Crusading Warfare

  • John France
Part of the Palgrave Advances book series (PAD)


In recent years much attention has been devoted to the military history of the crusades. This recent research, however, has highlighted the problems posed by the source material, problems that earlier researchers were often unaware of or simply overlooked. Contemporary chronicles record war, but explain very little about it. This means that a great volume of sources, western and Oriental, has to be examined and consideration has to be given to record evidence, letters, artefacts, inscriptions and archaeological remains. The volume of material is the greater because crusading was always very diverse and involved theatres of operation in northern and eastern Europe as well as the Eastern Mediterranean. Part of the fascination of the crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean is the contrasting styles of war which clashed in the Middle East. Given the diversity of the subject, students approaching crusading warfare should familiarize themselves not only with the historiography but also with the serious problems which face researchers in this area, and hence this chapter offers a multifaceted approach. In the first section there is a survey of recent work on crusading warfare. The second section discusses the problems posed by the source material. In the third section an effort is made to explain why styles of war were so very different.


Middle East Thirteenth Century Twelfth Century Military History Military Culture 
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  • John France

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