The German Crusade of 1197-1198

Reconquest of Beirut, Alexandre Hesse, 1842

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

crusaders capture antioch - The Hague, KB, KA 20 fol. 255r

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

Battle between the Turks and the Crusaders  - The Hague, KB, KA 20 fol. 254v

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

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

Crusaders arrive at Constantinople

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.

Islamophobia, the First Crusade and the Expansion of Christendom to Islamic World

first crusade battle

Through the description of the First Crusade, mostly from the Western sources, this paper is intended to show that it was the Pope who systematically sown the seeds of Islamophobia among Western Christians so that they will realise his vision of expanding his Imperial Christendom to the Islamic World.

Access is Power: Financing the Second Crusade in France

12th century Charter France - possibly related to the Second Crusade

I will suggest an explanation for why historians have been slow to use land charters as a primary source for the history of the crusades.

‘De civitatis utriusque, terrenae scilicet et caelestis’: Foundation Narratives and the Epic Portrayal of the First Crusade

Siege of Antioch - from a 15th-century miniature painting.

My summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical research on the accounts of Antioch and Jerusalem during the First Crusade.

Strange Bedfellows : The Rise of the Military Religious Orders in the Twelfth Century

Military and religious life in the Middle Ages and at the period of the Renaissance (1870)

Although they were devout members of a pacifist religion, they were also its dominant military force. By the most basic tenants of Christianity, the Military Orders should never have existed.

Book Review: Knight of Jerusalem: a Biographical Novel of Balian d’Ibelin

Knight of Jerusalem

Knight of Jerusalem is not simply an academic work of history dressed up as fiction – it is a well-plotted, tightly written tale that vividly depicts the life and times of an intrinsically interesting historical figure.

What Remains: Women, Relics and Remembrance in the Aftermath of the Fourth Crusade

The Fourth Crusade - the capture of Constantinople

After the fall of Constantinople to the Latin Crusaders in 1204 hundreds of relics were carried into the West as diplomatic gifts, memorabilia and tokens of victory. Yet many relics were alsosent privately between male crusaders and their spouses and female kin.

Anatomy of a Crusade: The De Expugnatione Lyxbonensi and the Lisbon Crusade of 1147

The Conquest of Lisbon painting by Alfredo Roque Gameiro (1917)

This paper will argue that the author crafted the speeches largely after the fact, and that Raol was able to graft ecclesiastical crusade theory onto the siege. In effect, he was able to marry a military success to the growing body of crusade propaganda.

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.”

The Baltic Frontier: Why were there no Norwegian crusades in the Baltic?

Early Modern Scandinavia

In this paper I will focus on some of the reasons why Norwegian interests in the 12th and 13th century differed from that of the other Scandinavian and German ambitions in the Baltic region.

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 medieval Europe, Jewish writers struggled to make sense of Crusaders’ violence and the Jewish response. Zohar Atkins argues that Jews conceived of theology as a weapon.

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