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New Medieval Books: Rewriting the First Crusade

Rewriting the First Crusade: Epistolary Culture in the Middle Ages

By Thomas W. Smith

The Boydell Press
ISBN: 978 1 83765 175 7

This book focuses on letters that were written before, during, and just after the First Crusade. The analysis includes understanding which letters were genuine and which were fictitious.


Having established which letters (and parts of letters) are authentic and which are coinfected, I then consider the second question that the material poses: if a section of the corpus is fictitious, how can we use these sources in a way that illuminates new aspects of medieval engagement with the crusading movement, regardless of the fact that they do not stem directly from the original actors of the crusade in the East? The invented letters should not be dismissed as simple forgeries and thrown onto the spoil heap of this textual excavation.


Who is this book for?

Historians of the Crusades will definitely want to read this book, as it can be quite influential in narrating the First Crusade. Other medieval historians who are interested in understanding sources such as letters should also find this an intriguing read.

The author

Thomas W. Smith is Keeper of the Scholars and Head of Oxbridge (Arts and Humanities) at Rugby School. A historian of the Crusades and the Papacy, Thomas has penned numerous books and articles. You can learn more about him through his personal website.


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