OBOD member Karen Ralls is a historian and musician who has recently written a book entitled Medieval Mysteries: A Guide to History, Lore, Places and Symbolism. Here is some information about the book, followed by Karen’s own words about its contents. A great book for anyone interested in this fascinating period:
Cross the threshold and journey into the world of the High Middle Ages (1100-1300), to further explore twelve of the most-frequently-requested medieval topics today. From Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose to the delights of Monty Python, the medieval period – pagan, Christian, and otherwise – continues to intrigue, inspire and fascinate many today. But what were some of the unexpected developments, interesting people, and key events of this epic time? For general readers and specialists alike, medieval historian, former Rosslyn Chapel museum exhibition Curator and author Karen Ralls presents the key historical facts and associated places, symbolism, and folklore for each of the twelve medieval topics, providing a much-requested ‘medieval anthology’ — a lively introductory portal for all readers, in one place, which includes the major historical facts as well as some of the lesser-known aspects about each of the topics. The story of each subject comes alive as never before, providing a solid, engaging overview about each subject, as well as numerous full colour photographs throughout, a Recommended Reading List (from both academic and selected general sources), four appendices, Historic Sites to Visit, Notes, and a full Bibliography. Topics covered include:
- The Knights Templar
- The Grail and the Grail quest
- Mary Magdalene: medieval places, traditions and shrines
- Black Madonnas: from springs, grotto and grove to Chartres…
- The courage of the Cathars
- Medieval Guilds; The Green Man
- The Troubadours
- Heresy, Heretics, and heresy trials
- Rosslyn Chapel
- King Arthur, Glastonbury, Merlin
Further explore the history and wonders of the High Middle Ages — a time of potent symbolism, unexpected developments on many fronts, and much spiritual questing.
‘Medieval Mysteries: History, Places, and Symbolism – is a history book covering twelve of the more-frequently-requested medieval period subjects. Although being ‘medieval period/High Middle Ages’ (1100-1300) in focus, I do discuss throughout (wherever I possibly could!), the history of the pagan-related aspects of a number of medieval period subjects, i.e, the Green Man, the earlier roots of the Black Madonnas, from springs, grottoes and groves, to Chartres, medieval heresies, the Grail Quest. I also enjoyed finding an early ‘Our Lady of the Oak Tree’ in France.’ – Karen Ralls
- Karen’s website and details of her other books can be found here.