The Crusades: Religion, Violence, and Growth in Medieval Europe

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The Crusades:

Religion, Violence, and Growth in Medieval Europe

Kenyon College, Department of History, Bowman

HIST 328 / Spring 2009

In 1095, Pope Urban II called on European knights to reconquer the city of Jerusalem. In doing so, he launched the first crusade. The objectives of the first crusaders may have been fairly circumscribed, but for the next four centuries the crusading movement had complex and varied consequences for the inhabitants of Europe, north Africa, and the Middle East. In this course, we will examine (1) the confluence of religious, political, and economic motivations that inspired crusaders, (2) the extension of the ideas and practices of crusading to the Iberian peninsula and parts of northern Europe, and (3) the manifold interreligious and cross-cultural exchanges (peaceful and violent) that resulted from the crusades.

Most of the reading for the course will be primary sources – that is, narrative accounts and records written by the people who participated in or observed the events they described. Among other things, we will explore how we can reconstruct a coherent sense of the past from sources that are partial and interested. For example, we will examine how Jewish, Christian, and Muslim witnesses might describe the same events differently. To what degree can these differences be attribute to religious differences, and to what extent to social status, nationality, gender, or individual personality?


Short Paper

Submit 4-5 page paper on assigned topic.

Due February 10 at 8:00 PM.

150 points

Source Study

Answer a series of questions about one of the primary sources in Crusades: A Readers and discuss how we might use it as historical evidence.

Due April 1 at 9:00 PM.

150 points

Prospectus with annotated bibliography.

Submit 2-page prospectus describing the goals and organization of your research paper. Prospectus should include annotated bibliography identifying primary and secondary works relevant to your research paper.

Due February 28 at 6:00 PM.

150 points

Presentation or Discussion

Individually or in small groups, you will give a 12-minute presentation related to your research. You will be responsible for distributing relevant reading and questions in advance of the presentation. Alternately, you may choose to lead discussion for part of one seminar meeting.

February 23, April 23, April 30

100 points

Research Paper

A 12-15 page research paper based on the sources or themes listed at the end of the syllabus.

Due May 4 at 12:00 noon.

250 points

Participation and Professionalism

1Attendance is mandatory. After two unexcused absences, a student’s grade will drop rapidly and irrevocably. Students must have completed the assigned readings by class time. Energetic, frequent, and thoughtful participation in discussion is a vital element of this seminar and constitutes a significant portion of your grade.

All day, every day!

200 points

For details about grading, see final page of syllabus


  • Thomas F. Madden, A New Concise History of the Crusades

  • Amt and Allen, Crusades: A Reader

  • The First Crusade, ed. Edward Peters

  • Peter W. Edbury, The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade

  • The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, trans. D. S. Richards

  • Joinville and Villehardouin, Chronicles of the Crusades

  • The Poem of the Cid

  • An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades, P. Hitti

January 15

1. Introduction: Religion, Violence, Growth

January 22

2. The First Crusade

The First Crusade, ed. Edward Peters, chapters I, II, III, V, VIII, IX
Madden, Concise History, chapters 1 and 2

January 29

3. Pilgrimage, Society, Holy War

Crusades: A Reader, nos. 1-11, 25, 26, 28, 29, 45, 49, 54
Georges Duby, “Youth in Aristocratic Society,” in The Chivalrous Society **
Leigh Ann Craig, “Stronger than men and braver than knights’: Women and Pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Rome in the later Middle Ages,” Journal of Medieval History 29 (2003): 153-75.

February 5

4. The Second Crusade and the Crusader States

Crusades: A Reader, nos. 31, 33, 35, 36, 38, 76
Hitti, An Arab-Syrian Gentleman, 3-142, 171-97
Madden, Concise History, chapters 3 and 4
C. J. Tyerman, “Were There Any Crusades in the Twelfth Century?” English Historical Review 110 (1995): 553-577.

February 10

*** Short Paper Due ***

February 12

5. The Third Crusade in Latin

Peter W. Edbury, The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade, 1-154
Crusades: A Reader, nos. 43, 44, 45, 46.

