The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones

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9780062262066: The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones

A thrillingly intimate portrait of one of history's most illustrious knights - William Marshal - that vividly evokes the grandeur and barbarity of the Middle Ages

William Marshal was the true Lancelot of his era - a peerless warrior and paragon of chivalry -yet over the centuries, the spectacular story of his achievements passed from memory. Then, in 1861, a young French scholar stumbled upon the sole surviving copy of an unknown text, later dubbed the History of William Marshal. This richly detailed work helped to resurrect Marshal's reputation, putting flesh onto the bones of this otherwise obscure figure, but even today he remains largely forgotten.
As a five-year-old boy, William was sentenced to execution and led to the gallows, yet this landless younger son survived his brush with death, and went on to train as a medieval knight. Rising through the ranks to serve at the right hand of five English monarchs, he became a celebrated tournament champion, baron, politician and, ultimately, regent of the realm. He befriended the great figures of his day, from Richard the Lionheart to the infamous King John, and helped to negotiate the terms of Magna Carta - the first 'bill of rights'. Yet at the age of seventy he was forced to fight in the frontline of one final battle, striving to save the kingdom from French invasion in 1217.
In The Greatest Knight, renowned historian Thomas Asbridge draws upon an array of contemporary evidence, including the thirteenth-century biography, to present a compelling account of William Marshal's life and times, from rural England to the battlefields of France, the desert castles of the Holy Land and the verdant shores of Ireland. Charting the unparalleled rise to prominence of a man bound to a code of honour, yet driven by unquenchable ambition, this knight's tale lays bare the brutish realities of medieval warfare and the machinations of royal court, and draws us into the heart of a formative period of our history, when the West emerged from the Dark Ages and stood on the brink of modernity. It is the story of one remarkable man, the birth of the knightly class to which he belonged, and the forging of the English nation.

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William Marshal was the true Lancelot of his era - a peerless warrior and paragon of chivalry -yet over the centuries, the spectacular story of his achievements passed from memory. Then, in 1861, a young French scholar stumbled upon the sole surviving copy of an unknown text, later dubbed the History of William Marshal. This richly detailed work helped to resurrect Marshal's reputation, putting flesh onto the bones of this otherwise obscure figure, but even today he remains largely forgotten. As a five-year-old boy, William was sentenced to execution and led to the gallows, yet this landless younger son survived his brush with death, and went on to train as a medieval knight. Rising through the ranks to serve at the right hand of five English monarchs, he became a celebrated tournament champion, baron, politician and, ultimately, regent of the realm. He befriended the great figures of his day, from Richard the Lionheart to the infamous King John, and helped to negotiate the terms of Magna Carta - the first 'bill of rights'. Yet at the age of seventy he was forced to fight in the frontline of one final battle, striving to save the kingdom from French invasion in 1217. In The Greatest Knight, renowned historian Thomas Asbridge draws upon an array of contemporary evidence, including the thirteenth-century biography, to present a compelling account of William Marshal's life and times, from rural England to the battlefields of France, the desert castles of the Holy Land and the verdant shores of Ireland. Charting the unparalleled rise to prominence of a man bound to a code of honour, yet driven by unquenchable ambition, this knight's tale lays bare the brutish realities of medieval warfare and the machinations of royal court, and draws us into the heart of a formative period of our history, when the West emerged from the Dark Ages and stood on the brink of modernity. It is the story of one remarkable man, the birth of the knightly class to which he belonged, and the forging of the English nation.

Product Description:

A renowned scholar brings to life medieval England s most celebrated knight, William Marshal providing an unprecedented and intimate view of this age and the legendary warrior class that shaped it.

Caught on the wrong side of an English civil war and condemned by his father to the gallows at age five, William Marshal defied all odds to become one of England s most celebrated knights. Thomas Asbridge s rousing narrative chronicles William s rise, using his life as a prism to view the origins, experiences, and influence of the knight in British history.

In William s day, the brutish realities of war and politics collided with romanticized myths about an Arthurian golden age, giving rise to a new chivalric ideal. Asbridge details the training rituals, weaponry, and battle tactics of knighthood, and explores the codes of chivalry and courtliness that shaped their daily lives. These skills were essential to survive one of the most turbulent periods in English history an era of striking transformation, as the West emerged from the Dark Ages.

A leading retainer of five English kings, Marshal served the great figures of this age, from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Richard the Lionheart and his infamous brother John, and was involved in some of the most critical phases of medieval history, from the Magna Carta to the survival of the Angevin/Plantagenet dynasty. Asbridge introduces this storied knight to modern readers and places him firmly in the context of the majesty, passion, and bloody intrigue of the Middle Ages.

The Greatest Knight features 16 pages of black-and-white and color illustrations.

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Book Description Ecco Press, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A renowned scholar brings to life medieval England s most celebrated knight, William Marshal--providing an unprecedented and intimate view of this age and the legendary warrior class that shaped it. Caught on the wrong side of an English civil war and condemned by his father to the gallows at age five, William Marshal defied all odds to become one of England s most celebrated knights. Thomas Asbridge s rousing narrative chronicles William s rise, using his life as a prism to view the origins, experiences, and influence of the knight in British history. In William s day, the brutish realities of war and politics collided with romanticized myths about an Arthurian golden age, giving rise to a new chivalric ideal. Asbridge details the training rituals, weaponry, and battle tactics of knighthood, and explores the codes of chivalry and courtliness that shaped their daily lives. These skills were essential to survive one of the most turbulent periods in English history--an era of striking transformation, as the West emerged from the Dark Ages. A leading retainer of five English kings, Marshal served the great figures of this age, from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Richard the Lionheart and his infamous brother John, and was involved in some of the most critical phases of medieval history, from the Magna Carta to the survival of the Angevin/Plantagenet dynasty. Asbridge introduces this storied knight to modern readers and places him firmly in the context of the majesty, passion, and bloody intrigue of the Middle Ages. The Greatest Knight features 16 pages of black-and-white and color illustrations. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780062262066

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Book Description Ecco Press, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A renowned scholar brings to life medieval England s most celebrated knight, William Marshal--providing an unprecedented and intimate view of this age and the legendary warrior class that shaped it. Caught on the wrong side of an English civil war and condemned by his father to the gallows at age five, William Marshal defied all odds to become one of England s most celebrated knights. Thomas Asbridge s rousing narrative chronicles William s rise, using his life as a prism to view the origins, experiences, and influence of the knight in British history. In William s day, the brutish realities of war and politics collided with romanticized myths about an Arthurian golden age, giving rise to a new chivalric ideal. Asbridge details the training rituals, weaponry, and battle tactics of knighthood, and explores the codes of chivalry and courtliness that shaped their daily lives. These skills were essential to survive one of the most turbulent periods in English history--an era of striking transformation, as the West emerged from the Dark Ages. A leading retainer of five English kings, Marshal served the great figures of this age, from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Richard the Lionheart and his infamous brother John, and was involved in some of the most critical phases of medieval history, from the Magna Carta to the survival of the Angevin/Plantagenet dynasty. Asbridge introduces this storied knight to modern readers and places him firmly in the context of the majesty, passion, and bloody intrigue of the Middle Ages. The Greatest Knight features 16 pages of black-and-white and color illustrations. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780062262066

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