on 17 January 2014
You might not think you'd enjoy a detailed study of the mediaeval cult of saints, but, unless you have no sense of humour, you'll enjoy this. It manages erudition without ever losing the (reasonably knowledgeable) general reader. It is comprehensive but never repetitive, and it is fun. Bartlett, like Gibbon, loves the jolly, gossipy bits. There were times when I laughed out loud. Mind you, if you really believe in saints,this might be a bit of a facet.
on 3 September 2014
This is a very comprehensive and scholarly presentation of just about all concievable facets of saints and their cult through the Middle Ages. Taking its origin in the commemoration and cult of the martyrs at their tombs, new persons for veneration were quickly found among holy men and women after persecutions of Christians stopped after 300 AD. Eventually a cult of saints developed and their remains were venerated all through Christendom and the saints became prime actors in everyday life of medieval people. Quickly the cult of such persons also became a tool for power and prestige and thus an important factor in the evolvement of medieval church and society. The book tells this story with many examples and a high degree of detail which is quite entertaining as well as thought-provoking. The book is thoroughly cross-referenced (I have already ordered a couple of follow-ups) and all in all it is an excellent read.