By Kenneth M. Setton, Harry W. Hazard
The six volumes of A background of the Crusades will stand because the definitive historical past of the Crusades, spanning 5 centuries, encompassing Jewish, Moslem, and Christian views, and containing a wealth of knowledge and research of the heritage, politics, economics, and tradition of the medieval global
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Extra info for A History of the Crusades, Vol. 3: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
Here the author sets out and defends his views on a question of natural 38 INTRODUCTION science: granted that Aristotelian physics would lead us to expect that the sphere of water would completely enclose and cover the sphere of earth, by what means was the land-mass of Europe, Asia and Africa raised above the sea? Both works are highly technical and intellectual in character, and they are both very reminiscent of the books that Dante wrote in the service of Lady Philosophy. 85 But the traditional attributions are well supported and not to be lightly set aside; and, in any case, their testimony is not decisive in establishing the temper of Dante's mind in his full maturity.
Nevertheless, there was a distinct opening phase in his second love, and it is extremely interesting. Dante felt guilty of infidelity towards the dead Beatrice; and he was almost deterred by the sheer difficulty of some of the concepts with which he had to wrestle. His complex feelings of guilt, attraction and repulsion are worked out in the canzone, Voi che 'ntendendo il terzo ciel movete and in the ballata, Voi che savete ragionar d! amove. But the analysis and representation of these feelings is carried through without any departure from the modes of his youthful love-poetry.
Of all the works he read in his late twenties it was the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, as expounded by Aquinas, that engaged him most deeply and left the most lasting impression. 62 Right choices were not simply a matter of opinion, and happiness not simply a matter of good luck. When Dante in due course assumed the mantle of teacher, his goals were almost always ethical. At the end of his life he could assert that the Comedy was ordered to secure a practical not a purely speculative end, and that it therefore lay within the province of ethics: 'genus vero phylosophiae, sub quo hie in toto et parte proceditur, est morale negotium, sive ethica; quia non ad speculandum, sed ad opus inventum est to turn et pars'.
A History of the Crusades, Vol. 3: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries by Kenneth M. Setton, Harry W. Hazard