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In the early 14th century, a new weapon entered the arsenals of European armies. This first generation of black powder weapons put fear into the heart of the enemy and in 1453 Ottoman cannon succeeded in pummelling the once-impregnable walls of Constantinople. But cannons, which are both slow and cumbersome, were difficult to use and often proved inaccurate. The first handgonnes were the answer. Easily dismissed by later historians as nothing more than crude tubes that shot wildly inaccurate lead balls, more recent research has revealed the true accuracy of the medieval handgonne together with its penetrative power. This volume, complete with detailed illustrations and colour photographs of reconstructed handgonnes, reveals the true history of what could easily have been the most revolutionary weapon in history.This book will be a must for medieval enthusiasts and re-enactors.
Reading the Middle Ages is well-known for providing thematic and geographical diversity, clear and informative introductions, and close integration with A Short History of the Middle Ages.
Ghost Galleon tells the story of archaeologists’ twenty-year search on a desolate beach in Baja California for the enigmatic remains of a Spanish galleon that disappeared without a trace more than four centuries ago. Carrying a cargo of Asian riches to the New World, Manila galleons forged the final link in the unification of the world through commerce by their annual voyages across the Pacific Ocean. Here, author Edward Von der Porten relates how a chance viewing of Chinese porcelain sherds in a museum catalog led him, his wife Saryl, and a team of researchers to the beachcombers who discovered the sherds. To Von der Porten, these sherds represented the possibility of something much more significant: one of the earliest known Manila galleon shipwrecks on the West Coast. In collaboration with the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH), Von der Porten and his colleagues undertook the first of many archaeological expeditions to investigate the site in 1999. Over twenty years, a team of American and Mexican archaeologists recovered thousands of artifacts and concluded that they had located the remains of the cargo from a Spanish galleon—most likely the San Juanillo of 1578. This copiously illustrated, highly accessible work offers an inside view of how archaeologists carefully assemble the evidence that allows scientific reconstruction of past events. Despite the grudging resistance of time, Von der Porten and his colleagues have resurrected the tale of the ill-fated San Juanillo to enrich our understanding and appreciation of the past.
The author of the acclaimed medieval mystery A Burnable Book once again brings fourteenth-century London alive in all its color and detail in this riveting thriller featuring medieval poet and fixer John Gower—a twisty tale rife with intrigue, danger mystery, and murder. Though he is one of England’s most acclaimed intellectuals, John Gower is no stranger to London’s wretched slums and dark corners, and he knows how to trade on the secrets of the kingdom’s most powerful men. When the bodies of sixteen unknown men are found in a privy, the Sheriff of London seeks Gower’s help. The men’s wounds—ragged holes created by an unknown object—are unlike anything the sheriff’s men have ever seen. Tossed into the sewer, the bodies were meant to be found. Gower believes the men may have been used in an experiment—a test for a fearsome new war weapon his informants call the “handgonne,” claiming it will be the “future of death” if its design can be perfected. Propelled by questions of his own, Gower turns to courtier and civil servant Geoffrey Chaucer, who is working on some poems about pilgrims that Gower finds rather vulgar. Chaucer thinks he just may know who commissioned this new weapon, an extremely valuable piece of information that some will pay a high price for—and others will kill to conceal. . .
"John Norris looks at all aspects of the medieval siege and draws examples from all over the medieval world"--Publisher's description.
The third edition of Reading the Middle Ages retains the strengths of previous editions and adds significant new materials, especially on the Byzantine and Islamic worlds and the Mediterranean region. This volume spans the period c.900 to c.1500.

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