Sunday, March 28, 2010
I have spent a lot of my spare time reading about Medieval history lately. It's always amusing to see how every generation imposes their own values on history (rendering the entire art of history crap). Joseph R. Strayer's Western Europe in the Middle Ages: A Short History (Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc.: New York, 1955) and Thomas Cahill's Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science and Art From the Cults of Catholic Europe (Random House: New York, 2006) both recount the twelfth century love triangle between French King Louis VII (Louis the Younger), Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, and English King Henry II. Strayer's narrative had Eleanor being dumped by Louis and getting revenge by marrying Henry. Cahill's narrative had Eleanor manipulating the Catholic anti-consanguinity rules to her advantage, getting the marriage annulled, and marrying Henry, whom she supposedly truly loved.