Nine hundred years ago, European Christians waged a series of holy wars ( The crusaders ) against the Muslim world, fighting for control of the Holy Land, an area sacred to both religions. These bloody battles, which lasted for two centuries, rewrote the history of Islam and the West. In the course of this monumental expedition, hundreds of thousands of crusaders crossed the known world to conquer and defend isolated territories centered on the holy city of Jerusalem.
The crusaders themselves have been portrayed both as land-hungry barbarians and as pilgrim soldiers inspired by fervent piety, while their Muslim rivals have been depicted as vicious and tyrannical oppressors, fervent fanatics, or pious exemplars of honor and mercy.
Medieval crusades have also been used to make ambiguous connections between recent events and the distant past and, through the dubious technique of historical parallelism, as a mirror of the modern world. Mean while, the 20th and 21stcenturies have seen a deepening tendency in parts of the Muslim world to equate contemporary political and religious struggles with the holy wars witnessed nine centuries ago.
About the Book
This book explores the history of the Crusades from both Christian and Muslim perspectives, with a particular focus on the struggle for control of the Holy Land, and examines how medieval contemporaries experienced and remembered the Crusades.
It will also examine how medieval contemporaries experienced and remembered the Crusades. The written sources (primary sources) of the Middle Ages are surprisingly rich, including chronicles, letters, legal documents, poems, and songs, recorded in languages as diverse as Latin, Old French, Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian, Syriac, and Greek.
Beyond these texts, the study of material remains, from imposing castles to delicate manuscript art to minuscule coins, sheds new light on the Crusader period. Throughout, original research reflects the major developments in modern scholarship in this field over the past 50 years.