The Æcyr Gréne Campaign 

Reference Material

Bibliography & Bookshelf

I have found the following books to be invaluable when trying to create and maintain a properly Medieval "feel" to the campaign - helping me avoide the more common pitfalls thart trip the average GM trying to create a Medieval/historic or Medieval/fantasy campaign.

I have attempted to categorise the titles below into reasonably logical categories - Medieval Life and Society and Medieval Technology and Warfare. If you want additional information about any specific title, just click it. For even more information, or to purchase it from Amazon, feel free to click on the link that is revealed below the extended description.
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Medieval Life and Society 

Life in a Medieval Village; Francis Gies; 1991

Using the English village of Elton, Francis Gies vividly details the everyday lives of people during the Middle Ages. The development and difficult-to-define concept of the village is traced, and examples of daily occurrences in the village hierarchy, the inhabitants, marriage and family, work, and in the judicial system are given. The decline of the village as a major social system concludes the study.
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Life in a Medieval City; Joseph Gies/Francis Gies; 1981

A broad slice-of-life account of life in a medieval city, this is one of the Joseph and Frances Gies's earlier works, and the style comes off as fresh and exciting. Like the Castle and Village books, various aspects of everyday life are examined topically, with an emphasis on what is common and typical. The focus in this volume is on the French city of Troyes in 1250. This allows the authors to be particular, and to make life come alive for that time and place. As Troyes was the site of two large annual fairs, drawing merchants from all over Europe, aspects of the fairs are described in regards to the economic life within the city. In some cases, such as in describing medieval doctors, schools, or cathedrals for example, the discussion becomes very general, and not focused on Troyes.
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Life in a Medieval Castle; Joseph Gies/Francis Gies; 1979

This book is absolutely the best place to start if you want to learn about medieval castles. It explains in very accessable prose how medieval castles came to be, how they evolved, the roles they served in medieval society, what they were like at their zenith, how military strategy through the middle ages centered around the castle, and how their relevance declined with the changes in technology and the political scene that came with the late medieval period. The Gies's give the reader a very clear picture of what life was like for the people whose lives centered in or around the castle, from the nobility at the top down through the staff needed to keep the castle running to the villagers at the bottom. In particular, it shows the various functions that the castle staff needed to serve in order to keep things running smoothly, and the duties of those responsible for those functions, from chamberlains, chaplains, seneschals and stewards down to pantlers, haywards and reeves. In many cases, the best things are the historical anecdotes used to show a particular aspect of castle life, from the manner in which meals were served to the ways provisions were acquired in an era where money was by no means a common exchange, and how matters of jurisdiction often overlapped in problematic ways (a lord might have jurisdiction over a castle but not over the forest surrounding it which belonged to the king).
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Daily Life in Medieval Times; Joseph Gies/Francis Gies; 1999

This is essentially a repackaging of the three earlier works, but it has had numerous full-color photos, illuminations, maps and other graphics were added. Although it contains no new text, it is beautifully presented, and makes an excellent addition to the library of anyone interested in this field.
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The Knight in History; Joseph Gies/Francis Gies; 1999

It would be pretty hard to find a better concise history of European knighthood than this book by Frances Gies. Her research is very thorough and she understands the Medieval world well. At the same time, she brings her subjects alive and never lets her erudition intrude to interrupt the flow of the story. In little more than 200 pages of well-written text she traces the whole arc of the knight's history, from Charlemagne to the end of the Hundred Years War -- and beyond into the long twilight of knighthood down to the Victorian era. The book addresses the knight's armor and fighting techniques, but only briefly. Combats and battles, too, are treated largely in schematic fashion. The focus is on the knight's character, his views of himself and his world, and his place in his society. There is also a clear summary of the overall development of the patterns of Medieval warfare.
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Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages; Francis Gies; 1989

The Gies's have assembled a well-researched and well-written overview of a lively topic in medieval scholarship, the history of the family. They start from the Roman, Germanic, and Christian backgrounds of medieval family life, cover its recently discovered 11th- and 12th-century transformations, and exploit the rich late medieval examples of family life. Among other topics the authors treat family definition and size, marriage rules and customs, and sexual relations.
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Women in the Middle Ages; Joseph Gies; 1991

This book is a welcome addition to the medieval history books written by these authors. It profiles several prominent women of medieval times, and in so doing, gives us a glimpse of what life was like for all women back then. Well written, not at all dry. Strongly recommended for anyone with an interest in medieval history and/or women's history.
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Making a Living in the Middle Ages; Christopher Dyer; 2003

Dramatic social and economic change during the middle ages altered the lives of the people of Britain in far-reaching ways, from the structure of their families to the ways they made their livings. In this engagingly written economic history, Christopher Dyer provides a vivid new account of British medieval life from the Viking invasions through the Norman conquest to the colonial expansion of the sixteenth century.
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The Year 1000; Danny Danziger/Robert Lacey; 2000

Writing in a breezy, often humorous style, Lacey and Danziger draw on the medieval Julius Work Calendar, a document detailing everyday life around A.D. 1000, to reconstruct the spirit and reality of the era. Light though their touch is, they've done their homework, and they take the reader on a well-documented and enjoyable month-by-month tour through a single year, touching on such matters as religious belief, superstition, medicine, cuisine, agriculture, and politics, as well as contemporary ideas of the self and society.
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The Anglo-Saxons; James Campbell/Eric John/Patrick Wormald; 1991

