Simon Barton (1962-2017)
Earlier this week I learned about the unexpected death of Simon Barton, one of the leading historians of medieval Spain. A Professor of History at the University of Central Florida (and before that at the University of Exeter), Simon has produced a great deal of fine research about the political, military and social history of Iberia. By all accounts he was also an excellent teacher and supervisor who deeply cared for his students and colleagues.
While I don’t have a lot of personal experience with Professor Barton, we have communicated over the years and he was extremely helpful to me. Back when I created the De Re Militari website over 15 years ago he was gracious enough to allow us to republish two of his articles: From Tyrants to Soldiers of Christ: the nobility of twelfth-century Leon-Castile and the struggle against Islam and A Forgotten Crusade: Alfonso VII of Leon-Castile and the Campaign for Jaen (1148).
When I decided to create an issue of Medieval Warfare magazine about El Cid, Simon was the first person I reached out to, and again he was excited to help out. He offered to write about several topics, and we choose a piece examining Rodrigo Diaz’ rule over Valencia. That article - A man "raised up by God": El Cid and the Principality of Valencia - is part of the issue, and I couldn’t be more happier with what he contributed. Thank you Simon!
If you want to read more of Simon’s research, and learn why he is such a respected and influential scholar, check out any of these books:
Conquerors, brides, and concubines : interfaith relations and social power in medieval Iberia
The aristocracy in twelfth-century León and Castile
A history of Spain
The world of El Cid : chronicles of the Spanish reconquest (with Richard Fletcher)
Cross, crescent and conversion : studies on medieval Spain and Christendom in memory of Richard Fletcher (edited with Peter Linehan)
A remembrance of Simon Barton (1962-2017), a generous, kind, and gracious colleague. Simon visited @USouthFlorida with other @ExeterMedieval colleagues and arranged my visit to Exeter. He is and will be deeply missed. pic.twitter.com/ga1nvk2QUL
— DEmiliopics (@DEmiliopics) December 19, 2017
A great scholar and a gracious man. So sad. https://t.co/sxL2eX6FZR
— Miri Rubin (@MiriERubin) December 18, 2017
In the end, a painful and poignant tribute to a dear friend, who has left us all too soon. https://t.co/6GHcJov3GZ
— Simon Doubleday (@SimonDoubleday) December 17, 2017
A dark day indeed. One of the kindest and most thoughtful people I've had the pleasure to work with. RIP Simon, you shall be sorely missed. https://t.co/v7xKgscwSu
— Levi Roach (@DrLRoach) December 17, 2017