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186 Short Notices the author offers three detailed soundings. Thefirstof these, on Otto I and his Saxon enemies, shows some of the difficulties encountered in the establishment of Ottoman monarchy. The second, which deserves the attention of those concerned with women's history, examines the women of the Saxon aristocracy, who are convincingly shown to have had a Ufe expectancy greater than that of their male counterparts, the latter having been far more likely to die from violence. Enjoying as they did some rights of inheritance, women tended to found religious houses to secure their possessions, but these they often placed under the protection of the king, ultimately allowing a royal takeover. Leyser finally turns to sacral kingship, strongly arguing that grounds for challenging this system had emerged prior to the accession of Henry IV. In a world where students are all too prone to make a hero of Pope Gregory VII, his thesis wdl be found an admirable corrective. John Moorhead Department of History University of Queensland Miskimin, Harry A., Cash, credit and crisis in Europe 1300-1600, London, Variorum, 1989; cloth; pp. xxiv, 274; R. R. P. £36.00 Few medievalists of any persuasion would, I think, dispute the claim that of all fields of our discipUne monetary history is perhaps the most incomprehensible. It is a difficult field, bestrewn with many pitfalls. By and large it remains, unfortunately, afieldfor the specialist. Unfortunately because, in spite of the difficulties which most historians have in understanding the arguments of monetary historians, the field is of undoubted importance. A sound understanding of monetary movements not only informs, but is indispensable to, any study of social, economic, or even political history. H o w can one attempt to study even household economics and their interaction with the social history of the sexes and social classes without understanding the fundamental movements of the monetary economies in which they existed? Harry Miskimin has been one of the three greatest monetary historians of medieval and Renaissance Europe in the English language since the Second World War, the others being John Munro of Toronto and Peter Spufford of Keele. This collection of his articles is immensely welcome. Miskimin has not had a prolific output; thefifteenarticles here range in date from 1961 to 1987. However, his articles have often been at the centre of historical debate. Together with Roberto S. Lopez, Miskimin opened the intellectual can of worms of the debate on the economic depression of the Renaissance (here No. III). Moreover, many of his studies addressed that other cause celebre: the buUion drain from Europe in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. To have the collected articles Short Notices 187 of such an eminent and important scholar as Miskimin in a single volume is extremely useful. This Variorum volume differs from others in that Miskimin has provided not a perfunctory introduction but a fifteen-page essay on his articles in retrospect which amounts to a review of his intellectual cursus honorum. It is not a defence of old positions against new critics but a humane and reasoned explanation of the context of each of the articles, seen in retrospect. One could wish that all Variorum volumes had such an introduction. John H. Pryor Department of History University of Sydney ...


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