Read Terry Jones' Medieval Lives by Terry Jones Alan Ereira Online


Famous for lampooning the medieval world in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Terry Jones has a real passion for and detailed knowledge of the Middle Ages. In Terry Jones' Medieval Lives, his mission is to rescue the Middle Ages from moth-eaten cliches and well-worn platitudes. Behind the stereotypes of "damsels in distress" and "knights in shining armor," there are wonderFamous for lampooning the medieval world in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Terry Jones has a real passion for and detailed knowledge of the Middle Ages. In Terry Jones' Medieval Lives, his mission is to rescue the Middle Ages from moth-eaten cliches and well-worn platitudes. Behind the stereotypes of "damsels in distress" and "knights in shining armor," there are wonderfully human stories that bring the period to life. Terry will start with the medieval archetypes—the Knight, Peasant, Damsel, Monk, Outlaw, King, Merchant, and Physician—and in the course of unravelling their role and function will introduce a host of colorful real-life characters, recreating their world by visiting key locations....

Title : Terry Jones' Medieval Lives
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781409070450
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives Reviews

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-25 23:17

    Description: Famous for lampooning the medieval world in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Terry Jones has a real passion for and detailed knowledge of the Middle Ages. In Terry Jones' Medieval Lives, his mission is to rescue the Middle Ages from moth-eaten cliches and well-worn platitudes. Behind the stereotypes of "damsels in distress" and "knights in shining armor," there are wonderfully human stories that bring the period to life. Terry will start with the medieval archetypes—the Knight, Peasant, Damsel, Monk, Outlaw, King, Merchant, and Physician—and in the course of unravelling their role and function will introduce a host of colorful real-life characters, recreating their world by visiting key locations.

  • Ðawn
    2019-04-07 02:06

    3.5 stars.I was expecting this to have a little more comedy thrown in since it is authored by Monty Python's Terry Jones so that was a little disappointing.The book overall was pretty good but covered too many topics over too long of a period. I wanted more detail and insight as to how life truly was back then and felt I got more or less a lesson in politics. I felt a little lost from time to time, since I am not a historian.. not even close. There were many references made to things that I suppose most people know about, unfortunately I do not.I did learn quite a bit, some of it was surprising, most was not.I enjoyed it.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-06 05:04

    4.5 really...For the longest time, everything I ‘knew’ about Medieval England I'd learnt from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.Now that I’ve discovered that history isn’t the boring list of dates my teachers made it out to be, and lacking the thousands of pounds required to go and get a proper education, it’s only fitting to turn back to a Python for my further education. And what a brilliant education it is – chock full of fascinating facts and humour, and providing a sturdy foundation for further reading.Taking a look at the many stereotypes associated with the age (peasant, minstrel, outlaw, monk, philosopher, knight, damsel and king) Jones & Ereira debunk many of the popular misconceptions via brilliant medieval anecdotes that brings real life to their material, as well as laying clear the propaganda machine that’s helped cement in place most of our accepted ‘facts’ (ie ‘Good’ King Richard I was a mass-murdering rapist who detested England and spent only 6 months of his entire ten-year reign here, and hoped to sell it off to the highest bidder, whereas ‘Bad’ King Richard II might have actually been pretty awesome, except Henry Bolingbroke’s spin doctors got to work on the history books)Fantastic stuff that I highly recommend - I'm now hoping that Terry decides to tackle the rest of English history, as it's a class I desperately want to sign up for. You should too.**Also posted at Randomly Reading and Ranting**

  • Dana Stabenow
    2019-04-23 01:24

    Lots of interesting detail and funny asides, but I fear a careless scholar. On pp 60-61 he talks about Anne Boleyn and the charges of adultery that brought her down, including Anne's alleged affair with minstrel-poet Mark Smeaton. In conclusion Jones writesAnd the queen [Elizabeth I] under whose rule they flourished, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, was said (very quietly) to bear more than a passing resemblance to Mark Smeaton.Two things: One, I've seen many portraits and reproductions of portraits of Henry VIII and Elizabeth, and I'd like to know who she got that hair from if not him. Two, that rumor of Elizabeth's likeness to Smeaton can be traced directly to Elizabeth's half-sister Mary Tudor, who had a gigantic axe to grind, and of whom Jones makes no mention. It was difficult to take anything he said seriously after that. He also got Edward III's age wrong later on, which I admit I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't just read Dan Jones' The Plantagenets.