February 19

6. The Third Crusade in Arabic

The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, pp. 1-145
Crusades: A Reader, no. 40.
Peter W. Edbury, The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade, 158-66
C. P. Melville and M. C. Lyons, “Saladin’s Hattin Letter,” in B. Z. Kedar ed., The Horns of Hattin, pp. 208-12. **
B. Z. Kedar, “The Battle of Hattin Revisited,” in B. Z. Kedar ed., The Horns of Hattin, pp. 190-207. **

February 26

7. The Third Crusade in Arabic II

The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, pp. 146-250
A Christian/Muslim Debate of the 12th century, MS:
“The Idea of Jihad in Islam before the Crusades,”
Norman Housley, “The Crusades and Islam,” Medieval Encounters13 (2007): 189-208.

February 28

Prospectus Due at 6:00 PM

March 19

8. The Fourth Crusade

Villehardouin, The Conquest of Constantinople
Crusades: A Reader, 56, 58, 60.
Madden, Concise History, chapter 5
Anne Dulop, “Masculinity, Crusading, and Devotion: Francesco Casali’s Fresco in the Trecento Perugian Contado,” Speculum 76 (2001): 315-336.

March 26

9. Crusade and Reconquista

Poem of the Cid, first two cantars
Crusades: A Reader, nos. 66, 68, 69, 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81
Madden, Concise History, chapter 6
Patrick J. O’Banion, “What has Iberia to do with Jeruslaem? Crusade and the Spanish Route to the Holy Land in the Twelfth Century,” Journal of Medieval History 34 (2008): 383-395.

April 1

Source Study Due at 9:00 PM

April 2

10. No seminar meeting.

April 9

11. Saint Louis

Joinville, Life of Saint Louis in Chronicles
Madden, Concise History, chapter 7-9
Crusades: A Reader, nos. 85, 86, 88, 90, 91
Christoph Maier, “The Roles of Women in the Crusade Movement: A Survey,” Journal of Medieval History 30 (2004): 61-82.
Evolution of Crusader Privileges, 1095-1270:

April 16

12. Crusades on Film

Ridley Scott, Kingdom of Heaven

April 23

13. Research Presentations

Readings as Assigned

April 30

14. Legacies of the Crusades

Madden, Concise History, chapter 10, conclusion
Adam Knobler, “Holy Wars, Empires, and the Portability of the Past: The Modern Uses of Medieval Crusades,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 48 (2006): 293-325.
Loretta Napoleoni, “Modern Jihad: The Islamist Crusade,” SAIS Review of International Affairs23 (2003): 53-69.
Additional readings as assigned

May 4

Noon, Research Paper Due in Seitz House


Archaeology, Art, and Architecture

Men, Women, Gender
Jews and the Crusades

The Crusades in Islamic Historiography

Military Technology and the Crusades

Military Orders

Ideas of Holy War

The Crusades and Commerce

Pilgrimage and Crusade

Lay Spirituality and Crusading

The Aftereffects of the Crusades

The Crusades and Intellectual History

Violence, Social Order before the First Crusade

Courtly Representation of Crusade

Crusade and Literature

Primary Sources in Translation

The Crusades: A Documentary Survey, ed. James Brundage. Milwaukee, 1962.

The Crusades: A Reader, ed. S. J. Allen, Emilie Amt. 2003.

Documents on the Later Crusades, 1274-1580, ed. Norman Housley. New York, 1996.
The First Crusade and Its Aftermath

Anna Comnena, The Alexiad. English translations by E. R. A. Sewter and Elizabeth Dawes.

Robert the Monk’s History of the First Crusade: Historia Ihersolimitana, ed. Carol Sweetenham. 2005.

The Gesta Tancredi of Ralph of Caen: A History of the Normans on the First Crusade, ed. Bachrach, Bachrach.

Walter the Chancellor’s The Antiochene Wars, A Translation and Commentary, Tom Asbridge and Susan Edgington.
The Second Crusade

Odo of Deuil, De profectione ludovici VII in orientem/The Journey of Louis VII to the East, New York, 1948

William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, trans. E. A. Babcock. 2 vols. New York, 1943.

