This modern English translation of all the surviving literary compositions ascribed to Liudprand, the bishop of Cremona from 962 to 972, offers unrivaled insight into society and culture in western Europe during the ""iron century."" Since Liudprand enjoyed the favor of the Saxon Roman emperor Otto the Great, and traveled to Constantinople more than once on official business, his narratives also reveal European attitudes toward the Byzantine Empire and the culture of its refined capital city. No other tenth-century writer had such privileged access to the high spheres of power, or such acerbic wit and willingness to articulate critiques of the doings of powerful people. Liudprand's historical texts (the ""Antapodosis"" on European events in the first half of the 900s, and his ""Historia Ottonis"" on the rise to power of Otto the Great) provide a unique view of the recent past against a genuinely European backdrop, unusual in a time of localized cultural horizons. Liudprand's famous satirical description of his misadventures as Ottonian legate at the Byzantine court in 968 is a vital source of information on Byzantine ritual and diplomatic process, as well as a classic of medieval intercultural encounter. This collection of Liudprand's works also includes his recently discovered Easter sermon, a rare early document of Jewish-Christian intellectual polemic. Readers interested in medieval European culture, the history of diplomacy, Italian and German medieval history, and the history of Byzantium will find this collection of translated texts rewarding. A full introduction and extensive notes help readers to place Liudprand's writings in context.
Paolo Squatriti, associate professor of history and Romance languages and literatures at the University of Michigan, is author of Water and Society in Early Medieval Italy AD 400-1000 and editor of Natures Past: The Environment and Human History.