The (Attempted) Alliance of Alfonso VIII of Castile and Valdemar II of Denmark: the Infante Fernando’s Marriage Reconsidered

King Alfonso VIII 'the Noble' of Castile

This paper presents the evidence for a lost marriage alliance between Castile and Denmark, contextualizes the marriage within the larger framework of Alfonso VIII’s international relations, and finally, demonstrates that the match can help to underscore the importance of crusading lineages in the affairs of the Castilian royal family.

The Floating State: Trade Embargoes and the Rise of a New Venetian State

Neptune offering gifts to Venice - Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

This paper was given by Georg Christ and examined embargoes and state formation in the late medieval and early modern period in Venice.

Medicine and surgery in the Livre des Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois de Jérusalem

The Assizes of Jerusalem

The Livre des Assises, written in the thirteenth century in Acre, not only provides insights into the practice of medicine and surgery in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, but also suggests that the licensing and regulation of doctors reflected contemporary Islamic practice.

Medieval Perspectives: Jean de Waurin and His Perception of the Turks in Anatolia in the Late Middle Ages

Crusade of Varna

This paper discusses the reasons Wavrin wrote his account of the crusade of Varna and Walerin de Wavrin’s expedition into the Balkans, which was later published within his history of Britain and how he perceived and accordingly presented the Turks to the renaissance readers.

Gambling and Gaming in the Holy Land: Chess, Dice and Other Games in the Sources of the Crusades

medieval chess players

The article demonstrates that, for the Latin chroniclers, the most serious problem of gambling in the context of the crusades was its tendency to distract from the war effort.

Why does Saladin have such good PR in the Medieval West?

Saladin -  by Gustave Doré

The story of Hattin and the Third Crusade is a very good read and it features a splendid duel, indeed almost a tournament, pitting Saladin against Richard the Lionheart. And to this exciting mixture is added a dash of sex

Cannibals and Crusaders

The First Crusade -- 14th century depiction of the Battle of Antioch

Almost all the dozen chroniclers who wrote books about the Crusade in the twenty years following Jerusalem’s capture acknowledge it, sometimes with disbelief or disgust or denial, but always with discomfort.

The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory: the Albigensian Crusade and the Subjugation of the Languedoc

Albigensian Crusade

In March of 1208, Pope Innocent III preached the Albigensian Crusade. The crusade, which covered an area from Agen to Avignon and the Pyrenees to Cahors, initiated a new phase in the already strained relationship between the Catholic Church and the Languedoc.

The Knight, the Hermit, and the Pope: Some Problematic Narratives of Early Crusading Piety

Peter the Hermit - First Crusade

A much more general question, one that extends beyond the geographic confines of the Limousin and the period between 27 December 1095 and 15 August 1096 is why an individual choose to confront any of these difficulties at all. Why did they go?

Redating the East-West Schism: An Examination of the Impact of the Sack of Constantinople in 1204

Conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204

Although 1054 is indeed the date most often found on timelines and in textbooks—and therefore the date most often memorized by students of the medieval period—the majority of modern scholars recognize that the East-West Schism was in fact, as Timothy Ware writes, “something that came about gradually, as the result of a long and complicated process.”

Women, Heresy, and Crusade: Toward a Context for Jacques de Vitry’s Relationship to the Early Beguines


Grundmann‘s search for a founding figure is understandable in light of the problematic nature of Beguine institutional history. Beguine historiography has long struggled with the anomalous lack of clear foundation documents and accounts.

Jews in the First Crusade: Culpability, Martyrdom, and Blood Vengeance

Massacre of the Jews of Metz

In the wake of the massacres of the First Crusade, Jewish survivors struggled to make sense of the unexpected eruption of anti-Semitic violence. Weighing even more heavily upon them was the mass martyrdom of their brethren, who, rather than converting to Christianity or submitting to the Crusaders’ swords, took the lives of their own family members before committing suicide.

MOVIE REVIEW: Order of the Holy Grail (Captain Thunder)

Captain Thunder gets the chalice

This is a review of the Spanish medieval film: Captain Thunder or Order of The Holy Grail (El Capitán Trueno y el Santo Grial)

Two Rabbinic Views of Christianity in the Middle Ages

Picture of Medieval Jews

In the sessions of our section over the past decade, I introduced a significant distinction between two rabbinic attitudes in the Mediterranean countries during the Middle Ages of 12th and 13th centuries as to their view of Christianity.

CONFERENCES: Count Hugh of Troyes and the Crusading Nexus of Champagne

Image of the First Crusade

This is my summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.

Richard Lionheart: Bad King, Bad Crusader?

Richard Lionheart

This paper analyzes the impact of King Richard Lionheart of England during his tenure as leader of the Third Crusade.

The political impact of crusading ideology in Sweden, 1150-1350

King Magnus Eriksson IV of Sweden

Swedish historiography has occasionally touched on the political impact of crusading ideology but the topic cannot be said to have attracted any great deal of research and only in recent decades have certain scholars given it their undivided attention…

Why did the First Crusade succeed while later Crusades failed

Adhémar de Monteil carrying the Holy Lance in one of the battles of the First Crusade

The overwhelming success of the First set off a chain of events that would eventually make it almost impossible for future Crusades to achieve the same levels of success as the first.

BOOK REVIEW: “Defending the City of God” : A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem, by Sharan Newman

Defending the City of God - Sharan Newman

This is my review of Sharan Newman’s latest book, Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem.

Gesta Danorum and the Wendish Crusade

wendish crusade map

The Wendish Crusade from 1147 marks the beginning of ‘Holy Wars’ fought against the Balto-Slavic and Finno-Ugric populations from the Baltic See.

Take a Quiz about the First Crusade

First Crusade quiz

Here is our quiz on the First Crusade. Eight questions to test how well you know some of the key people and events of the 11th century invasion of the Holy Land.

Mass Pilgrimage and the Christological Context of the First Crusade

Bamberg Apocalypse - the New Jerusalem

The importance of Jerusalem as a holy city for Christians serves as a starting point for understanding the motivations of eleventh-century pilgrims.

Crusading as a knightly deed

Battle of Mansura

How far do the works of Jean of Joinville and James I of Aragon depict crusading as an integral part of chivalry in the thirteenth century?

The Evolutions of Arms and Armors during the Crusades: 1095 – 1291 C.E.

The Holy Lance held by Adhémar du Puy before Antioch

The Crusades were a major turning point in history which evoked a rapid evolution of arms and armors that persisted throughout the middle ages.

BOOK REVIEW: A King’s Ransom – Sharon Kay Penman

A King's Ransom - Sharon Kay Penman

A King’s Ransom is the follow up to Lionheart and tells the story of King Richard I’s imprisonment in Germany at the hands of Duke Leopold of Austria and Emperor Heinrich VI and of his battle to win back his Kingdom from his rapacious brother John.

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