Beatrice’s Last Smile By Mark Gregory Pegg

  • Narrated by: Richard Burnip
  • Length: 21 hrs and 12 mins
  • Release date: 08-15-23

Beatrice’s Last Smile By Mark Gregory Pegg AudioBook summary

A new history of the Middle Ages, revealing how Christianity and Islam evolved out of a shared cultural and religious ferment, and how this shaped the development of the West

The medieval world, stretching from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, from the Asian Steppes to the Straits of Gibraltar and North Africa, from the Nile to the Volga, lasted from the fourth to the sixteenth centuries. This geographical and temporal breadth (including the early decades of European conquest and settlement in the Americas), is much larger and longer than that imagined by medieval historians only half a century ago. New and exciting scholarship from the last three decades continues to shape this expansive vision, powerfully enhancing our insight into what it means to talk about medieval Europe specifically and western culture in general.

In Beatrice’s Last Smile, Mark Pegg offers a synthesis of the most innovative scholarship on the Middle Ages of the last thirty years. Interweaving the history of Muslims with the histories of Christians and Jews, the scholarly history is propelled by a narrative of the relationship of the human and the divine within individuals and their societies between 950 and 1550. A startling consequence of this sweeping new vision of the medieval world, Pegg writes, is an awareness that medieval Latin Christendom was arguably the marginal cultural phenomenon for most of these centuries, tenuously clinging to the Eurasian edge, while the Islamic lands from the Maghreb to the Hindu Kush shaped the experiences of most men, women, and children at least from the seventh century onwards. Thus Beatrice’s Last Smile places Islamic history at the center of the story of Western civilization: Islam derives from the West, Pegg argues, and is as central to the development of the West as is European Christianity.


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