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The First Crusade: "The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres" and Other Source Materials (The Middle Ages Series) + Chronicles of the Crusades (Penguin Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Edward Peters is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include The Magician, the Witch, and the Law; The First Crusade;Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe; and, with Alan C. Kors, Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History, all available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Middle Ages Series
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press; Second Edition edition (June 18, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812216563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812216561
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By With Favourable Winds on March 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'd like to offer a counterpoint to the rather harsh reviews of this book offered elsewhere on Amazon. While the other reviewers' points about the limited scope of Peters's collection and his choice of organization have some basis, they do not significantly weaken his achievement.

The introduction is worth the cost of the book itself; in it, Peters gives an excellent summary of the continent-wide debate preceding the First Crusade about killing in a Christian context: in a surprisingly short period, a new idea arose that actually encouraged Christian knights to go on crusade. While killing was normally wrong, avenging the deaths of other Christians and meting out God's justice on earth came to be seen as positively redeeming for Christian soldiers; one result of this was the birth of a new epoch in the West, the Crusades. I cannot think of a better way to characterize the ethos of the half-millennium from 1095 to 1565 (the Christian knights' successful defense of Malta) than to call it the Age of Crusade. The introduction also does a good job of setting up the geopolitical chessboard of the day, explaining some of the political reasons that inspired Urban II to make his seminal speech at Clermont.

Peters makes no claim that I can find to being exhaustive; rather, his book is intended to give the average student of the First Crusade a background in the original sources. Surely this is a worthy goal; I would rather have my students read 50 pages of orignal, 900-year-old text than 300 pages of wordy academese or casual potboiler history. Furthermore, this book inspires the reader to seek out complete editions of Fulcher, William of Tyre, and the other writers represented. I can think of no better introduction to the First Crusade than this.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kirialax on March 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Peters has put together a nice compilation of primary material regarding the First Crusade. Snippets are arranged by event, so comparing multiple accounts of the same event is no more difficult than turning the page. Fulcher's text dominates the work, and this edition seems to be the primary choice amongst scholars who cite him.

The great achievement of this book is it's price and accessibility. Certain periods of history have texts that are notoriously difficult to acquire cheaply, and having so many together in one cheap little book is very useful. The translations are crisp and clear. Including a number of letters towards the end of the book is also very nice, and provides insight into the minds of the crusaders. Additionally, the introduction is very good.

The only reason that this book gets 4 stars is its lack of maps. Students unfamiliar with the region are given no guidance in this area. Would it have really been so hard for the publisher to insert a basic map of the various routes east, listing important places like Ascalon and Dorylaion that aren't on many non-crusade specific maps?

There is no reason for any serious student of the crusades to not own this work. It is very cheap and accessible, and there is a great deal of content inside.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This anthology of primary sources from the Europeans and Middle Easterners, that were involved or documented the First Crusade, should be required reading for anyone investigating the nature of violence. This anthology provides essential background and background texts which shed the best light on the issue of why the Crusades started when they did and not before. The foundations for fighting on most sides were definitely secular such as political maneuvering, resources, territory, betrayal, abuses, and humanitarian principles. The documents are sometimes theologically overtoned, but the secular foundations and reasons can clearly be seen throughout the accounts. The Crusaders were all Pilgrims and considered themselves as such. They did not see themselves as soldiers and warriors for a divine cause. They did not consider themselves as "Crusaders" nor as Crusading until centuries after the conflict began. The Bible is rarely referenced in any of the historical documents, but when it is referenced, the citations are usually about calls for unity for Christians like Matthew 10:38-39 and similar calls to follow Christ wholeheartedly. The Psalms or verses concerning spreading the Christian message to others in hopes of saving people were also cited. Strangely enough, the Bible was not used as a source for encouraging violence since references from Jesus encouraging killing of others are virtually nonexistent. Though the Pilgrims could have used the Book of Joshua constantly or other Biblical accounts of war as a potential sources for wanting to fight and kill others, they simply didn't.

Another great anthology of primary sources for the first crusade is
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JH VINE VOICE on May 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fulcher of Chartres was an eyewitness chronicler of the First Crusade. He traveled to Constantinople with his lord, Stephen Count of Blois and Chartres, who accompanied Duke Robert of Normandy and Count Robert of Flanders. Fulcher later became Baldwin of Boulogne's (Bouillon) chaplain and followed him to Edessa. He did not continue with the rest of the crusaders to Jerusalem, but remained with Baldwin in Edessa.

When I bought this book, I was expecting to have a translated version of Fulcher of Chartres's chronicle of the first crusade with an introduction providing insight into Fulcher of Chartres. What I found was much more. The other source material hinted at in the title is extensive. Translated excerpts are provided from several contemporary sources including: the anonymous chronicler of Gesta francorum et aliorum Hierosolymytanorum (The Deeds of the Franks), Raymond of Aguilers chaplain of Count of Toulouse Raymond of St Giles , Albert of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), Anna Comnena, and others. These excerpts follow specific parts of the First Crusade including: the council of Clermont and Pope Urban II's announcement of the crusade, the Popular Crusade led by Peter the Hermit, the journey of the great princes to Constantinople, the crusaders' actions at Constantinople and negotiations with Emperor Alexius, the siege of Nicaea, the siege and capture of Antioch, and the siege and capture of Jerusalem. The excerpts are grouped so you can see how the accounts differ. However, only book 1 of Fulcher of Chartres's chronicle is provided here which ends with the death of Duke Godfrey of Lower Lorraine.

I would not recommend this to a beginner in studying crusader history.
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