The book is rich in detail, highly informative and well illustrated. The picture essays throughout the book are great. Part history, part archeology the book tracks down and gives origins and backgrounds of the source materials that the authors use providing some great insight not normally found in other books on the subject.
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Medieval Technology and Warfare 

Cathedral, Forge and Waterwheel; Joseph Gies/Francis Gies; 1994

The Middle Ages have long been viewed as a period of intellectual and scientific stagnation, a long era of backwardness, ignorance, and inertia. However, in their lively history of medieval technology, the Gies team writes of such advances as the heavy plow, the Gothic flying buttress, linen undergarments, water pumps, and the lateen sail. During the medieval millennium, they suggest, a great technological and social revolution occurred "with the disappearance of mass slavery, the shift to water- and wind-power, the introduction of the open-field system of agriculture, and the importation, adaptation, or invention of an array of devices, from the wheelbarrow to double-entry bookkeeping." Many of those inventions or adaptations, brought into Europe from China and the Middle East, have scarcely been improved on today. The medieval technological revolution, the authors conclude, came at a cost: much of Europe was deforested to make room for cropland and to fire kilns and furnaces, and mechanization made obsolete many handicraft skills. Yet, they add, the workers and inventors of the Middle Ages "all transformed the world, on balance very much to the world's advantage."
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Arthur and the Anglo-Saxon Wars; David Nicolle; 1984

The Arthurian Age; the Celtic Twilight; the Dark Ages; the Birth of England; these are the powerfully romantic names often given to one of the most confused yet vital periods in British history. It is an era upon which rival Celtic and English nationalisms frequently fought. It was also a period of settlement, and of the sword. This absorbing volume by David Nicolle transports us to an England shrouded in mystery and beset by savage conflict, a land which played host to one of the most enduring figures of history.
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Saxon, Viking and Norman; Terence Wise; 1988

If there is one thing we can be sure of concerning the Saxons, Vikings and Normans who inhabited the medieval world, it is that they were a good deal more advanced than some writings would have us believe. This fascinating book by Terence Wise explores the history, organisation, clothing, equipment and weapons of Saxon, Viking and Norman peoples, covering wide-ranging topics such as Anglo-Saxon shields, Viking raiding ships and the organisation of Norman armies.The absorbing and readable text is enriched by numerous illustrations and museum photographs with commentaries, plus eight superbly drawn full page colour plates by renowned military artist Gerry Embleton.
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Celtic Warrior; Stephen Allen; 2001

In the 1st century BC, Strabo wrote of the Celts: 'The whole race... is madly fond of war, high-spirited and quick to battle... and on whatever pretext you stir them up, you will have them ready to face danger, even if they have nothing on their side but their own strength and courage'. This book gives an insight into the life of the Celtic warrior, and his experience of battle - on foot, on horseback, and as a charioteer. It also details Celtic society and studies the vital ritual nature of Celtic warfare, from the naked gaesatae to the woad-painted warriors.
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Pictish Warrior AD 297-841; Paul Wagner; 2002

First mentioned by name in AD 297, the Picts inhabited Northern Britain from the end of the 3rd century AD to the 9th. They rose to power in the devastation following Emperor Septimus Severus's repression of the Caledonians in AD 208, and dominated Northern Britain for over 500 years, before vanishing mysteriously. The Picts represent a high point of Celtic civilisation, remaining free and unconquered beyond the borders of the Roman world, and rising to become the first barbarians to form a recognisable 'nation'. This title takes a detailed look at their origins, and examines Pictish heroic and warrior society, covering education and training, appearance and equipment, the status of women, and the experience of battle.
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Anglo-Saxon Thegn: 449-1066 AD; Mark Harrison; 1993

The collapse of Roman rule in Britain was not so much a sudden catastrophe as a long and drawn-out decline. The 'Celtic' Britons retreated gradually to the highland areas of Wales, Cornwall and the south-west of Scotland. Control of the fertile eastern lowlands was lost to warriors of Germanic origin who migrated from the Continent. These Germanic conquerors have become known to history as the 'Anglo-Saxons'. They were to dominate the lowland zone of Britain until their final defeat at Hastings in 1066. This title gives an insight into the everyday life, equipment, dress, battle tactics and life on campaign of the typical Anglo-Saxon warrior of this period - the thegn.
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Viking Hersir: 793-1066 AD; Mark Harrison; 1993

When Norwegian Vikings first raided the European coast in the 8th century AD, their leaders were from the middle ranks of warriors known as hersirs. At this time the hersir was typically an independent landowner or local chieftain with equipment superior to that of his followers. By the end of the 10th century, the independence of the hersir was gone, and he was now a regional servant of the Norwegian king. This book investigates these brutal, mobile warriors, and examines their tactics and psychology in war, dispelling the idea of the Viking raider as simply a killing machine.
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Norman Knight 950-1204 AD; Christopher Gravett; 1991

Throughout the 11th and 12th centuries the Norman knight was possibly the most feared warrior in Western Europe. He was descended originally from the Vikings who had settled in Northern France under their leader Rollo in or around 911 at the behest of Charles the Simple and throughout the following centuries they remembered and built on their warlike reputation. This book shows how their military prowess was renowned throughout the known world and resulted in Normans conquering Sicily in 1060 and England in 1066, as well as participating in many important battles in Italy and playing a major part in the First Crusade.
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