The Year of Magna Carta

Book - 2005
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From bestselling author Danny Danziger and medieval expert John Gillingham comes a vivid look at the signing of the Magna Carta and how this event illuminates one of the most compelling and romantic periods in history.

Surveying a broad landscape through a narrow lens, 1215 sweeps readers back eight centuries in an absorbing portrait of life during a time of global upheaval, the ripples of which can still be felt today. At the center of this fascinating period is the document that has become the root of modern freedom: the Magna Carta. It was a time of political revolution and domestic change that saw the Crusades, Richard the Lionheart, King John, and--in legend--Robin Hood all make their marks on history.

The events leading up to King John's setting his seal to the famous document at Runnymede in June 1215 form this rich and riveting narrative that vividly describes everyday life from castle to countryside, from school to church, and from hunting in the forest to trial by ordeal. For instance, women wore no underwear (though men did), the average temperatures were actually higher than they are now, and the austere kitchen at Westminster Abbey allowed each monk two pounds of meat and a gallon of ale per day. Broad in scope and rich in detail, 1215 ingeniously illuminates what may have been the most important year of our history.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2005, c2003
Edition: 1st Touchstone ed
ISBN: 9780743257787
Characteristics: xxi, 312 p. : ill., map ; 19 cm
Additional Contributors: Gillingham, John 1940-


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Dec 16, 2015

Very interesting, but not very exciting. Trying to tell you what it was like in the world of 1215.

May 08, 2010

A very entertaining piece of popular history, which explores the manners and customs of the 13th century around the time the famous Magna Carta was written.

Each chapter begins with a quotation from the Magna Carta, with the writing that follows explaining its context; for example the chapter on labouring in the countryside is headed by the Magna Carta's admonishment that a lord shall "keep his land stocked with ploughs and wainage such as the agricultural season demands."

A very enjoyable book, packed with fascinating insights into life in the middle ages.


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