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Charles Oman (1) (1860–1946)

Forfatter af Castles: An Illustrated Guide to 80 Castles of England and Wales

For andre forfattere med navnet Charles Oman, se skeln forfatterne siden.

Charles Oman (1) has been aliased into C. W. Oman.

21+ Works 729 Members 4 Reviews


Værker af Charles Oman

Works have been aliased into C. W. Oman.

The Dark Ages 476-918 A.D. (1919) 126 eksemplarer
The Art of War in the Middle Ages (1898) 33 eksemplarer
Adventures with the Connaught Rangers, 1809-1814 (1847) — Redaktør — 17 eksemplarer
The Dark Ages - Book I of III (2013) 11 eksemplarer
The Dark Ages - Book II of III (2013) 10 eksemplarer
A History of England (1909) 8 eksemplarer
History of the Byzantine Empire (2018) 7 eksemplarer
Things I Have Seen (1933) 4 eksemplarer

Associated Works

Works have been aliased into C. W. Oman.

Men at War: The Best War Stories of All Time (1942) — Bidragyder — 288 eksemplarer

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For a long time, this was the definitive work on European Warfare in the period. It is still a worthy stop on the route of specialist study.
DinadansFriend | Sep 22, 2019 |
Great adventure, a bit bloodier than other British memoirs I've read so far. Vivid descriptions of Cuidad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and Salamanca. Wellington again comes across well as general, but of poor character.
ShaneTierney | Jun 25, 2012 |
In his history of Europe, Norman Davies mentioned that Sir Charles Oman covered a year every 1.16 pages in his history of the Dark Ages. This seemed a reasonable amount (some years are of no importance) and I knew Sir Charles by reputation from some other works. A straight political history of an era that has been poorly documented is hard to find-especially in our day, and I’ve enjoyed my forays into the Victorians, so off I went. Oman does not disappoint. The Dark Ages is an excellent introduction to the events of the Dark Ages on the Continent in Southern and Western Europe. Covering the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West and the progress of its successor states, Oman traces the rise of Europe from the ashes of the Greco-Roman world. This is done without the benefit of modern archeology, which limits its scope to those areas we have documentation for. The book is organized in parallel chronological chapters each covering the various regions, limited to Western Europe (minus the British Isles) and the Balkans and Asia Minor.

As with any historian, Oman has his heroes and villains. The figure which emerges the most clearly and openly as a hero is Theodoric, King of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy. Most assuredly, Theodoric was an effective administrator, capable general and relatively tolerant king. However, there are four huge stains on his record. First is the execution of Odoacer, the barbarian king of Italy and usurper of Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman Emperor. Second, is the execution of the great Boethius on suspicion of conspiracy with the Emperor Justin (and possibly plotting to restore the Roman Republic!) Third, the execution of Boethius’ father-in-law Symmachus for no reason other than that he disliked the execution of his son-in-law. Fourth is his imprisonment of Pope John I for political and religious reasons. One of the groups Oman is sympathetic to throughout the work is the Arians, and most of Theodoric’s problems stem from his attachment to this heresy. The native population of Italy was overwhelmingly Catholic and the Ostrogoths’ tenacious attachment to Arianism led to enormous problems. These were exacerbated by the relatively intact governmental, religious and social structure of Italy in his reign, where the Roman civil service and religious hierarchy were staffed with Catholic Romans. Had Theodoric anticipated the example of Henry IV and converted, i.e. “Rome is well worth a Mass”, the Ostrogoths may have remained in power like the Franks in Gaul. Without the cooperation of the populace, the conquest of Italy by the Byzantines would have been far more difficult. A united Italy of Romans and Ostrogoths would have been better able to withstand this and the Lombard onslaught, perhaps even avoiding the later fragmentation of the peninsula. Only a leader of Theodoric’s standing and ability could have pulled this off. In light of the later Visigothic experience, it could have been done. Oman doesn’t address this possibility.

Other heroes are the Iconoclastic Byzantine Emperors Leo III and Constantine V. Again, both of these men were extremely capable generals (Leo saved Constantinople) and effective administrators, but their religious zealotry clouded their reigns. Without the waste of resources and fraying of internal cohesion that the campaign against orthodox iconodules caused, the Byzantine revival of the 9th Century could have been anticipated by a century. I haven’t been able to discover Oman’s denomination, but I suspect that he was some type of Calvinist and this inclined him towards this sympathy with the iconoclasts. Iconodules are described as grossly superstitious, and previous effective uses of icons by the Emperor Heraclius as propogandic talismans are downplayed.

The villains are primarily Franks. Clovis (or Clodovech. Oman uses the less familiar Frankish version of his and other Franks names), while hailed as a unifier and effective general is decried as a murder and liar. I don’t know if this animus against the Franks is part of some anti-French feeling in Oman’s works (he wrote THE history of the Pennisular War and anti-French feelings were running high in the 1890s), but it distracts from the work. The more effective Frankish kings and mayors of the palace, like Clovis and Charles Martel were no more ruthless than the Ostrogothic kings had been, and had a tougher time, starting with a less developed region than Italy or Asia Minor. The later Merovingians were non entities, but the glory days of the House of Arnulf and Charlemagne certainly made up for this.

The work loses some steam in the aftermath of the reign of Charlemagne. This is probably inevitable, given the nature of the time-Vikings pressing from the North, Muslims from the South, and Magyars from the East. The Byzantine Empire suffered under a series of non-descript emperors at the same time. Christendom’s brightest light and most inspiring story at the time was Alfred the Great in Wessex, outside the scope of this work.

Aside from the above criticisms, I think that this is an excellent work, despite its age, and I don’t want the minor criticisms above to get in the way of anyone who might like to read this. One can get lost easily in the sea of Thrasamunds and Geilamirs and other Tolkienesque names of the period and Oman does an excellent job navigating them. If you want the basic story of the time (without the great deal of insight we have added since from archeology, especially on the activities of the pre-literate Germanic peoples and the Vikings), this is an excellent introduction.
… (mere)
2 stem
Wolcott37 | 1 anden anmeldelse | Nov 21, 2010 |

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