  •  ☆Ruth☆
    2019-04-15 01:16

    Plenty of interesting (and surprising) facts - the author has obviously done a huge amount of research (the bibliography takes up 10% of the volume!). The writing style was perhaps a little on the dry side for me - it took me quite a while to plough through the book, but it was still worth reading.

  • Ubiquitousbastard
    2019-03-26 23:58

    Alright, so my thinking on this book was "Medieval=awesome, Terry Jones=also awesome, I must read this." So, pretty much that's how the book goes as well. A hefty amount of the information was familiar to me, (I even recognized the Christine de Pisan passage from when I read it in Art History,) but some of it was new and those parts were interesting. I also really liked the way that the information was presented, although that isn't very surprising to me. The whole book wasn't laugh out loud funny, but there were some places that were pretty good in that regard.I think if I have any complaints, it's that the book wasn't long enough; I wanted more sections. Oh, okay, also I would have liked less of a focus on Britain since that is where most of my medieval knowledge comes from already. And I was a slight bit irritated that (again, as other books have done) it didn't just come out and say that it was basically about England, some Normandy and the occasional scrap about Italy. Other than all of that, I really liked reading the book. It wasn't difficult to read, but it wasn't a simple history either; I think that was very well done. I also think I might have liked this book more if I didn't know so much of the information from previous sources. This would be a good introduction for someone that didn't know a lot about the real Middle Ages but was interested.

  • Meaghan
    2019-04-13 04:56

    I've seen the Medieval Lives TV series and this is just as good, though each contains information not found in the other. This is serious history, but Terry Jones, being Terry Jones, is able to insert plenty of humor. Highly recommended for high school and college classrooms, and for anyone interested in medieval history.

  • Max Nemtsov
    2019-04-09 22:20

    Еще один телевизионно-сопроводительный текст, отлично идет в паре с книжкой про ирландскую "средневековую" жизнь. Ну и юмор Терри Джоунза помогает.

  • Paula
    2019-04-08 01:56

    Although Terry’s delightful presentation skills make the BBC series version memorable, I found his writing style to be much more captivating. I enjoyed very much reading the book . I was very well surprised by the elaborate details used to debunk many of the classic popular conceptions associated with the Middle Ages .I liked the most the ‘Damsel’ ( chapter 7) and ‘Peasant’ (chapter 1) – I was fascinated to learn that these people, who in general are perceived to be weak and have limited coping skills, were able to handle so courageously and wisely unfortunate events.Chapter 1 ‘Peasants’"In the summer of 1381... It was the first and last large-scale popular uprising in English history.""The rising.. was highly organized and carefully prepared."For a start, many areas of the country rose virtually simultaneously, which indicates that peasants had the capacity for organization on a much larger scale than the purely local.Moreover, the rebels’ selection of targets in London demonstrates that the violence there was deliberate and specific.The targets of the rebels’ destruction were places where records were stored: abbeys, priories, lawyers’ houses and the like.""But this was not a general attack on literacy. It was specifically legal records that were destroyed and others, in many places, were left intact. Some, at least, of the rebels could read. So if peasants were not illiterate members of a dirty, uncouth, barbarous, rural ‘lumpen proletariat’ , who were they?""Many manorial lords held several manors and spent much of their time away fighting. They needed the manor to look after itself – or rather, they needed their villeins (known peasants) to organize its care for them....Some villages came close to being totally self governing political entities run by the peasants for the peasants. Villeins resisted authority by quietly ignoring regulations, and manipulated the system by exploiting their influence as officials and bending laws in their own favor."

  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    2019-04-14 00:08

    History doesn't have to be boring.This slender volume contains some neatly presented information about life in the Middle Ages (defined as 1066 to 1536), and introduces humour and colour into the mix. Be warned, though, its real value is in providing a panoramic view of the times rather than a detailed snapshot of the events. If you want or need more detail, you’d be well advised to delve in to the bibliography provided. Still, it’s hard not to wonder about why nobody ever mentions King Louis the First (and Last). And which monks were forbidden the delights of donning underpants (and why)? Did medieval people think the world was flat? Not according to Terry Jones and Alan Ereira, who advise that this was an invention of a French antireligious academic (Antoine-Jean Letronne) and the American novelist Washington Irving during the 19th century. Under the headings of Peasant, Minstrel, Outlaw, Monk, Philosopher, Knight, Damsel and King are vignettes which serve to bring some meaning to these headings and some context to some of the names that readers may remember from history. For example, the stories of Blondel (Minstrel) and William Marshal (Knight).A fun and entertaining read for those looking to a light-hearted but informative snapshot of the times.

