A masterful narrative of the Middle Ages, when religion became a weapon for kings all over the world.
From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T’ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled.
In her first volume, Susan Wise Bauer wrote of the rise of kingship based on might. But in the years between the fourth and the twelfth centuries, rulers had to find new justification for their power, and they turned to divine truth or grace to justify political and military action. Right thus replaces might as the engine of empire.
Not just Christianity and Islam but the religions of the Persians and the Germans, and even Buddhism, are pressed into the service of the state. This phenomenon–stretching from the Americas all the way to Japan–changes religion, but it also changes the state.
The second in a multi-volume series covering the history of the world from ancient through modern times.
“Bauer (The History of the Ancient World) continues her witty and well-written examination of world history with a volume that is rich in detail and intriguing in anecdotal information.” — Publishers Weekly
“Bauer parlays her capacious knowledge of history into the exciting and terrifying subject it can be.” — Booklist
“A quietly audacious tour de force.” — Book of the Month Club