It’s a Feudal, Feudal World and the Diagram of Doom

Outlining the second topic in It’s a Feudal, Feudal World, “Three Faiths,” came with all sorts of ominous feelings. Talking about religion is always sensitive; trying to discuss three religions triply-so. I hope the absence of angry letters means no one was offended by the brief summaries offered in the diagram “One God, Many Religions.”

Rather than try to identify all the interconnections between the faiths, what we settled on was a simple layout that highlighted terms and concepts the reader needed to follow the presence of these religions in the rest of the book: origins, sources of authority, sacred texts, religious sites, and notable populations.

Those basic facts hopefully help the reader understand the presence of all three religions in the pages that follow, not just in obvious places like “Places of Prayer” or “Perilous Persecutions,” but also in with the travelers in “The Silk Road,” the spread of disease in “The Big, Bad Black Death,” and the trade routes of “Goods and Gold.”

If there’s an omission on the page, it’s that it gives short shrift to the survival of non-Abrahamic faiths in medieval Europe. As late as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, there were still pagans in eastern Europe against which a pope could declare a crusade. And all across Europe pre-Christian ideas were the basis for magic and folk traditions, feasts, festivals, and local customs. Maybe a good topic to include in a sequel?

Feudal cover April2013

My newest book, It’s a Feudal, Feudal World: A Different Medieval History (Amazon ⁄ Annick) is now available. We’ve also been nominated for the 2014 Forest of Reading Silver Birch prize!


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