Ian Mortimer

In describing the violent culture of the fifth and sixth centuries, the term ‘Dark Ages’ has both meaning and resonance.

Speculation about the illegitimacy of England’s royal lines has been encouraged by the publication of the DNA of the last Yorkist king. But, argues Ian Mortimer, it is history rather than science that should lead the debate.

Academic history is crucial to the health of the discipline, but there are many other ways of engaging with the past.

Edward III’s 700th anniversary is a suitable moment to celebrate one of England’s greatest monarchs, says Ian Mortimer.

The historian’s desire for certainty is hard to square with the fragility of sources and their constant reworking by the profession. Casting a cold eye on the remaining evidence relating to the deaths of Edward II and Richard II, Ian Mortimer plots a way forward for his discipline.

Battle of Arnemuiden

By challenging the very idea of a continuous Anglo-French medieval war Ian Mortimer reveals the remarkable complexities of a series of distinct conflicts that began with a prophecy and ended with an English dynasty seeking the approval of God.

Ian Mortimer, who has been an archivist and a poet before becoming a medieval historian and biographer, describes why a blend of empathy and evidence is the key to getting the most out of history.

Battle of Poitiers (miniature of Froissart)

The English triumph at Poitiers in September 1356 was the dramatic culmination of Edward III’s visionary approach to waging war, the consequences of which are still with us today.

Ian Mortimer takes issue with those who put limits on historians’ questionings of the past.