Medieval understanding of the soul and the body meant that a saintly life was a life of physical restrictions. Katherine Harvey explores the extreme suffering bishops put themselves through, from weeping and celibacy to starvation and, sometimes, death.
By no stretch of the imagination was Richard III a saint, but the furore that sprung up around his discovery and reburial was strongly reminiscent of a medieval cult of sainthood.
How much are actions – especially extreme ones – the result of impersonal historical forces and how much are they dependent upon the impulses of individual actors?
Charles Freeman, surprised by the lack of research into one of the great unsolved mysteries, reveals for the first time his groundbreaking examination into the creation of the venerated object.