Holy Roman Empire: power politics papacy

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Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, famously said that ‘the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman nor an Empire’. Taken at face value this is probably right. If we dig a little deeper, however, we may discover how and why, this entity came to be so named.

The foundation of the Holy Roman Empire is traditionally dated from the coronation of Otto the Great in AD 962. However, the reign of Charles I, otherwise known as ‘the Great’ or Charlemagne, who was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day AD 800, is usually considered to be the first Emperor of the Empire.

New publication

cropped shield copy 2A third publication entitled The Holy Roman Empire: power politics papacy has just been published in ebook format on Amazon.

This book covers the history of the Empire from the coronation of Charlemagne in AD800 through to its dissolution in AD1806 following the invasion of Napoleon. It was an Empire that had no fixed boundaries and yet at certain periods its territories stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Balkans and under Charles V also included parts of South America.

The book covers the complex relationship between Emperor and Pope, reference to the European Reformation and two chapters on the Habsburg dynasty.  The book includes some useful maps and family trees and being part of the In Brief Series: Books for Busy People, it should appeal to the general reader who is seeking a accessible introduction to a complex yet fascinating European power.

Available at Amazon UK as an ebook Browse

Latest News: Iran’s Nuclear Weapons

The following text formed the Epilogue of my book From the Medes to the Mullahs: a History of Iran.

‘On the 15th June 2013 Hassan Rouhani was democratically elected President of Iran, so replacing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rouhani, who is considered to be a ‘moderate’ compared to his predecessor, is a cleric who studied at the famous Qom seminary and later at Glasgow Caledonian University. He was previously Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament and also led the Iranian team in negotiations with the UK, France and Germany on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Lecture News

Speaking on cruise ships has given me an opportunity to visit many parts of the world. The ships that I travelled on were relatively small, with a maximum about of 500 passengers. It was ‘destination cruising’ where passengers were interested in the cruise itinerary and the places to be visited. The point of having a lecturer on board was to enhance the passengers’ experience by offering information on the history and culture of the area. This ‘cruise lecturing’ role is reflected in the lecture titles that you will see here, for example, the Ottoman or the Mughal Empires.

I’m now moving away from cruise lecturing in order to do more in the UK. I think that many of these titles will still be of interest to UK audiences but I expect, in time, that other titles will be added that reflect a more European, or local theme.

Book News

The first two books, From the Medes to the Mullahs; a history of Iran, and Paul of Tarsus; a First Century Radical are both now available at Amazon in paperback form. The fact that the paperback versions are selling quite well could be down to two things; either that many people still prefer to hold a book rather than read electronically, or that they don’t possess an e-Reader. When I was last on a ship one or two of the passengers said that they did have an e-Reader but they didn’t know how to buy the book through Amazon. The good news is that we have the choice.

I’m now working on the third book The Holy Roman Empire; Power, Politics and the Papacy, which I hope will be out at the beginning of next year.

lecture-postBooks by Canon Dr Anne Davison
Accredited Lecturer, National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS)
The following books are the outcome of a series of lectures and were written with encouragement from those who heard these lectures, either on cruise ships, or at other UK venues.
They form part of the In Brief Series: Books for Busy People and are aimed at the general reader who is looking for a short, accessible overview rather than a heavy academic tome. They are available in both e-book and paper back form at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Smashwords. Alternatively you can order through me by using the Contact button above.

From the Medes to the Mullahs: a History of Iran


This book offers an accessible, but comprehensive, introduction to the long and rich history of Iran. Starting around 600 BCE it traces the main historical events, finishing with the modern Islamic Republic of Iran. It covers the Islamic conquest of Persia and the Sunni-Shi’a schism.

It would be of particular interest to the non-academic person who wants to understand a country that is frequently misunderstood yet central to issues relating to the Middle East today.

Paul of Tarsus: a First Century Radical

paul of tarsus

This book looks at the radical Jew of the First Century who challenged the status quo.

Including useful maps it should appeal to the general reader who wants to learn about the man from Tarsus from a historical perspective rather than the more usual avenue, through Scripture.

lecture-postSample Lectures by Canon Dr Anne Davison
Accredited Lecturer, National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS)
Talks are available with or without Powerpoint and can be tailored to suit the particular needs of the audience.  It is also possible to cover some of these topics in greater depth in the form of a Study Day.  If you would like to discuss the possibility of a one off talk or a Study Day please get in touch using the Contact Form.

Paul of Tarsus: a First Century Radical


It is often said that without Paul the Apostle there would have been no Christian Church.

Certainly it was Paul who took the message of Christ beyond the region of Palestine to the Gentiles of Asia Minor and it was Paul who established the first Churches across Anatolia and beyond into the Greek Peninsula. It is arguable that if it had not been for Paul, the Church would not have become the worldwide Faith that it is today.

From the Sands of Saudi Arabia to the Glory of the Gulf: a History of Islam

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Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity and large Muslim communities now live in Europe and North America.

 We frequently hear of Christian/Muslim tensions and even a ‘clash of civilisations’.

Jerusalem, the Eternal City

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Most people, even if they have never visited Jerusalem, will probably have some sort of image of the city in their minds.

 Certainly this is likely to be the case for anyone from a Jewish, Christian or Muslim background.   This is because for all three Faiths, often referred to as the Abrahamic Faiths, Jerusalem is a sacred city. But for millennia the city has been a centre of conflict, right up until the present day.

The Rise and Fall of the Byzantine Empire

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In the fourth century AD the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great decided to make the Greek city of Byzantion, which stood on the Bosphorus, his new capital city and he named it Constantinople.


The Path of the Buddha

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Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, was born in Northern India sometime between 600 and 400 BCE.

He was born into a Hindu family but felt a strong inner dissatisfaction that eventually led him to follow the life of the ascetic and contemplative.

The Many Faces of Hinduism

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Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world and probably the most diverse.

It manifests itself in hundreds of different forms with as many different deities and incarnations.