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In 1095 Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade to recover Jerusalem from the Seljuq Turks. Tens of thousands of people joined his cause, making it the single largest event of the Middle Ages. The conflict would rage for over 200 years, poisoning Christian and Islamic relations forever. In this new introduction to the Crusades, Andrew Jotischky takes readers through the key events, focusing on the experience of crusading, from both sides, and asking crucial questions. What were the motivations of the crusaders? What was it like to be a crusader or live in a crusading society? How do these events, nearly a thousand years ago, still shape the politics of today?
Professor Andrew Jotischky is head of the history department at Lancaster University, and author of Crusading and the Crusader States (Routledge 2004). He lives in Lancaster, U.K.