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The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century (Canto Classics) Paperback – 29 Mar 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107604745
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107604742
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"Canto Classics has recently reprinted Steven Runciman’s The Sicilian Vespers, which expertly guides us through the murky world of 13th century European high politics, its twists and turns, sudden shifts in fortune, alliance, tactics and strategy; and compellingly depicts the brigand-dynasts of the West vying for each other’s thrones and fiefdoms, conspiring, plotting and murdering their way in vain pursuit of power and wealth." -John Akritas, Hellenic Antidote

Book Description

This is also an excellent guide to the historical background to Dante's Divine Comedy, forming almost a Who's Who of the political figures in it and providing insight into their placement in Hell, Paradise or Purgatory.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a mighty educational book that starts in earnest almost a century before the 1282 'Sicilian Vespers' bloody uprising against Charles of Anjou (the rebellion itself is dealt with in just a few pages in fact). It educates the reader about the Hohenstaufen & their arguments with the papacy, about the Angevins, about the interminable quarrels between Ghibellines and Guelfs, and last but not least about the Byzantine angle (Charles' dream was to conquer Constantinople, and it was Byzantine gold that helped to pay for the uprising).

To me, the story was not always easy to follow, but I have to blame my own lack of knowledge of this period. Given the dynastic nature of medieval power politics, you just need some working knowledge of which families were in power where, to make the story easily digestable. This is not made any easier by the aristocratic habit of recycling the same first names again and again. Having said this, as a total rookie in medieval history I learned a lot from this book and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone remotely interested in the period.
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By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 July 2013
Format: Paperback
The 'Sicilian Vespers', the famous uprising in Palermo against the rule of Charles of Anjou, is merely the centrepoint of the work. As the subtitle says, this is far more sweeping in its content, covering Europe in the second half of the thirteenth century and the complexities of European politics of the time. Both well researched and well written, it's of the same high standard as all of Sir Steven Runciman's works, and is quite rightly regarded as a classic of history writing. Anyone with a remote interest in European history should read it.
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Format: Paperback
Wow, what a fabulous book. This is written with such fantastic enthusiasm. The story it tells appears so vividly in my mind - it hasn't left me since I finished reading. I read the entire thing in a very short space of time, too... for me anyway.

I understand that there's a bit of a split concerning Runciman, but just going on this book, I find him most endearing. But I do know of his faults, and indeed the frankly bizarre pro-Sicilian sentiments at the end were a little distracting. But whatever, I can easily look past minor qualms and enjoy the bigger picture - It's very easy going and fluid. I look forward to reading more of his work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful narrative history in the old manner. It explains the failures of the human beings involved as well as maintining a good pace. Almost like a novel except it is based on fact and not conjecture and invented conversations.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8f77c738) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f4ad558) out of 5 stars Wow, an amazing well written cathedra 19 Feb. 2013
By Luis Eugenio Espinosa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was rather skeptical when reading the original publication data (1950s), however as a fan of medieval history, I have found that the book is still enjoyable, a product of a bright academic and, best of all, that recent investigation did not seriously depart from Runciman's assertions.
It is a fantastic opportunity to grasp the intricacies of the cultural life of the Middle Ages: politics, religion, economy, diplomatic alliances, vainglories... all friendly thread into a readable story
Although I find my way out, I missed some tables and a general chronology due to the amount of names and political realities involved in the narrative
highly recommended not only for specialists
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f768e04) out of 5 stars Good history 1 Aug. 2014
By unsworthyeti - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good history
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