Morris Bishop Quotes.

1. "The culture of a given time and place is a product of inherited tradition, of the recovery of lost or obscured forms of thought, of innovation. Such seeds, fertilized by prosperity, tended by leisure, and warmed by the sun of peace, may produce an abundant bloom."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

2. "The romantic idealization of love and the beloved had no source in Roman or Germanic tradition. It came apparently from Islamic Spain, where women had a good deal of freedom and were often poets in their own right. It was there that a mystical doctrine of love as a holy passion, pure and uplifting, developed. Arabic literature is full of parted and thwarted lovers, totally faithful and devoted. Its poetry is mostly love poetry, foreshadowing the themes and styles of the French troubadours."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

3. "The home and school of courtly love was at Poitiers, in the court of the renowned Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of Henry II of England. Toward the end of the twelfth century, Eleanor presided over an actual Court of Love, wherein ladies and gentlemen judged questions of behavior, issued decisions, and composed a casuistic code for the guidance of others. Her daughter’s chaplain, Andreas Capellanus, set down the results of their meetings in a treatise, De Arte Honeste Amandi (The Art of Courtly Love). True love, he says, must be free; it must be mutual; it must be noble, for a commoner could not experience it; it must be secret. If the lover meets his lady in public, he must treat her almost as a stranger and communicate with her only by furtive signs. But when he catches sight of her, his heart palpitates, and he turns pale, and thus risks betraying his dear secret. He eats and sleeps very little. Clearly this true love is incompatible with marriage; everybody knows that love can have no place between husband and wife."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

4. "The Middle Ages is an unfortunate term. It was not invented until the age was long past. The dwellers in the Middle Ages would not have recognized it. They did not know that they were living in the middle; they thought, quite rightly, that they were time’s latest achievement. The term implies that the Middle Ages were a mere interim between ancient greatness and our modern greatness. Who knows what the future will call it? As our Modern Age ceases to be modern and becomes an episode of history, our times may well be classed as the later Middle Ages. For while we say time marches forward, all things in time move backward toward the middle and eventually to the beginnings of history. We are too vain; we think we are the summit of history."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

5. "At Treviso in 1214 was held a Court of Solace and Mirth. A Castle of Love was built, and defended by ladies against an assault by two rival bands of gentlemen from Padua and Venice, who used cakes, fruits, and flowers as missiles. But the mimic war turned into a real battle between the Paduans and the Venetians, and the police had to intervene to stop it. In Florence were brigades of young gallants, dressed in white, with their leader, a Lord of Love."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

6. "The Picts poured over Hadrian’s Wall in the north; Scottish tribes harried the coasts from their homes in Northern Ireland. The Saxons, or Anglo-Saxons, came from the coast of Denmark and Germany to ravage England’s eastern shores, and finding the land good, established permanent settlements."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

7. "the family feuds of the nobles were beyond control. Revenge was regarded rather as an act of private justice than as a crime. The remotest members of a clan were bound by the obligations of the vendetta, which had its special home in Italy. Its history in the Middle Ages is largely one of family feuds that turned into wars. These ended either by the extermination of one party or by the intervention of the emperor or the church, imposing reconciliation and indemnities."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

8. "The adept of courtly love, fresh from sighing at his unapproachable lady’s feet, could pause on his homeward journey to tumble a shepherdess in her meadow, a fresh-faced village girl under a hedge. The Muslims in Spain and Syria were shocked by the licentiousness of the French."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

9. "The Byzantines mounted catapults on their ships; they also introduced the West to Greek Fire, apparently a mixture of petroleum, quicklime, and sulphur. The quicklime in contact with water ignited the bomb, a primitive napalm."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

10. "The crusades were a great historical novelty; they were the first wars fought for an ideal. Naturally the ideal was promptly corrupted and falsified. But the fact remains that the crusades were conceived as a service to the Christian God, and the crusaders thought themselves, at least intermittently, the consecrated servants of holy purpose. The crusades were many things, but originally they were a beautiful, noble idea."
- Morris Bishop, The Middle Ages

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