  • Teri
    2019-04-04 22:18

    This book was not at all what I thought it would be. Well, maybe it was half of what I expected. I came across this book and saw Terry Jones' name attached to it. I'm a history nut and a Monty Python fan. My expectation is that Terry Jones' Medieval Lives would blend some factual details of the way people lived during the medieval era with the lively humor of Monty Python. I was wrong, so very wrong. I indeed got a diatribe of medieval life, which may or may not be 100% factual. It does seem well researched, but I suspect that some liberties in conclusions were made. There was no humor, whatsoever. Very disappointing on that account. If I had wanted to read dry and boring, I would have picked up my 7th grade history book (written about 40 years ago). If you're okay with straight information, compacting four centuries in 200 pages, then this is the book for you. For me, it was disappointment. I learned a little along the way, but mostly I feel asleep every 20 pages or so.

  • Didaa
    2019-04-05 22:54

    Lovely little book that deals with all prejudices we might have about the Middle Ages.

  • Lance
    2019-03-31 02:58

    "The phrase 'middle ages' first turns up in English in the seventeenth century, and right from the start it carried a judgement"Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame, and an accredited satirist of the medieval period behind Spamelot featuring all medieval hilarity. For such a broad book, spanning the entire middle ages in England from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 by Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell, there is an interesting and unique continuity of message expressing how much change and social development occurred. He sets out to critique the pop-culture views of "the pantomime vision of a well-ordered medieval kingdom and the dark image of horrible and barbaric lawlessness.", and to reveal some of the truths swept under the carpet by eighteenth century thinkers "the Renaissance constructed a mental bridge that reached back to the Roman Empire, without having to paddle in the swamp that lay in between". It satisfies both as a general, entry-level read, and also carries a uniting theme. Some information is fairly basic, which suggests the target audience is more teenagers moving on from Horrible Histories, rather than hard-core medievalists. But very well-written overall!With no further ado: Medieval Facts.Jones' accounts of the lives of common people in the medieval period. He really captures the huge changes that occurred, including climate change as the last vestiges of the most recent Ice Age finally leave Britain. "England was getting warmer and wetter." He explains that the people we know now as peasants actually had much better diets compared to town and city-dwellers in the Industrial Revolution, that veillanage was largely on the wain with Henry I, and that after the Black Death peasant labour was so in demand that they were able to improve their quality of life. Until the value of labour and the chivalric ideals declined again and lords decided they could get more money out of their land without humans on it. "The peasants came face to face with their greatest natural enemy - sheep." The common people of England actually had their own community legal systems in witnesses (oath-takers) from within the community were required to vouch for the accuser or defendant and one of the worst penalties was outlawry which severed the defendant from the community. William the Conqueror changed all that and introduced trial by battle for Noblemen with reinforced that "for the Normans, might was right." Surprisingly, and completely new to me, it was his son Henry I who stemmed the unrest this caused by creating juries, the concept of a 'crime' being an offense against the crown and not just the accuser, and essentially created our modern legal system (without the evidence, of course). Medieval peasants were also privileged in that their music, story-telling and culture was about as high-brow as that of their lords. Minstrels were "promoters of a culture based on simple piety and violent death", who went from professional farters to the sophisticated Troubadours (literally meaning those who come up with something new), who made their art in the local tongue rather than Latin as a political statement, and created ballads of such lasting romance that they defined a genre still appreciated today. "a court without gifts is just a paddock-full of barons" It's a shame Pope Innocent III was determined to wipe them out along with all the other Cathars who found fault in the Catholic Church. Now that's medieval.And yet, despite the brutality, there is a part of me that still longs to retire to the 12th century one day as a Benedictine monk. St. Benedict, founder of some of the first Christian monasteries, generally wanted to be left alone and to serve God outside the debaucheries of city life with hard work and reflection. His Rule states: "'we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome'" Monks were the scholars of the time, preservers of classical knowledge, and awesomely preserved in modern novels such as Ellis Peters' Chronicles of Brother Cadfael series, and it was very cool to find out that there was a real Brother Herluin who founded his own order of monks because he thought that the 11th century Benedictines had it too easy. Even the alchemy they practiced was quite a free-thinking exercise, all in the pursuit of earthly spiritual and material splendour, helping all metals on their way to gold. "Gold is incorruptible"Alas, there is a reason that we don't have so many pious monks any more. "prayer become a commodity. It gained a commercial value, and was eventually to lead to the collapse of the whole system." In a monastic society where wealth is never split between offspring or taken by force, the Chruch accumulated obscene wealth. It doesn't help that some later orders also franchised out their monasteries, buying up cheap land after surveying it to check whether there might be metal worth mining underground. "The Cistercians were natural businessmen." It was also really cool to see that medievalism is still evolving. "Excavations of the medieval hospital and priory of St. Mary in London has produced thousands of bones of monks and their patients." Modern scientified techniques are giving us better and better ideas of how people lived; diet, health, even previous injury record can now be deduced from archeological digs showing that there is always more to know about this familiar period of history.But what of the noble classes whom we remember most strongly from this period? "maybe we are better off without chivalry" Oh, don't say that! Essentially, the consensus is that most knights were as violent and thuggish as any other historical warrior class. Ramon Lull's "Book on the Order of Chivalry", written in the 1200s, lists a knight's duties as killing for his Church and lord, but also includes scaring peasants so that they work harder, and adds protecting of the weak as the final duty without a hint of irony. I'd like to think that court chivalry, although it did not change the realities of warfare, introduced some reflection and moral duty to late medieval diplomacy. Although it's all about who's hands the power is in. "In the end, monarchy came down to popular (or at least baronial) consent." I liked the portrayal of medieval women as proud owners of a sex-drive, backed up by the almost terrifying sexual agency of female characters in Arthurian writing, be they strange will-weep-for-cash holy women like professional pilgrim Margaery Kempe, or that anomaly, the female sheriff Nicola de la Haye. "Women had to be tough-minded and look out for themselves." The final chapter on medieval kings should be set-reading for all primary school children in the UK being taught the Bad King John and evil Richard III stereotypes. It's really important and interesting to question the record keeping and sources that give us these strongly biased accounts and, ultimately, to help we peasants of the modern day to make up our minds for ourselves.

