How should we read the Crusades? The question begs a host of others, not least how do we read them, in the light of how we have read them in the past.
The flight of Jews out of Nazi Germany has been the subject of much attention. Virtually every country that witnessed the entry of Jews in the 1930s has had its experiences discussed in at least one book.(1) Britain is no exception.
On 13 April 1204 the western or Latin armies participating in the Fourth Crusade conquered Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium. The approaching 800th anniversary of that event has generated renewed interest in the background, context and impact of that crusade, expressed in several new studies and in conferences.
On the cover of Gerald MacLean’s engaging new study, The Rise of Oriental Travel: English Visitors to the Ottoman Empire, 1580-1720 is a ‘Portrait of a European Man’ by the Ottoman Artist Abdelcelil Celebi, known as Levni, and painted c.1720. MacLean does not discuss this portrait, but its selection as a cover image is calculated and significant.
The History of George Akropolites describes an exceptional period in Byzantine history, between the loss of Constantinople to the forces of the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and the reconquest of the city by Michael VIII Palaiologos in 1261.
D. K. Fieldhouse’s goal in this major comparative study of British and French imperialism in the Middle East is to consider the effects of the imposition of the mandate system on the former Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire.
The first, main title of this volume might seem to promise too little or too much—either a very superficial work of generalization, or a heterogeneous assortment of broadly grouped pieces too diverse and disparate to cohere.
Fighting for the Cross introduces the subject of crusading by exploring the experiences and ideas of individual crusaders travelling to the Holy Land between 1095 and 1291.
Agatha Christie’s 1970 novel Passenger to Frankfurt might seem like an unusual place to start a history of the Children’s Crusade in 1212. To capture the radical youth-culture of the 1960s lying at the heart of her plot, Christie invoked the Children’s Crusade as a familiar symbol of misguided and ultimately dangerous youthful folly.