- 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
The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century (Canto Classics) Paperback – 29 Mar 2012
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"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
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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