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BOOK REVIEWS313 eager for their share of the free-for-aU land-grab that victory would bring; this transfer of ownership from Cathars to true sons of the Church was also necessary to faciUtate the power structures (poUtical control and Uiquisition) that could eradicate heresy.These two aspects—the temporal and the spiritual—are clearly reflected by the two authors of The Song of the Cathar Wars.The first, WUliam ofTudela (writing c. 1211-1213) supported the causes of both the papacy and the French crown: a loyal CathoUc, he recognized the need for external intervention to suppress the heretics. His anonymous successor (writing 1213-1219) held contrary views: whoUy opposed to political and military interference into the affairs ofOccitania.he was nevertheless also a good CathoUc who simply wished that Count Raymond of Toulouse had stamped out the Cathar heresy by himseU.The Anonymous absolves Raymond of heretical leanings , and instead excoriates the crusade's leader, Simon de Montfort, as the vUlain ofthe piece.Another major difference is that whUeWilUam is a good writer, the Anonymous is a great one; Shirley is honest enough to make clear that this distinction is "aU but lost in translation." As an historical document itseU, The Song is ofgreat importance, not least because it offers an account from the losing side (proving that history is not always written by the victors). Furthermore, its two authors are more measured Ui their judgments than that other, at times extreme, contemporary historian of the crusade, Peter of Les Vaux de Cernay. Both are reUable: when they themselves are not eyewitnesses to events they use firsthand testimony; their record accords weU with other evidence, including charters.As so often with sources of this kind, many wiU deem its chief recommendation to be the reUgious and linguistic insights it so patently offers; but its greatest value is for its miUtary detaUs : despite Auguste Molinier's criticisms a century ago that The Song's war scenes are repetitive and monotonous, this is quite simply one of the best sources of medieval warfare one could hope for. Although this edition of The Song wiU not replace Henri Gougaud's OccitanFrench paraUel text of 1984, the aU-important fact that it is the first avaUable in English (and faithfuUy translated by Janet SlUrley) wUl ensure its great utUity to anglophonic scholars of this troubled period. It is highly recommended. Sean McGlynn London School ofEconomics and Political Science Before Science: The Invention of the Friars' Natural Philosophy. By Roger French and Andrew Cunningham. (Brookfield,Vermont: Scolar Press, Ashgate PubUshing Company. 1996. Pp. x, 298.) French and Cunningham argue in this book that there was no medieval science ,but only medieval natural philosophy; and this natural phüosophy they assure us, was radically dUferent from what we now caU "science":". . . there was no scientific tradition (in the modern sense ofthe term 'scientific') oflooking at 314book reviews nature in the thirteenth century, only a reUgio-poUtical way of doing so" f. 273). What primarily differentiated medieval natural phUosophy from modern science, they argue, was reUgion; for the medieval investigation of nature was motivated and its conclusions shaped by reUgious interests. As a reaction against the recent f?? now moribund) tendency to write the history of medieval "science" as though reUgion did not exist, this is a salutary conclusion. French and Cunningham do an exceUent job of demonstrating the reUgious motivation, and thus the handmaiden status, of medieval natural philosophy .They are interested especiaUy in the natural plulosophies developed by the mendicant orders in the thirteenth century: they connect the ChristianAristotelianism of the Dominicans closely and convincingly with the Church's campaign against the Cathar heresy, and they associate the Neoplatonizing AristoteUanism of the Franciscans (the AristoteUan foundations of which they somewhat beUigerently refuse to acknowledge) with the ideal of mystical contemplation emanating from pseudo-Dionysius.They also offer interesting and useful surveys of the idea of"nature" from antiquity through the thirteenth century , of education within the mendicant orders and its relationship to the universities , of the natural phUosophical Uterature (including encyclopedic works) produced by the mendicants, and more. It should be clear, then, that this book has many merits. However, French and Cunningham...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 313-315
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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