Conrad III and the Second Crusade in the Byzantine Empire and Anatolia, 1147

Conrad III and the Second Crusade in the Byzantine Empire and Anatolia, 1147

By Jason T. Roche

PhD Dissertation, University of St Andrews, 2008

Abstract: This thesis aims to revise the established history of the passage of the Second Crusade through the Byzantine Empire and Anatolia in 1147. In particular, it seeks to readdress the ill-fated advance of the army nominally headed by King Conrad III Staufen of Germany towards Ikonion, the fledging Seljuk capital of Rum.

The work consists of four mutually supportive parts. Part I serves to introduce the thesis, the historiographical trends of the current scholarship, and the Byzantine notion of the Latin ‘barbarian’, a stock, literary representation of the non-Greek other which distorts the Greek textual evidence.

Part II analyses the source portrayal of particular incidents as the army marched through the Byzantine Empire, provides analyses of those events based on new approaches to interpreting the sources and a consideration of the army’s logistical arrangements, and argues that the traditional historiography has been and continues to be subject to textual misrepresentation.

An understanding of the topology of Anatolia is required to appreciate why the army failed to reach Ikonion. Part III therefore consists of chapters devoted to the geography of Anatolia, the form, function and the population density of the typical twelfth-century town, the country’s changeable medieval geopolitical landscape, and the settlement patterns and the way of life of western Anatolia’s pastoral-nomadic warriors.

Part IV revisits the Latin, Syriac and Greek sources which constitute the written history of the crusade in Anatolia, analyses the concerns of the army’s executive decision makers within geopolitical, logistical, topographical and tactical frameworks, and offers a reconsideration of the established location of where the army ceased to advance on Ikonion, and a new version of the circumstances which led to the decision to retreat.

Click here to read/download this thesis (PDF file)


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