The History of the Crusades Podcast Bibliography

I’m a sucker for a bibliography so I’ve included the one from Sharyn Eastaugh‘s History of the Crusades.

Main Texts:

    • Thomas Asbridge The Crusades – The War for the Holy Land 2010
    • Christopher Tyerman God’s War – A New History of the Crusades 2006
    • Steven Runciman A History of the Crusades Vol 1-3 1951-1954
    • Jonathan Phillips Holy Warriors – A Modern History of the Crusades 2009
      Amin Maalouf The Crusades through Arab Eyes 1983

Other Texts:

      • Chronicles of the Crusades edited by Elizabeth Hallam 1989
      • The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades edited by Jonathan Riley-Smith 1995
      • Hugh Kennedy Crusader Castles 1994
      • Robert Bartlett The Making of Europe – Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change 950-1350 1993
      • R.H.C. Davis A History of Medieval Europe 1957
      • Friedrich Heer The Medieval World – Europe from 1100 to 1350 1962
      • Karen Armstrong Holy War – The Crusades and their impact on today’s world 1988
      • Francesco Gabrieli Arab Historians of the Crusades 1957
      • Anna Comnena The Alexiad translated by Elizabeth Dawes 2011
        Tim Severin Crusader – By horse to Jerusalem 1989
      • Thomas Asbridge The First Crusade – A New History 2004
      • Jonathan Phillips The Second Crusade – Extending the Frontiers of Christendom 2007
      • Usamah Ibn-Munqidh An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades translated by Philip Hitti 1929
      • Bernard Lewis The Assassins – A Radical Sect in Islam 1967
      • Marshall Hodgson The Secret order of Assassins – The Struggle of the Early Nizari Isma’ilis against the Islamic World 1955
      • Medieval Isma’ili History and Thought edited by Farhad Daftary 1996
      • Joshua Prawler The World of the Crusaders 1972
      • R.C. Smail Crusading Warfare 1097-1193 1956
      • Amy Kelly Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings 1950
      • Alison Weir Eleanor of Aquitaine – by the wrath of God, Queen of England 1999
      • Malcolm Cameron Lyons & D.E.P. Jackson Saladin – The Politics of Holy War 1982
      • Geoffrey Hindley Saladin – Hero of Islam 1976
      • Jack Weatherford Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World 2004
      • Piers Paul Read The Templars 1999
      • Alan Forey The Military Orders from the Twelfth to the Early Fourteenth Centuries 1992
      • Colin Morris The Papal Monarchy – The Western Church from 1050 to 1250
      • John Julius Norwich The Popes – A History 2012
      • E.R. Chamberlin The Bad Popes 1969
      • Eamon Duffy Saints and Sinners – A History of the Popes 1997
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The History of the Crusades podcast

This podcast by Tasmanian Sharyn Eastaugh started all the way back in 2012, following the model of Mike Duncan’s History of Rome.   Like Mike Duncan, it’s a minimalist approach – no guests, few sound effects, no dramatisations – but with an occasional dry bit of humour to tie things together.  I like this style, and I think it’s still more or less the standard for history podcasts – although 2012 could be a little more rough and ready.

Capture.PNGSome running jokes about the ever present Peter the Hermit or Crusading knights descended from water fairies add a comforting familiarity.  The material comes largely from classic popular accounts (Steven Runciman, Thomas Asbridge, Jonathan Phillips) which Eastaugh quotes from throughout (there’s also a handy list on her website) but other sources give the story from the Islamic side (Amin Maalouf is a very popular one).

Like many of the Crusades themselves, the early episodes are affected by equipment issues – poor quality recording equipment that leaves the volume lower than one would like.  But stick with it and things do get progressively better.  The content is good from the first episode anyway.  The website is smooth and well presented (though I can see a few older websites out there – so that presumably improved over time too).

I like the podcast as a whole.  I have listened to the 107 episodes (probably about twenty minutes each) on the Middle Eastern Crusades, and I’m looking forward to continuing on to her additional series on the Cathars and the Baltic Crusades.  The latter especially is a topic I don’t know much about.  There’s not too much analysis in the show, but I like the storytelling – combining the accounts of various weightier sources.  The main podcast is free, but she does offer bonus episodes via her Patreon page.  I definitely think this is worth checking out.

The First Crusade by Peter Frankopan

The first question that this book should pose is “Why?”.  Why do we need another history of the crusades?  What does this one add?  I had previously enjoyed Peter Frankopan’s Silk Road, he clearly has a head for both the details of politics and the big picture.  In this book he applies that talent to the role of Byzantine emperor Alexios Komnenos in the crusade.

This allows him to pick up on a couple of loose threads from the traditional story of the first crusade: why did Alexios send to the west for help?  Why and when did the Byzantine cut ties with the crusaders?  The obvious historical source for Alexios is the Alexiad, but this is written by his daughter Anna and has an pretty definite bias to it.

The answer to the first question is perhaps the more interesting: why did the Byzantines request help at that point in time?  Alexios had been in power for over a decade, and the Alexiad presents him as leading a recovery for earlier military setbacks.  The chronology is not as simple as it appears however – Alexios’ reign had military failures too and he was becoming increasingly under threat domestically.

Later in the book Alexios feels more peripheral, but Frankopan presents a case that this distance from the crusaders was in good faith.  He was unwilling to leave the capital and risk revolt there, he provided supplies readily in most cases, and where he didn’t it would have appeared futile to do so.

I don’t think this book succeeds at significantly changing the narrative of the first crusade, but it does provide a new slant and point of view.  The coverage of the campaigns in Asia Minor is particularly good.  Worth reading for anyone who thinks they are already familiar with the story of the crusades.

Historical Pubs: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (1189)

Having said in my recent post on David Crowther’s History of England podcast that I should probably check out their Facebook group, I did and reading a few of the posts there was inspired to write a blog entry on this old pub in Nottingham. I’ve got a few other old pubs in mind too, so I may well end up doing a few of these. I was in Nottingham for reasons related to work, but took the advantage of some free time to look around the city. The pub, which claims to be the oldest in England – founded in 1189, is near the castle on the West side of the city centre. It’s probably one of the most impressive locations for a pub that I’ve seen, overshadowed by and more or less built into the huge limestone cliffs, just around the corner from the statue of Robin Hood.

Continue reading Historical Pubs: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (1189)