Chronicles of the Crusades

Eye-Witness Accounts of the Wars Between Christianity and Islam
Elizabeth Hallam
ISBN 9781566491938 (paperback)
Published in November 2000
MSRP $29.95
In 1095, Pope Urban II released an avalanche of princes, knights and followers who, with shouts of "God wills", descended on the Arab world, itself the heir to an ancient and sophisticated civilization.

Five hundred years of conflict were to follow; Chronicles of the Crusades recreates the glorious victories and gruesome defeats on both sides, through eye-witness accounts of the traumatic clashes between two opposing faiths.

The First Crusade, and the only really successful one, carved out a Western European style kingdom in the Holy Land, dotted with castles and cathedrals. The Third Crusade pitted the wits of the masterful Richard the Lionheart against the resourceful Saladin; the Fourth foundered on the shoes of Dalmatia and in the streets of Constantinople as the Venetians ruthlessly exploited the warrior pilgrims for their own ends; 13th century crusades saw the capture of Louis IX, half-dead from dysentery, on the banks of River Nile; the crusades of the 16th century ended with the rich booty of Suleyman the Magnificent piled up in Ottoman palaces and mosques.

The story is brought to life through the words of those who were there; Stephen, count of Blois, son-in-law of William the Conqueror; the French knights Villehardouin and Joinville; Anna Comnena, the daughter of the Byzantine emperor, Alexius I; Saladina's secretary Imad ad-Din, and the political intriguer and go-between, Usama. There are excerpts from a chronicle, written originally in Armenian, on the Fall of Jerusalem, the Novgorod Chronicles from Russia, Italian writers telling of the assassination of Peter I of Cyprus and the sack of Famagusta, and many many more.

Linking text and essays are written by a team of leading authorities and, with lavish illustrations, provide insight into the social, political and artistic background of one of the most enthralling and extraordinary eras in world history.

ELIZABETH HALLAM, who has a Ph.D. From London University, is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquities of London. She is the author of two major books: Capetian France 987-1328 and Domesday Book through Nine Centuries. She also edited Chronicles of the Age of Chivalry, available from Welcome Rain.

SIR JONATHAN RILEY-SMITH is professor of history at the University of London. He is the author of such important works as The Crusades: Idea and Reality and The Crusades: A Short History.

AZIZ AL-AZMEH is professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in England. Among his books in English are Ibn Khaldun and Arabic Thought and Islamic Societies.