*Includes medieval illustrations depicting important people, places, and events. *Discusses the facts and legends surrounding the First Crusade and what was written about it. *Includes a Bibliography for further reading. *Includes a Table of Contents.
“I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to perse all people of whatever ...
*Includes medieval illustrations depicting important people, places, and events.
*Discusses the facts and legends surrounding the First Crusade and what was written about it.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
“I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to perse all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it is meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it.” – Pope Urban II, 1095
When a crusader army of Western European Franks took Jerusalem by storm on July 15, 1099, it was one of the more unexpected conquests in history. Everything seemed to be against them for the previous three years of crusade, right up to the final siege, and yet they finally prevailed. And when they did, they massacred most, if not all, of the population, before establishing a Christian realm in a region that had been taken over by the Muslims in 634 CE.
The First Crusade is a difficult and polarizing event, even among modern historians. For some, the crusaders were heroes and saints, and for others they were devils who disrupted the peaceful local sects of Muslims, Jews and Christians, establishing an alien colony that heralded modern European imperialism. To serve the needs of whatever story they want to tell, some historians will begin their tale at some convenient point in history that makes their “side” look good. In fact, the First Crusade is also a signal example of why it is unwise to choose sides in history, because neither side was correct and the situation was highly complex.
Though it went largely unremarked in the Islamic world at the time, the First Crusade has since become a contentious symbol of European imperialism in the Middle East. Debate over whether the Crusades can truly be perceived as an early example of European colonialism continues in medieval historiography, though the evidence for this is thin. The territory taken by the Franks from the Turks had previously belonged to Eastern Christians and had only recently been seized by the Turks themselves. The Crusader States were relatively small and weak, and were reconquered centuries before modern European colonialism began. The Crusaders themselves saw it as a holy war of reclamation of previously lost, albeit almost-mythical, territory. To them, the Muslims were the first aggressors. They were somewhat bolstered in this view by the support that they largely held from local Christians.
The medieval world of The First Crusade was quite different from the world of modern colonialism. However, the question of the connection between the two worlds is important. The First Crusade was a remarkable victory that galvanized the Christians of Western Europe to expand their world. While it remains unclear how much that world expanded in practical terms, such as trade, or how it affected later attitudes during the expansion to the New World and other regions, it definitely engaged the European mind in both positive and negative ways. As such, it soon achieved near-mythic status in the European literature and has become one of the most important events of the Middle Ages.
Legends of the Middle Ages: The First Crusade chronicles the historic events that preceded the crusade, the call to arms, and the important people and battles. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the First Crusade like you never have before, in no time at all.