- Paperback: 290 pages
- Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (July 19, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0631230238
- ISBN-13: 978-0631230236
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,456,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Crusades: The Essential Readings 1st Edition
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“Madden's new book seeks to bridge the gap between popular caricatures of the crusades and the more balanced picture of the movement that historians have been producing for more than a generation. The dozen specimens of lively recent scholarship on the crusades that Madden has assembled here are shrewdly calculated to provoke students into rethinking what they thought they knew about the crusading movement.” James A. Brundage, University of Kansas <!--end-->
From the Back Cover
The twelve complete articles in this volume represent some of the best recent scholarship on the crusades. The collection introduces students to fundamental concepts of crusading, including the nature of the movement, the motivation of the participants, and the impact on the East. The focus is not on individual crusades but on the political, economic, spiritual, and demographic factors behind these medieval holy wars and on their consequences.
A strong editorial structure guides students through the competing perspectives that have dominated scholarly discussion. An opening introduction summarizes relevant historical events and provides an overview of the historiography. Each article is then contextualized by the editor with a discussion of its significance to scholarship.
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The first section, “What Were the Crusades?” has five papers that examine how the concept should be defined. Keeping in mind the original crusaders did not use the term themselves, the first article looks at Pope Urban II’s preaching of the first crusade and examines what he said and what was his intent. There are several accounts of the Pope’s message at the Council of Clermont, but no transcript. This means we do not accurately know whether the Pope’s goal was to support the Eastern Church, protect the region’s Christians, or to take Jerusalem. But certainly the reality is, no matter the intent, Jerusalem became the goal for those who went on crusade. The other articles look at “Crusading as an Act of Love,” the “Reconquest and Crusade in Spain,” Crusades Against Christians: Their Origins and Early Development, c. 1000-1216,” and, “Were There any Crusades in the Twelfth Century?” The bottom line is that what was and what was not a crusade is not as clear cut as popularly believed.
In Part II, “Who Were the Crusaders?” a variety of historians look at charters as a source of information on who and why people went on crusade, the costs of crusading, lay enthusiasm for the First Crusade, and patronage as a factor. Again, the reasons people went on crusade, or pilgrimages to Jerusalem before the term crusade was invented, were varied. Overall the articles lead to the generalization that, although some went for selfish reasons, the majority was driven by a religious devotion or calling; an idea today’s secular culture has a hard time understanding.
The last part of the book reviews the impact the crusades in the Middle East had on Byzantium, how contemporary Syrian Muslims reacted, and how Muslims lived under Frankish rule. These last few articles look at a little examined aspect of the crusades from a contemporary standpoint.
If you’re a student of the crusades you will want to read this book. The religious and philosophical issues surrounding the crusades, particularly as they apply to the crusades in the east, provide a depth and context often left out of conventional histories of the period, and help us to better understand what happened.