What Were The Crusades?: 4th Edition


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SKU 1858~IP-WWC4P Category Brand: ISBN: 9781586173609.


This is the most acclaimed, short introduction to the Crusades – by  the world's foremost authority on the subject! Find out the truth for yourself and separate fact from fiction.


Few attempts had been made to defined 'the crusade' before the first edition of this book was published in 1977. Since then, a number of historians have built on Jonathan Riley-Smith's original conclusions. Now in its fourth edition, this classic starting-point for the study of the crusading movement has been thoroughly revised and up-dated tin the light of recent research.

What Were the Crusades?

  • elucidates key ideas and institutions which have been neglected in the past
  • demonstrates, through the analysis of European campaigns, that the movement was not confined to expeditions launched to recover the Holy Land – or to defend the Christian presence there – and shows that it continued, in one form or another, into the eighteenth century
  • defines in detail the central concept of penitential war, a form of Christian Holy War
  • explores, among other key aspects, causes for crusading, the legitimizing authority of the papacy, recruitment, and the nature of the crusade vow and its consequences, including the indulgence
  • features a new chronology and brief biographies of crusading figures, both real and imaginary

Original in its conception, this essential guide is a contribution of major importance to crusading scholarship. In its clear and concise treatment of the issues, it remains an unequalled introduction to the subject for students and general readers alike.

Jonathan Riley-Smith is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.





Dimensions0.25 × 5.5 × 8.5 in
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