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Montfort: The Founder of Parliament The Early Years 1229 to 1243 by Katherine Ash

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Ken
Compulsive Reader
Location: Truro, Cornwall, UK

Postby Ken » Sun July 18th, 2010, 1:59 pm

"EC2" wrote: Of course he was acting within the parameters of society at the time with his attitudes, but even within that society, some were more extreme than others, and his were at the extreme end. There were degrees of tolerance too.


I think that is very much the point EC. Jews in Europe throughout the middle ages, were isolated by the Christians and exposed to their fanatical hatred as the 'murderers of Christ!' The Crusaders in Germany in 1096, for example, were said to have massacred thousands of Jews in preparation/practice for massacring the Moors when they arrived in the Holy Land!

I do not want to be an apologist for Simon de Montfort, but he was hardly alone in his treatment of the Jews in England. He certainly expelled them from his town of Leicester in 1231 (not aware if this was accompanied by any killings), but it was Edward 1 who expelled them all from England in 1290, long after Simon's death (they were only formally accepted back in England in 1655, some 350 years later!).

I can understand your friend, as a Jew, despising Simon, but that would probably hold true for his opinion of any number of English historical figures. Let's see what this author's take on the subject will be!

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EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
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Postby EC2 » Sun July 18th, 2010, 2:24 pm

"Ken" wrote:
I can understand your friend, as a Jew, despising Simon, but that would probably hold true for his opinion of any number of English historical figures. Let's see what this author's take on the subject will be!


My friend's a she :) She has 2 degrees in the medieval field dealing with the 12th and 13th centuries and reads manuscripts in Old French for fun. I think it was more than just the Jew thing with S de M, although that was a large part of it. She particularly felt that he'd been given a soft ride by novelists. But as I say, I'm only looking at what I've been told from both sides. I'm inclined to give her the belief vote because she's a personal friend and academic, but I am open minded I hope, and I am interested to absorb other views. I will certainly look forward to your review of the above book as you've delved into the details yourself and speak from a good working knowledge :)
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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boswellbaxter
Bibliomaniac
Location: North Carolina
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Postby boswellbaxter » Sun July 18th, 2010, 2:43 pm

Maddicott (p. 268 of my edition) notes that Simon de Montfort and his men were heavily involved in the massacre and plunder of the Jews in London in 1264 and that Simon made one of the men involved, John fitz John, hand over a share of the plunder to Simon. It's certainly not an episode that does him any credit in our eyes, but I think it has to be seen as part of the virulent anti-Semitism of the day. (One of the few people who showed any decency toward the Jews during the London massacre was Hugh le Despenser the justiciar (d. 1265), who gave the survivors shelter in the Tower, though this was likely more to restore order than out of compassion for their plight.)

Edward I's recent biographer Marc Morris writes that "the expulsion of the Jews was the most popular act Edward ever committed." Later, he states, "in his anti-Semitism, Edward was altogether conventional. A bigoted man, he lived in a bigoted age, and was king of a bigoted people." I think that statement has to be borne in mind as well when Monfort's conduct is considered.
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Sun July 18th, 2010, 3:38 pm

True, but I agree with EC's friend - this is the first I've heard about it, and I've read several novels with him involved (esp Sharon's Welsh trilogies). Might be very interesting to see if other authors start including any of that.

Im kind of surprised that I am asking this question (coz I really should know), but have there been many HF books that focus on the anti semitism of the time? I know there are some where it is part of the picture, but books that show where it all came from. People of the Book comes closest to what I am thinking of, and Noah Gordon's The Physician certainly touches on it. But it was such a huge part of society, from the royalty on down, I'd imagine there out there that includes the likes of Montfort and others in their role.

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boswellbaxter
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Location: North Carolina
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Postby boswellbaxter » Sun July 18th, 2010, 3:57 pm

"Ash" wrote:True, but I agree with EC's friend - this is the first I've heard about it, and I've read several novels with him involved (esp Sharon's Welsh trilogies). Might be very interesting to see if other authors start including any of that.

