him and when a Christian showed "civilized" behavior and a Moor "uncivilized" he did point it out. However, there was always the perception that these incidents were few and far between.

 

Even with this negative to the text, The Story of the Moors in Spain is an excellent way to begin learning about the Islamic period on the Iberian peninsula. However this book should not be your last on the subject.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2012-08-19 00:00
The making of Medieval Spain (History of European civilization library)
The making of Medieval Spain (History of European civilization library) - Gabriel Jackson

A General History of Medieval Spain with Cultural Developments

 

The Making of Medieval Spain is part of a larger series on European History of short, yet informational volumes written in the early 1970s. Even though the historiography is dated and the volume is less than 200 pages in length, Gabriel Jackson did an excellent job of giving the reader a clear view of the complex political and religious history of as well as giving an good insight of the cultural developments occurring in art and literature.

 

While I would have preferred a more detailed political and diplomatic history, but the insight into the cultural developments occurring during the period Jackson wrote about and tied to more recent artist and literary styles was appreciated. Also at many places in the text, Jackson identified the beginnings of practices the Spanish would use in their American colonies. And in the last pages of the book looked at the elements in Spain at the end of the 15th-century that would be used by other, mostly Protestant, nations to create the Black Legend that has persisted in viewing of Spain and Spanish-influenced cultures and nations ever since.

 

Due to length and have to be general in everything, I can only give this book 3 stars. However it is a nice introduction to medieval Spain to be sure.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?