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The Sacred and the Profane: Understanding the Motives of the First Crusaders

Various explanations have been proposed to explain why tens of thousands of medieval men and women would travel several thousand miles and endure great hardship in order to try to reassert Christian control over the Holy Land.

The last rex crucesignatus, Edward I and the Mongol alliance

This study explores the crusading efforts of Edward I, King of England (1272– 1307), in the last decades of the thirteenth century.

Financing the tribute to the Kingdom of Jerusalem: An urban tax in Damascus

After a brief introduction to legal taxation and Saljuq fiscal policy, the philological problems in the definition of a specific due, al-fissa, illegitimate according to the sharia, will be addressed along with its political function and history. This due was levied in Damascus for the tribute to the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Localizing the Holy Land: The Visual Culture of Crusade in England, circa 1140-1307

Analyzing diverse visual material, from images of the military orders on seals, and monastic maps of Palestine in manuscripts, to royal chambers with paintings of holy warfare and the display of Holy Land relics at court, my project juxtaposes sacred and secular commissions made for crusaders and affiliates of chivalric culture.

How to destroy gods

In the year 1168 a Danish bishop destroyed three pagan gods. The story is told in Gesta Danorum, by Saxo Grammaticus, which has recently been entirely translated into English for the first time.

The Rewriting of History in Amin Maalouf’s The Crusades Through Arab Eyes

I argue that while Maalouf brilliantly deconstructs the Western image of the Crusades as a heroic time by documenting the barbarity of the Crusaders without falling into the pitfall of simply inverting the terms of the dichotomy, the agenda driving his rewriting of this historical period leads him to partially repeat what his book is supposed to undo

‘God helped thee; The eagle got food afresh’: Norse Crusaders and the Pleasure of Killing

The men of the north are often depicted in the Norse sagas as taking great pleasure in killing, even doing it for no good reason

Ten Unusual Things during the First Crusade

The First Crusade was one of the most written about events during the Middle Ages. Many Christian writers, including some who took part in the pilgrimage/campaign, left detailed accounts of what happened. They sometimes also included some more unusual tales, ranging from battles with bears to sitting on a throne when you are not supposed to.

Embracing Death, Celebrating Life: Reflections on the Concept of Martyrdom in the Order of the Knights Templar

Although research on the concept of martyrdom during the era of the Crusades has gained considerable prominence, it has rarely been applied to the Knights Templar. This is surprising, as the Templars were the first military order and paved the way for a new monastic development; they were devoted to warfare only; and they, together with the other military orders, but unlike most Crusaders, established a permanent presence in the hostile environment of the Holy Land, consequently facing the threat of death both regularly and frequently.

A Comparative Analysis of the Concepts of Holy War and the Idealized Topos of Holy Warrior In Medieval Anatolian And European Sources

This thesis focuses on the relations between the idea of holy war and the portrayals of holy warriors in medieval narratives composed by those in the service of power-holders.

Hero or Villain?: Two views on Simon de Montfort, Crusade Leader

There is perhaps no better medieval example of the phase ‘Truth is in the eye of the beholder’ than these two versions of the death of Simon de Montfort, the leader of the crusaders during the Albigensian Crusade.

New Books on the Crusades

Looking for the latest books about the Crusades? Check out our list of ten recently published books…

How far were the Military Orders responsible for the results of the Third Crusade?

In order to assess how responsible the Military Orders were for the results of the Third Crusade this article will be structured by the analysis of three key areas in which they played a part; the siege of Acre, the march to Jaffa and their other military contributions, and their role as councillors to King Richard I of England.

Lasting Falls and Wishful Recoveries: Crusading in the Black Sea Region after the Fall of Constantinople

This paper examines the Black Sea question in the second half of the 15th century, with special emphasis on crusading and religious questions.

Crusading Warfare, Chivalry, and the Enslavement of Women and Children

The subject of the treatment of prisoners taken in crusading warfare, long neglected, has attracted considerable interest in the last fifteen years, but more can still be said, particularly on the ways in which crusaders dealt with their enemies’ women and children, the archetypal non-combatants.

Rethinking the Crusades

Today, the Crusade influence can be seen across the world in novels, movies, sport teams and even restaurants.

The Expansion of Christendom: Crusading in Northern Europe, 1147 – 1415

Between 1147 and 1415 holy wars raged in the lands on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe.

Byzantium and the First Crusade: Three Avenues of Approach

A recurring theme in the historiography of the First Crusade is that of the Byzantine emperor asking Pope Urban to send a small contingent against the Turks and receiving instead vast armies over which he had no control

‘Far is Rome from Lcohlong’: Gaels and Scandinavians on Pilgrimage and Crusade, c. 1000 – c. 1300

To what extent was the Mediterranean terra incognita to the inhabitants of the fringes of northwestern Europe – Gaels and Scandinavians – in the central Middle Ages?

Templars, Hospitallers, and 12th-Century Popes: The Maltese Evidence

To date, scholars have cataloged approximately 1,000 pre-1198 papal documents for Templars and Hospitallers, including deperdita (lost documents, inferred from other, still existing documents), as well as forgeries and falsifications.

The German Crusade of 1197-1198

This article reconsiders the significance of the German Crusade of 1197-8, often dismissed as a very minor episode in the history of the Crusading movement.

The Crusades: A Very Brief History, 1095-1500

In this chapter, I trace the contours of the specific types of violent religious conflict always immanent within the historical structure of medieval war.

Infidel Dogs: Hunting Crusaders with Usama ibn Munqidh

Few works of medieval Arabic literature are as valuable to the student of Islamic perspectives on the Crusades as the Kitab al-I tibar or Book of Learning by Example by the Syrian warrior and man-of-letters Usama ibn Munqidh (1095–1188).

Satiric Vulgarity in Guibert de Nogent’s Gesta Dei per Francos

Attempts to characterize Guibert de Nogent (1053-1121) generally focus upon his Autobiography, not on his history of the First Crusade.

It’s too hot! I’m hungry! : The Challenges of Going on Crusade

The journey to the Holy Land by crusaders was often a perilous trip. However, the biggest fear for many crusaders was that the climate would be dangerously hot for them.

These are some of the findings of Joanna Phillips, who spoke earlier this week at the Institute of Historical Research. Her paper, ‘Marching on their Stomachs? Crusader Marches to the Holy Land in the Twelfth Century’ dealt with issues related to food, health and travel during the crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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