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History Guides - Lafayette

Information

Dates: 500-1500

Selected Books - Reviews

  • The crusades are often spoken about as one large military or cultural expedition into the Holy Land, with ranks full of powerful and wealthy knights, followed by faithful retainers. We have been taught that they were the ideas of Popes and kings, who had the desire to reclaim Jerusalem and other important Christian sites from outsiders. However, what Peter Frankopan demonstrates in his book, The First Crusade: The Call from the East, is that, while a pope may have assisted with the creation of the first expedition, it was actually originally engineered by the Emperor Alexios I, who ruled over the Byzantine Empire from Constantinople. Unlike what is commonly thought about the crusades, this early military foray into Asia Minor and the Eastern Mediterranean was actually a response to a request for aid from the eastern portion of the ancient Roman world. While the crusaders themselves ended up creating thier own enclaves in cities such as Antioch and Jerusalem, the intention had been to assist Alexios I retrieve land lost to outside forces, as well as to keep his empire from destabalising any further. A fascinating look at the earliest crusade, this book pulls back the veil of anger and opinion which very early on colored the west's view of the Byzantine Emperor, showing how integral he actually was in the success of the European armies as they crossed huge stretches of open territory, as well as making them feel welcome when they reached Constantinople. This book brings into the open the question: how else have we misunderstood the crusades? And what can modern scholarship do to remedy those mistakes?

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Ebooks

Classics: Medieval History

Along with the nonfiction titles and resources included above, here are pieces of classic literature which were written about or during this historical period:

Print Books

Ebooks