  • Martin Ortiz
    2019-04-19 22:23

    I was disappointed with this book. I have not seen the television series.I measure the accuracy of non-fiction by how well it does when it intersects my own knowledge base. I can't comment on whether much of the book was correct but when it talked about how the science of this time was not primitive and gave examples such as leeches were used then and used in microsurgery today, that is insulting to logic. Leeches were used to no good effect back then. Just because they have a use now, doesn't bless the past. Similarly, the presence of charlatans of science in the Middle Ages is not supposed to negate the quality of their science because we have frauds today.How am I supposed to trust this book when it gets to fields I don't know much about? One example is often given to prove a point, when a simple line could be added to let us know this was typical. The peasantry were well-fed. As proof, the archeological findings of a single town are cited. Please let me know if there is supporting evidence to say this was generally so.A monk in the eleventh century tried gliding from a tower and crashed breaking both legs. Interesting, but hardly worthy of the following contention that by not continuing with this experimentation, flight was set back by 900 years. Such numbers get loosely tossed around. It would be 800 years before more systematic attempts at gliding would take place (George Cayley). And, I'm sorry, but the people in the middle ages didn't have the science to get this experiment to go anywhere substantial.The anecdotes are entertaining and I came away with a few insights, but I felt the book was flaccid, poorly thought-out and poorly organized.

  • Mary Kate
    2019-04-14 02:23

    My main problem with this book is that it never seems to figure out what it wants to be. It's much too biased and flippant to be a trustworthy historical text, and often picks and chooses facts to fit with a preferred narrative (the incidence other reviewers have mentioned about questioning Queen Elizabeth I's parentage is one undermining example). Yet it clearly wants the reader to take historical fact away from it, and while it has wit, isn't particularly funny. It's very difficult to blend genres with informational books, and I don't think this one succeeded.That said, it is a decent primer for medieval history. It's not nearly as dry as many history books are and gives a decent overview of many aspects of the period. It's a good launching point on the subject for someone who isn't familiar with it already. I've already started researching fascinating characters introduced to me by this book. It was an interesting and enjoyable read, just not something I was able to put a lot of trust in.

  • Lori
    2019-04-19 04:16

    A general overview of the "Middle Ages" divided by categories of occupation. If you like learning about how history is distorted according to who is telling it, this is a nice book. Full of facts like how people in the Middle Ages did not think that the world was flat. Knights were not romantic figures, outlaws were glorified by everyday people, and even though 'trial by jury' was introduced at this time the jury would have included witnesses and the person that accused.