De expugnatione Lyxbonensi: The conquest of Lisbon, ed. Charles Wendell David. New York, 1936.
Third Crusade

The Chronicle of the Third Crusade: The Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, Helen J. Nicholson.

The Third Crusade: An Eye-Witness Account of the Campaigns of Richard . . ., ed. Kenneth Fenwick. Lonon, 1958.
The Fourth Crusade

Robert of Clari, The Conquest of Constantinople. New York, 1936.

Crusaders as Conquerors: The Chronicle of Morea, trans. H. E. Lurier. New York 1964.

Alfred J. Andrea, Contemporary Sources for the Fourth Crusade. Leiden, 2000.

The Capture of Constantinople: The ‘Historia Constantinopolitana’ of Gunther of Paris, ed. Aldred Andrea. 1997.

Henry of Livonia. The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. James A. Brundage. Madison, 1961.

Albigensian Crusade and The Iberian Peninsula

Guillaume de Tudela, The Song of the Cathar Wars: A History of the Albigensian Crusade, trans. J. Shirley. 2000.

Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay. History of the Albigensian Crusade, trans. W.A. and M.D. Sibly. 1998.

The Book of Deeds of James I of Aragon, ed Damian Smith and Helena Buffery.

World of el Cid: Chronicles of the Spanish reconquest. Ed. Simon Barton & Richard Fletcher. Manchester, 2000.
Fifth Crusade and Later

Oliver of Paderborn, The Capture of Damietta, trans. John J. Gavigan. Philadelphia, 1948.

Christian Society and the Crusades, 1198-1229, including the Capture of Damietta . . , ed. Edward Peters. 1971.

Guillaume de Machaut, The Capture of Alexandria, ed. Peter W Edbury, Janet Shirley. 2001.

The Templar of Tyre: Part III of the ‘Deeds of the Cypriots’, ed. Paul Crawford. 2003.

The Crusade against Heretics in Bohemia, 1418-1437. Sources and Documents for the Hussite Crusades.

The Crusade of Varna, 1443-1445, Colin Imber. 2006.

Philip of Novara. The Wars of Frederick II against the Ibelins in Syria and Cyprus. Columbia, 1936.

Helmold, priest of Bosau. The Chronicle of the Slavs by Helmold, trans. Francis J. Tschan. Columbia, 1935.
Arabic / Hebrew

The Chronicle of Ibn al-Athir for the Crusading Period from al-Kamil fi’l-Ta’rikh, 2 parts, trans. D. S. Richards.

The Damascus Chronicle of the Crusades: Extracted and Translated from the Chronicle of Ibn Al-Qalanisi.

The Jews and the Crusaders: The Hebrew Chronicles of the First and Second Crusades, trans. Shlomo Eidelberg.
Useful Overviews and Reference Works
Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe

K. Erdmann, The Origin of the Idea of Crusade

Richard Fletcher, Saint James’s Catapult

Nicholas Jasperts, The Crusades: A Concise History

Peter Lock, The Routledge Companion to the Crusades

Hans Eberhard Mayer, The Crusades. 2nd edition. Oxford, 1988.

E. Peters, Europe in the Middle Ages.

B. Rosenwein, A Short History of the Middle Ages.

S. Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 vols.

J. Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading

J. Riley-Smith, The Crusades: a short history. New Haven, 1987.

J. Riley–Smith, The First Crusaders, 1095–1131. Cambridge, 1977

K. Setton, A History of the Crusades

Christopher Tyerman, The Crusades: A Very Short Introduction.

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades

Formulating Semester Grades
There are 1000 possible points to be earned over the course of the semester. I will give all assignments numeric grades. In other words, the only letter grade you will receive in History 328 will be the final semester grade.

Short Paper

February 10, 8:00 PM

150 points

Source Study

April 1, 9:00 PM

150 points

Prospectus with annotated bibliography

February 26 at 6:00 PM.

150 points


February 23, April 23, April 30

100 points

Research Paper

May 4, 12:00 noon

250 points

Participation and Professionalism

All day, every day

200 points



























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