By Zeynep K. Çecen
Master’s Thesis, Bilkent University, 2005
Abstract: This thesis attempts to investigate how eighteenth-century British histories dealt with the theme of the medieval crusade. Since the nineteenth century produced so much more material in historical writing, as well as in imaginative literature, art, travel writing, etc, on the theme, the eighteenth-century interest in the crusades has been little considered.
In this thesis, major histories from the period, even if not exclusively concerned with the crusades or even the middle ages, are examined for their treatment of the theme. The selected histories were remarkable enough in their own period to be mentioned in modern secondary sources, which also indicate that most of them were popularly read.
Even though their interpretations of the crusades suggest that the eighteenth century was not one of any great importance in the history of crusade historiography, this material is by no means without interest. It reflects the religious and political ideologies of the period well. In its treatment of religion, it speaks both of the English confessional ancien régime and the Enlightenment. In its treatment of the heroes of the crusades, it speaks of both proto-nationalism and the cult of chivalry, which appealed to the aristocratic ethos of the ancien régime elite, the governors of the Hanoverian Empire.
Thus, this thesis may be considered to have contributed to crusade historiography, but more importantly, to have offered comment on aspects of the political, religious, social and intellectual life of the century.