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By: Oscar Browning (1837-1923)

Book cover Guelphs and Ghibellines: A Short History of Mediaeval Italy from 1250-1409

The High Middle Ages in Italy, 1250-1409, were a time of incessant strife between rival city-states, some the Ghibelline allies of the Holy Roman Empire, others joining forces with the Guelph armies of the Papacy. Mercenary captains led hired bands of soldiers of fortune. These captains sometimes became great despots, ruling the very cities that had engaged them. Florence began her ascent. The terrible Visconti dominated Milan, and Genoa established a vast trading empire, only to suffer defeat and decline when her fleet was destroyed by Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic.

Book cover Age of the Condottieri: A Short History of Mediaeval Italy from 1409-1530

Italy from 1409 to 1530 is synonymous with the Renaissance, but this was also the age of the condottieri, Italian captains of mercenary companies and multinational armies who fought in the service of city states, monarchs, and the Pope. Some like Ludovico Sforza in Milan seized power and founded dynasties in their own right. The merchant princes of the Medici family reached their apogee in Lorenzo the Magnificent in Florence, but faltered in the Papacy; Leo X proved no match for Martin Luther and Clement VII was powerless to avert the sack of Rome in 1527...

Book cover Modern England 1820-1885

This short survey opens with the accession of that portly spendthrift, King George IV. With British support, Greece becomes independent. The Irish, under O'Connell, carry agitation to the point of rebellion, forcing Parliament to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act. After a painful labor of over a year, the First Reform Bill is enacted in 1832. Queen Victoria comes to the throne in 1837. Faced with an Irish famine, Sir Robert Peel, repeals the Corn Laws. There is a Great Exhibition, a war in the Crimea, and a rebellion in India. Gladstone and Disraeli battle on the floor of the House of Commons, while British imperialism advances in South Africa and in Egypt. - Summary by Pamela Nagami


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