Friday, March 28, 2014

A Journey Through Wales Revisited

The record of a fellow touring through Wales during the year 1188 AD has a number of things to offer to the genealogist.  Understanding what this world was like during the Crusade period [3rd Crusade] is why this book is revisited here.

Born around 1145 AD, Gerald of Wales became part of the religious establishment of the day.  From his Benedictine Abbey background, he became a avid writer publishing some 17 books.  His Pembrokeshire birth and upbringing gave him a particular interest in his maternal Welsh heritage. [His father's side was Norman.]  He recorded his journey through Wales with Archbishop Baldwin during the year 1188 AD.  They were trying to drum up business for this 3rd crusade, and preached at the major Cathedrals. [Llandaff, St. David's, Bangor, and St. Asaph] which resulted in some 3,000 men of military age coming out of these hills. 

Gerald of Wales considered himself a historian, and tried to present the Welsh culture as he saw both the good and the bad.  For my own JONES surname tree climbing, it presented the local environment around St. Asaph where my own family was deeply involved.  

Those of Welsh descent will appreciate this cultural travel guide.  I have presented this reference in a previous post of  February 15, 2013, but feel it fits better into this chronology of the Crusade years.  The copy shown is published by Penguin Books, 1978 and reissued in 2004.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Crusades

Urban II (Pope 1088 - 1099) is given the credit for getting the events started which were to change the Middle Ages.  Earliest writers seemed to call it a pilgrimage, but it was the special privilege to carry weapons that change this into what has become called "The Crusades". [ ca. 1095 - ca. 1291]  The following are readings that give several views into this period of our history.  I call them, a picture book, a story book, and a study book.

A picture book:

     For those who like lots of pictures (like me) this book is for you.

Written by Martin Erbstorsser, and published by Leipzig, 1979, it contains pictures.  The three civilizations involved ; 1) The Arabian Caliphate, 2) The Byzantine Empire, and 3) Western Europe and presented.  The book was translated from German by C.S.V. Salt.

A story book:

A book by Alfred Duggan, it was first published by Pantheon Books, 1963.  It tells this story in an easy manner, covering this topic.  A number of drawings and maps are included.

A study book:

For those who like to dig a little deeper, the book above is recommended.  This is the cover to second edition published by Oxford University Press, 1990.  It was first published in German 1965, by Hans Eberhard Mayer, and translated by John Gillingham in 1972.  It has been reprinted five times.  A good book to study on those long winter nights.