The Crusades: Holy War and Jihad, 1000-1300 - 30 credits (HS1724)
Module Tutor: Dr Steven Biddlecombe
The Crusades are iconic events of the middle ages. They encompass ideas of profound piety and apocalyptic violence; cultural tolerance and religious hatred; personal and political reward and terrible hardship suffered for the sake of religious faith. They seem to sum up the paradoxes of a period in which intellectual adventure and understanding, spiritual purity and devotion and secular notions of chivalry and romance thrived alongside examples of brutal violence, religious oppression and zealous holy war. In examining the Crusades we will see both the clash and the collaboration of cultures, Christianity and Islam usually competing, but often co-operating. We consider the divisions created by religious orthodoxy and intolerance expressed in violence and war, and the struggle for control of the Holy Land taking place in the wider context of relations between Christian and Muslim in Spain, Sicily and Byzantium.
Availability of module: Every year
A range of teaching methods will be used in each of the sessions of the course, comprising a combination of lectures and seminar discussion of major issues. The syllabus is divided into a series of major course themes, then sub-divided into principal topics for the study of each theme.
The aim of the lectures is to provide a brief introduction to a particular topic, establishing the salient features of major course themes, identifying key issues and providing historiographical guidance. The lectures aim to provide a basic framework for understanding and should be thought of as useful starting points for further discussion and individual study. Where appropriate, handouts and other materials may be distributed to reinforce the material discussed.
The primary aim of seminars will be to generate debate and discussion amongst course participants. Seminars for each of the course topics will provide an opportunity for students to analyse and further discuss key issues and topics relating to lectures.
Students will be assessed by means of a combination of one 2000 word assessed essay [25%] and one three-hour unseen written examination paper in which the student will answer three questions [75%].
The Assessed Essay will contribute 25% of the final mark for the module. It is designed to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to review evidence, draw appropriate conclusions from it and employ the formal conventions of scholarly presentation. It must be no longer than 2,000 words (excluding empirical appendices and references).
The Examination will take place during the second assessment period [May/June] and will consist of an unseen three hour paper that will contribute the remaining 75% of the final mark for this module. Students must write 3 answers in total.
Summary of course content
The pre-crusade history of the Holy Land
Muslims and Christians – Holy War in Spain?
Muslims and Christians – Holy War in Sicily?
The Call from the East – The influence of the Byzantine Empire
The Response from the West – The First Crusade (1095-1100) – Armed Pilgrimage or Holy War?
The Miraculous Victory – How the History of the First Crusade was shaped in the East and the West?
Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Holy Land
The Jihad begins – Zengi - Jihadist or not?
Crusading Enthusiasm in the West – Bernard of Clairvaux and the Second Crusade (1145-9)
A Just War and pleasing to God – Theological justifications for crusading and the legal framework around it
The Jihad intensifies – Saladin unifies the Muslim World against the Latin East
Royal and Holy Warriors – Western Christian rulers respond to the loss of Jerusalem with the Third Crusade (1189-92)
Holy War takes a wrong turn on God’s Road? - Fourth Crusade (1202-4), Albigensian Crusade (1209-29) and Children’s Crusade (1212)
The Saint who led Crusaders – St Louis (King Louis IX of France) and the last great crusading efforts(1248-70)
The Rise of the Mamluks – Baybars from slave to sultan, destroyer of Christians, converter of the Mongols
The End of the Latin East (Fall of Acre, Sidon and Beirut (1291)
The Legacy of the Crusades for relations between Christians, Muslims and Jews and the notion of ‘Crusading’ in the modern world
On successful completion of the module a student will be able to:
- demonstrate a broad and systematic knowledge of the history of the Crusades between around 1000 AD and 1300 and an understanding of the pertinent historical and historiographical ideas;
- identify the different trends in interpreting this history, both in medieval culture and modern historiography;
- understand how the crusades were perceived, and how those perceptions reflect and contribute to our understanding of the period under examination;
- assess how such concepts as piety, chivalry, tolerance, Holy War and Jihad have shaped our understanding of the history of the crusades;
- integrate the history of the crusades into a broader European/Asian/African history in the period 1000 to 1300
- demonstrate an understanding of a range of concepts/perspectives/debates within the appropriate secondary literature;
- analyse key themes and issues in the history of the crusades in the light of those ideas/contexts/frameworks;
Skills that will be practised and developed:
- communicate ideas and arguments effectively, whether in class discussion or in written form, in an accurate, succinct and lucid manner.
- formulate and justify arguments and conclusions about a range of issues, and present appropriate supporting evidence
- an ability to modify as well as to defend their own position.
- an ability to think critically and challenge assumptions
- an ability to use a range of information technology resources to assist with information retrieval and assignment presentation.
- time management skills and an ability to independently to organise their own study methods and workload.
- work effectively with others as part of a team or group in seminar or tutorial discussions.
Suggested book purchases
Suggested preparatory reading
M. Bull, Knightly Piety and the Lay Response to the First Crusade (1993) - BR844.B8
P. Frankopan, The First Crusade: The Call from the East (2012)
F. Gabrieli, Arab Historians of the Crusades (1969) - D151.G2
M. C Lyons, Saladin: The Politics of the Holy War (1982) - DS38.4.S2.L9
C. MacEvitt, The Crusades and the Christian World of the East (2008) - D157.M2
A. Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1984) - D157.M2
J. Phillips, Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades (2010) –
J. Richard, The Crusades, c.1071 – c.1291, trans. J. Birrell (1999) - D157.R4
J. Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (1986) - D161.2.R4
J. Riley-Smith, ed., The Oxford Illustrated History if the First Crusade (1995) - D157.O9
P. Thorau, The Lion of Egypt: Sultan Baybars I and the Near East in the thirteenth century, trans., P.M. Holt. (1991) - DT96.3.B2.T4
C. Tyerman, God’s War: A New History of the Crusades (2006) - D157.T9