Im kind of surprised that I am asking this question (coz I really should know), but have there been many HF books that focus on the anti semitism of the time? I know there are some where it is part of the picture, but books that show where it all came from. People of the Book comes closest to what I am thinking of, and Noah Gordon's The Physician certainly touches on it. But it was such a huge part of society, from the royalty on down, I'd imagine there out there that includes the likes of Montfort and others in their role.


I do remember the London massacre being described in Penman's novel, but with Montfort's followers rather than Montfort himself taking the blame from the author as I recall.

I believe Michelle Cameron's The Fruit of Her Hands deals with 13th-century anti-Semitism, though mainly on the Continent.

There is a novel, Belaset's Daughter by Feona Hamilton, that deals specifically with the anti-Semitic actions of Montfort. It's rather short, and appears to have been written with a sequel in mind, but I don't think one was ever produced.

http://www.amazon.com/Belaset%60s-Daughter-Feona-Hamilton/dp/0917990439/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279468358&sr=1-2
Susan Higginbotham

Coming in October: The Woodvilles





http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/

http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sun July 18th, 2010, 4:03 pm

I believe Michelle Cameron's The Fruit of Her Hands does, though mainly on the Continent.


Yes, and there is also an episode in England IIRC. A good book, but it didn't rock my world either.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Brenna
Bibliophile
Location: Delaware

Postby Brenna » Sun July 18th, 2010, 11:05 pm

NPR had an interview about Katherine Ashe regarding her 1st of 4 books regarding Simon de Montfort. Ms. Ashe claims that there were eye witnesses that rumored that Simon was Edward I's father, not Henry III. I guess it would be an interesting read, but I would have a hard time wrapping my mind around a different Simon de Montfort than what SKP portrayed in her Welsh series.
Brenna

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon July 19th, 2010, 12:24 am

I am trying to read Noah Gordon's the Last Jew, but I caught him in so many errors and overstatements, that I have yet to get through it.

From a 21st century viewpoint, treatment of the Jews in Medieval Europe was indefensible. But it does help if one understands what the people generally believed about the Jews, reinforced at every turn.
1. That they regularly killed and ate children.
2. That they walked around with continuous evil intent, ready to cast curses that would kill your children and sicken your livestock.
3. Many other evil things, whatever the local clergy wanted to preach to wake up the congregation.

From our viewpoint, these charges seem ridiculous, and so we assume that reasoning people of that age would have been able to arrive at the same conclusion. In actuality, almost all circumstantial evidence would have been viewed as 'proof' of the accusations. So eradicating the Jews, who were seen as demonic and less than human, was seen as a public service.

Horrible, yes, but not without parallels in our own day. Watch Hotel Rwanda. And unfortunately in human nature, there is a very real threat between opposing people groups where 'you get them before they get you.'

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Mon July 19th, 2010, 3:41 am

Thats the only book of his I haven't been able to read for some reason. Perhaps its just as well.

Thanks for the recommendations. MLE, I agree. As for being human, all you have to do is listen to some of the things people believe today about others and you realize that we haven't come all that far in some ways.

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EC2
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Location: Nottingham UK
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Postby EC2 » Mon July 19th, 2010, 12:07 pm

Not about this book, but allied to the Simon de Montfort subject, I have been browsing a book titled The Death of Kings by Michael Evans. I've posted about it on another thread where he states that Jane Seymour had a C section. Anyway, he discusses the cult of Simon de Montfort and makes a very odd WTF statement. He's talking about cults that arose around places where bits of the dismembered de Montfort were taken after the Battle of Evesham, and goes on to say 'There is sadly no evidence of a cult based on his genitals.'
"sadly'??? Shakes head. :confused: :eek:
Les proz e les vassals

Souvent entre piez de chevals

Kar ja li coard n’I chasront



'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'


Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal



www.elizabethchadwick.com


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