New Books on the Crusades
Looking for the latest books about the Crusades? Check out our list of ten recently published books…
The Crusades: A Beginner’s Guide, by Andrew Jotischky
In 1095 Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade to recover Jerusalem from the Seljuq Turks. Tens of thousands of people joined his cause, making it the single largest event of the Middle Ages. The conflict would rage for over 200 years, transforming Christian and Islamic relations forever.
Andrew Jotischky takes readers through the key events, focussing on the experience of crusading, from both sides. Featuring textboxes with fascinating details on the key sites, figures and battles, this essential primer asks all the crucial questions: What were the motivations of the crusaders? What was it like to be a crusader or to live in a crusading society? And how do these events, nearly a thousand years ago, still shape the politics of today?
Sacred plunder : Venice and the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, by David M. Perry
In Sacred Plunder, David Perry argues that plundered relics, and narratives about them, played a central role in shaping the memorial legacy of the Fourth Crusade and the development of Venice’s civic identity in the thirteenth century. After the Fourth Crusade ended in 1204, the disputes over the memory and meaning of the conquest began. Many crusaders faced accusations of impiety, sacrilege, violence, and theft. In their own defense, they produced hagiographical narratives about the movement of relics—a medieval genre called translatio—that restated their own versions of events and shaped the memory of the crusade. The recipients of relics commissioned these unique texts in order to exempt both the objects and the people involved with their theft from broader scrutiny or criticism. Perry further demonstrates how these narratives became a focal point for cultural transformation and an argument for the creation of the new Venetian empire as the city moved from an era of mercantile expansion to one of imperial conquest in the thirteenth century.
The Race for Paradise: An Islamic History of the Crusades, by Paul M. Cobb
In 1099, when the first Frankish invaders arrived before the walls of Jerusalem, they had carved out a Christian European presence in the Islamic world that endured for centuries, bolstered by subsequent waves of new crusaders and pilgrims. The story of how this group of warriors, driven by faith, greed, and wanderlust, created new Christian-ruled states in parts of the Middle East is one of the best-known in history. Yet it offers not even half of the story, for it is based almost exclusively on Western sources and overlooks entirely the perspective of the crusaded. How did medieval Muslims perceive what happened?
In The Race for Paradise, Paul M. Cobb offers a new history of the confrontations between Muslims and Franks we now call the “Crusades,” one that emphasizes the diversity of Muslim experiences of the European holy war. There is more to the story than Jerusalem, the Templars, Saladin, and the Assassins. Cobb considers the Arab perspective on all shores of the Muslim Mediterranean, from Spain to Syria. In the process, he shows that this is not a straightforward story of warriors and kings clashing in the Holy Land, but a more complicated tale of border-crossers and turncoats; of embassies and merchants; of scholars and spies, all of them seeking to manage a new threat from the barbarian fringes of their ordered world. When seen from the perspective of medieval Muslims, the Crusades emerge as something altogether different from the high-flying rhetoric of the European chronicles: as a cultural encounter to ponder, a diplomatic chess-game to be mastered, a commercial opportunity to be seized, and as so often happened, a political challenge to be exploited by ambitious rulers making canny use of the language of jihad.
Jerusalem the Golden: The Origins and Impact of the First Crusade, edited by Susan Edgington and Luis García-Guijarro
This collection brings together new work by an international cast of distinguished scholars, who explore areas as diverse as the military and ecclesiastical aspects of the First Crusade; its representation in contemporary sculpture; and the way it has been portrayed in modern fiction and film. Further contributions analyse and compare primary sources and historiography, and yet others consider the crusade in its Mediterranean context, which is sometimes overlooked. These definitive studies of established areas of research are augmented by the ground-breaking work of a number of early-career academics who are working in relatively new areas: the ‘emotional language’ used in the narrative sources; the memorialization of the crusades; and the use of literary sources for crusade studies: notably there are complementary papers on the heroes and villains depicted in the Old French poetic accounts of the First Crusade. In these twenty-one essays every historian and interested reader of medieval history will find illumination and food for thought.
A Chronology of the Crusades, by Timothy Venning
A Chronology of the Crusades provides a day-by-day development of the Crusading movement, the Crusades and the states created by them through the medieval period. Beginning in the run-up to the First Crusade in 1095, to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and ending with the Turkish attack on Belgrade in 1456, this reference is a comprehensive guide to the events of each Crusade, concentrating on the Near East, but also those Christian expeditions sanctioned by the Papacy as ‘Crusades’ in the medieval era. As well as clashes between Christians and Muslims in the Latin States, Timothy Venning also chronicles the Albigensian Crusade, clashes in Anatolia and the Balkans and the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula. Both detailed and accessible, this chronology draws together material from contemporary Latin/Frankish, Byzantine and Arab/Muslim sources with assessment and explanation to produce a readable narrative which gives students an in-depth overview of one of the most enduringly fascinating periods in medieval history.
