Living by the Sword: Weapons and Material Culture in France and Britain, 600–1600

February 23, 2021
Living by the Sword: Weapons and Material Culture in France and Britain, 600–1600

Sharpen your knowledge of swords with Kristen B. Neuschel as shetakes you through a captivating 1,000 years of French and Englishhistory. Living by the Sword reveals that warrior culture,with the sword as its ultimate symbol, was deeply rooted in rituallong before the introduction of gunpowder weapons transformed thebattlefield.Neuschel argues that objects have agency and that decoding theirmeaning involves seeing them in motion: bought, sold, exchanged,refurbished, written about, displayed, and used in ceremony.Drawing on evidence about swords (from wills, inventories, recordsof armories, and treasuries) in the possession of nobles androyalty, she explores the meanings people attached to them from thecontexts in which they appeared. These environments included otherprestige goods such as tapestries, jewels, and tableware—all usedto construct and display status.Living by the Sword draws on an exciting diversity ofsources from archaeology, military and social history, literature,and material culture studies to inspire students and educated layreaders (including collectors and reenactors) to stretch theboundaries of what they know as the "war and culture" genre.