Holy Warriors : A Modern History of the Crusades

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-03-09
  • Publisher: Random House
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From an internationally renowned expert, here is an accessible and utterly fascinating one-volume history of the Crusades, thrillingly told through the experiences of its many players-knights and sultans, kings and poets, Christians and Muslims. Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoes-from the mysteries of the Templars to the grim reality of al-Qaeda. Holy Warriors puts the past in a new perspective and brilliantly sheds light on the origins of todayrs"s wars. Starting with Pope Urban IIrs"s emotive, groundbreaking speech in November 1095, in which he called for the recovery of Jerusalem from Islam by the First Crusade, Phillips traces the centuries-long conflict between two of the worldrs"s great faiths. Using songs, sermons, narratives, and letters of the period, he reveals how the success of the First Crusade inspired generations of kings to campaign for their own vainglory and set down a marker for the knights of Europe, men who increasingly blurred the boundaries between chivalry and crusading. In the Muslim world, early attempts to call a jihad fell upon deaf ears until the charisma of the Sultan Saladin brought the struggle to a climax. Yet the story that emerges has other dimensions-as never before, Phillips incorporates the holy wars within the story of medieval Christendom and Islam and shines new light on many truces, alliances, and diplomatic efforts that have been forgotten over the centuries. Holy Warriors also discusses how the term "crusade" survived into the modern era and how its redefinition through romantic literature and the drive for colonial empires during the nineteenth century gave it an energy and a resonance that persisted down to the alliance between Franco and the Church during the Spanish Civil War and right up to George W. Bushrs"s pious "war on terror." Elegantly written, compulsively readable, and full of stunning new portraits of unforgettable real-life figures-from Richard the Lionhearted to Melisende, the formidable crusader queen of Jerusalem-Holy Warriors is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval Europe, as well as for those seeking to understand the history of religious conflict.

Author Biography

Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London. The author of three previous books, he was the main contributor to the History Channel’s 2005 series The Crusades: The Crescent and the Cross. His articles have appeared in BBC History Magazine, History Today, and The Independent. He lives in Surrey, England, with his wife and two children.

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Mapsp. xi
Introductionp. xvii
"Deus Vult!": The First Crusade and the Capture of Jerusalem, 1095-99p. 3
"May God's Curse Be Upon Them!": Relations Between Muslims and Franks in the Levant, 1099-1187p. 29
"A Woman of Unusual Wisdom and Discretion": Queen Melisende of Jerusalemp. 51
The "Blessed Generation": Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and the Second Crusade, 1145-49p. 76
Saladin, the Leper King, and the Fall of Jerusalem in 1187p. 104
"Nowhere in the World Would Ever Two Such Princes Be Found": Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, and the Third Crusadep. 136
"An Example of Affliction and the Works of Hell": The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, 1204p. 166
From "Little Foxes in the Vines" and the Children's Crusade to the Greatest Church Council of the Agep. 196
"Stupor Mundi"-The Wonder of The World: Frederick II, the Fifth Crusade, and the Recovery of Jerusalemp. 218
"To Kill the Serpent, First You Must Crush the Head": The Crusade of Louis IX and the Rise of the Sultan Baibarsp. 242
From the Trial of the Templars to Ferdinand and Isabella, Columbus, and the Conquest of the New Worldp. 273
New Crusaders?: From Sir Walter Scott to Osama bin Laden and George W. Bushp. 308
Conclusion: In the Shadow of the Crusadesp. 345
Acknowledgmentsp. 353
Notesp. 355
Primary Bibliographyp. 395
Secondary Bibliographyp. 403
Indexp. 417
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


 The First Crusade and the Capture of Jerusalem, 1095-99

 "'A grave report has come from the lands around Jerusalem...that a race absolutely alien to God...has invaded the land of the Christians....They have either razed the churches of God to the ground or enslaved them to their own rites....They cut open the navels of those whom they choose to torment...drag them around and flog them before killing them as they lie on the ground with all their entrails out....What can I say of the appalling violation of women? On whom does the task lie of avenging this, if not on you?...Take the road to the Holy Sepulchre, rescue that land and rule over it yourselves, for that land, as scripture says, floweth with milk and honey....Take this road for the remission of your sins, assured of the unfading glory of the kingdom of heaven.' When Pope Urban had said these things...everyone shouted in unison: 'Deus vult! Deus vult!,' 'God wills it! God wills it!' "

In this vivid-and hugely exaggerated-language, as reported by Robert of Rheims, Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade at Clermont in central France in November 1095. Four years later, having endured a journey of astounding hardship, the self-proclaimed "Knights of Christ" arrived at Jerusalem. On July 15, 1099, the crusaders stormed the walls and put its defenders to the sword to reclaim Christ's city from Islam

 Pope Urban II and the Call to Crusade

 While nine hundred years later a distant descendant of Pope Urban's creation continues to cast its shadow on Christian-Muslim relations across the world, it is an irony that crusading was primarily intended to remedy problems within western Europe. As the head of the Catholic Church, Urban was responsible for the spiritual well-being of everyone in Latin Christendom. Yet Europe was beset by a variety of evils: violence and lawlessness were rife and Emperor Henry IV of Germany, the most powerful secular ruler, was, at times, an excommunicate, cast out of the Church because he had challenged papal authority.2 In Urban's mind, the fundamental cause of such chaos was a diminution of faith; it was his role to restore peace and stability. If this was to be achieved, spiritual concern would have to be blended with canny political calculation; perhaps to a modern audience the second of these elements sits a little uneasily on a man in his position, but to Urban the two were indivisible; as pope he did everything that was necessary to further God's work

It was Urban's genius that he conceived of a plan that offered benefits to the pope and to all of his flock. Perhaps he achieved this partly because of his family background: he was from the county of Champagne in northern France and was a man of noble blood. The combination of this high-born lineage and a successful career in the Church gave him a direct insight into the hopes and fears of the knightly classes, and this, in part, explains why crusading satisfied the aspirations of so many. He linked several ingredients familiar to medieval society, such as pilgrimage and the idea of a holy war against the enemies of God, with an unprecedented offer of salvation, a combination almost guaranteed to enthuse the warriors of western Europe

 To persuade people-in any age-to leave their homes and loved ones and to venture into the unknown, it is usually necessary to convince them that the cause is worthwhile. As many modern conflicts reveal, propaganda can play a vital part in a buildup to war. Pope Urban II's address at Clermont used highly inflammatory images to provoke moral outrage in his audience. The Muslims were described in language that emphasized their "otherness" and their barbarity toward innocent Christians. In reality, while it is true that pilgrims were occasionally maltreated, it was also the case that there had been no systematic persecution of Christians by the Muslims of the Holy Land for decades. Yet U

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