The Greatest Knight: the remarkable life of William Marshal, the power behind five English thrones – Thomas Asbridge

I recently finished this book and wanted to write a review of it. However, I find myself far too tired to write today. And so, I’m pleased to refer you to this blog, which conveys a similar impression to mine of the book in question.

By the way, one of the reasons William Marshall is called “the greatest knight” happens to do with the fact that he defeated 500 other knights in tournaments and on the battlefield–fighting his last battle at age 70! Anyone with an interest in medieval times will enjoy this book.

itsonlywordsweb

I knew a little about William Marshal – he’s cropped up in quite a few books about the early Plantagenets – but I didn’t know anything about where he came from and how he became the go-to man when Kings were having problems hanging onto their thrones.

This book does an excellent job filling in those gaps and, as far as possible with someone who lived such a long time ago, bring the person to life.

I loved the story of the discovery of the manuscript in the 19th century that turned out to be a 13th century biography/hagiography of William, possibly commissioned by his son. This means that far more can be learned about William than about most of his contemporaries. The author of this book is quite clear about taking some of his source materials, including this manuscript, with a pinch of salt. I also like…

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Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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