  • Óli Sóleyjarson
    2019-04-14 22:09

    Aðgengilegur og skemmtilegur stíll. Minnti hálf á heimildamynd (það var líka gerð heimildaþáttaröð). En hún er samt bara rétt fjórar stjörnur.

  • S.S.
    2019-03-26 05:21

    I've recently watched Terry Jones' Medieval Lives TV series for the first time because I've become interested in the medieval era. (I've also needed to do a lot of research on the era for my own writing.) I decided to watch this because, y'know, Terry Jones! (I do really like Monty Python!) I liked the TV show a lot so decided to get the book - well, I say I got it, but I didn't personally. I was actually gifted the book for my birthday recently, which I was very glad to receive. It's a really interesting book, and a lot of care and research has obviously been poured into it. It was really easy to read and get into, as well - I didn't think it was dry like a lot of history books can be. I liked the fact that there were full colour photographs in it too, which matched up with some of the images from the TV show. There were some amusing sections in it, which made the information easier to digest. I also thought that this book went into more detail for some sections than the show did, and vice versa, so it pays to own both. This is definitely a nice addition to the medieval books I already own and will definitely be something that I will dip into a LOT in the future.

  • Jackie
    2019-03-26 05:19

    I'm a sucker for any sort of medieval history book and when the author is a member of the group responsible for one of the greatest films ever made - 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' - well, who could resist?The surprise was how well written and researched the book was and how much I learned. The book is divided in chapters describing a particular popular myth about the medieval ages and then smashes that myth to bits. For example, the chapter on 'Damsel' debunks the idea that all highborn women were helpless maidens and provides examples of women who ran estates and private business, held positions of power and were authors. With the announcement in 2016 that Terry Jones is struggling with dementia, it's sad to think this knowledgeable and entertaining writer will no longer be able to share what he knows.

  • Alison
    2019-03-26 00:13

    This was very interesting and enlightening, but not especially well organized or written. I felt like it just jumped around and was hard to follow. I admit I expected a bit more humour too. I really wasn't the best audience as my knowledge of British history is sparse; but the proof that all we know about medieval times is simply propaganda is terrific. Basically take all you think you know and turn it upside down... Rather an apt and useful reminder for the present day.But unless I missed it they did NOT actually cover the question of whether outlaws wore trousers!! Not pleased!

  • Hannah
    2019-04-21 06:17

    I read this excellent book after watching the also excellent series of the same name, and I'm so glad I did. The book was highly entertaining and easy to read while still being educational - I found myself constantly muttering 'I didn't know that!'. the chapters on peasants and outlaws were especially good. All in all, I highly recommend this myth-busting book to anyone with the slightest interest in the Middle Ages.

  • Reza Amiri Praramadhan
    2019-04-12 04:16

    Informative, as it is entertaining, the book casts a new light on my knowledge about lives during the Medieval Era, the supposed dark ages weren't so dark at all after reading this book. It turned out that the Peasant were not merely slightly above animal, and the chivalric codes were mostly fiction, and even the hunchbacked, twisted Richard III was no more than the result of evil machinations by Henry Tudor.

  • Steve Howarth
    2019-04-21 02:58

    Better than what I expected, covered a good range of subjects covered in a very readable style. Sometimes it is light in content, but does have entertaining anecdotes, especially with peasants dodging feudal responsibilities.

  • Andrea O'Brien
    2019-04-14 02:23

    I thoroughly enjoyed this enlightening look into the medieval ages and the myth debunking of pop culture's favourite dark age tropes.The writing is witty and conversational with a fully stocked bibliography to counter possible arguments of it's accuracy.

  • NJ Pond
    2019-03-31 02:01

    Very enlightening and awesome read.

  • Don
    2019-04-05 22:13

    A funny, informative and easy read.

  • Adam Gott
    2019-04-18 05:19

    Interesting although somewhat light.

  • Minou Jolie
    2019-03-24 00:19

    Easy to read, funny and lots of interesting information.

  • Joy Gilbert
    2019-04-08 05:11

    This was a fascinating read.

  • Heather
    2019-04-23 01:23

    Everything you think you know about the lives of people in the Middle Ages is wrong. Terry Jones of Monty Python fame sets the record straight in Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives. Each chapter covers a different group of people who lived during medieval times. These groups include peasants, minstrels, outlaws, monks, philosophers, knights, damsels, and kings. The books is well researched with an extensive bibliography and footnotes. It’s a great read for anyone interested in history.