Narrating the Crusades: Loss and Recovery in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature, by Lee Manion
In Narrating the Crusades, Lee Manion examines crusading’s narrative-generating power as it is reflected in English literature from c.1300 to 1604. By synthesizing key features of crusade discourse into one paradigm, this book identifies and analyzes the kinds of stories crusading produced in England, uncovering new evidence for literary and historical research as well as genre studies. Surveying medieval romances including Richard Cœur de Lion, Sir Isumbras, Octavian, and The Sowdone of Babylone alongside historical practices, chronicles, and treatises, this study shows how different forms of crusading literature address cultural concerns about collective and private action. These insights extend to early modern writing, including Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, and Shakespeare’s Othello, providing a richer understanding of how crusading’s narrative shaped the beginning of the modern era. This first full-length examination of English crusading literature will be an essential resource for the study of crusading in literary and historical contexts.
Pope Gregory X and the Crusades, by Philip B. Baldwin
Pope Gregory X stood at the very centre of the crusading movement in the later thirteenth century. An able diplomat, he showed himself adept at navigating the political waters of Europe and the Mediterranean World. His crusade gained the participation of virtually all of the leaders of Western Europe, and even the Byzantine emperor and the Ilkhan of the Mongols: crucial if his crusade were to have a chance of defeating the very formidable and successful Mamluk Sultan Baybars. However, Gregory’s premature death put paid to his crusade plans. Perhaps because of this, Gregory has hitherto been somewhat neglected by historians – a gap which this book aims to fill. It provides a full account of his contribution to the Crusade, demonstrating that he left a lasting mark on how crusading would operate in the years to come.
Muslims and Crusaders Christianity’s Wars in the Middle East, 1095-1382, from the Islamic Sources, by Niall Christie
Muslims and Crusaders supplements and counterbalances the numerous books that tell the story of the crusading period from the European point of view, enabling readers to achieve a broader and more complete perspective on the period. It presents the Crusades from the perspective of those against whom they were waged, the Muslim peoples of the Levant. The book introduces the reader to the most significant issues that affected their responses to the European crusaders, and their descendants who would go on to live in the Latin Christian states that were created in the region.
This book combines chronological narrative, discussion of important areas of scholarly enquiry and evidence from primary sources to give a well-rounded survey of the period. It considers not only the military meetings between Muslims and the Crusaders, but also the personal, political, diplomatic and trade interactions that took place between Muslims and Franks away from the battlefield. Through the use of a wide range of translated primary source documents, including chronicles, dynastic histories, religious and legal texts and poetry, the people of the time are able to speak to us in their own voices.
Deeds Done Beyond the Sea Essays on William of Tyre, Cyprus and the Military Orders presented to Peter Edbury, edited by Susan Edgington and Helen Nicholson
This volume celebrates Peter Edbury’s career by bringing together seventeen essays by colleagues, former students and friends which focus on three of his major research interests: the great historian of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, William of Tyre, and his Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum and its continuations; medieval Cyprus, in particular under the Lusignans; and the Military Orders in the Middle Ages.
All based on original research, the contributions to this volume include new work on manuscripts, ranging from a Hospitaller rental document of the twelfth century to a seventeenth-century manuscript of Cypriot interest; studies of language and terminology in William of Tyre’s chronicle and its continuations; thematic surveys; legal and commercial investigations pertaining to Cyprus; aspects of memorialization, and biographical studies. These contributions are bracketed by a foreword written by Peter Edbury’s PhD supervisor, Jonathan Riley-Smith, and an appreciation of Peter’s own publications by Christopher Tyerman.
The Crusade Indulgence: Spiritual Rewards and the Theology of the Crusades, c. 1095-1216, by Ane L. Bysted
What defined the crusades in contrast to other wars was the opportunity for warriors to win a spiritual reward, the indulgence. In The Crusade Indulgence. Spiritual Rewards and the Theology of the Crusades, c. 1095-1216 Ane L. Bysted examines the theological and institutional development of the indulgence from the proclamation of the First Crusade to Pope Innocent III.
This first comprehensive study of crusade indulgences in more than a hundred years challenges some earlier interpretations and demonstrates how theologians, popes, and crusade preachers in the 12th century formed the concept of indulgences and argued that fighting for Christ and the Church was meritorious in the sight of God and thus worthy of a spiritual reward proclaimed by the Church.
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