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The Briennes
The Rise and Fall of a Champenois Dynasty in the Age of the Crusades, c. 950–1356


  • Author: Guy Perry, Middlebury College, Vermont and Keble College, Oxford
  • Date Published: August 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107196902

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About the Authors
  • The Briennes were a highly important aristocratic family who hailed from the Champagne region of north-eastern France, but whose reach and impact extended across Europe and into the Crusader States in the Middle East. It is a highly dramatic and wide-ranging story of medieval mobility, not only up and down the social ladder, but in geographical terms as well. Although the Briennes were one of the great dynasties of the central Middle Ages, this book represents the first comprehensive history of the family. Taking the form of parallel biographies and arranged broadly chronologically, it explores not only their rise, glory and fall, but also how they helped to shape the very nature of the emerging European state system. This book will appeal to students and scholars of medieval France, the Mediterranean world, the Crusades and the central Middle Ages.

    • Presents the first comprehensive history of the Brienne family
    • Offers a fascinating case study of the 'international aristocracy' in the age of the Crusades
    • Touches on many different people and places in medieval society, from Scotland and Andalucía to Byzantium and the Holy Land
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this accessible, concise yet wide-ranging and detailed survey of the many branches of the French comital house of Brienne, Guy Perry breathes new life into dynastic history.' Christopher Tyerman, University of Oxford

    'What we have here is family history with a difference - a history of startling diversity that is managed with great skill.' Peter Edbury, Cardiff University

    ' … a fascinating study of an aristocratic family's evolution over four centuries ... Engagingly written, with well-chosen anecdotes and shrewd observations, The Briennes will be required reading for anyone interested in how ambitious aristocrats manoeuvred … through the fraught political environments of their times.' Theodore Evergates, author of The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100–1300

    'A lucid and insightful analysis of one of the most dynamic clans of the medieval age … an authoritative marker in our understanding of dynastic power politics in Latin Christendom.' Jonathan Phillips, Royal Holloway, University of London

    'This volume is a detailed survey of the history of a successful French aristocratic family in the time of the Crusades. … Perry situates the Briennes and their skillful use of diplomacy, marriage, money, and war within the rise of medieval society's move toward international expansion between 950 and 1350. The rise of national monarchies in the late medieval period, in particular the Hundred Years' War, significantly weakened the family's position and virtually ended its existence. This complete study of the rise, glory, and fall of the many branches of the Briennes stands as the definitive study of the family for the foreseeable future. The maps and detailed genealogies enhance the book's scholarly apparatus, together with extensive documentation and a thorough bibliography. This authoritative text belongs on the shelf of any research library with strong medieval and crusade collections. Highly recommended.' G. G. Guzman, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107196902
    • length: 238 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 7 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. 'Between Bar-sur-Aube and Rosnay' (c.950–1191)
    2. Breakthrough and high point (c.1191–1237)
    3. In the pages of Joinville (c.1237–1267)
    4. The Angevins and Athens (c.1267–1311)
    5. Hubris and nemesis (c.1311–1356)

  • Author

    Guy Perry, Middlebury College, Vermont and Keble College, Oxford
    Guy Perry has held a wide range of positions as a Lecturer and a Tutor, from Royal Holloway, University of London, to the Universities of Oxford and Leeds. His previous publications include John of Brienne (Cambridge, 2013) and The Fifth Crusade in Context (2016).

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