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Cardiff Centre for the Crusades

The Cardiff Centre for the Crusades was established in 2000 to encourage and develop Cardiff as a focus for research collaboration, conferences and publications in the field of crusading history. It is based in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion and includes leading members from all three departments within the School. The Director of the Centre is Professor Helen Nicholson.

The Centre’s interests embrace the history and ideology of the crusading movement, the history and archaeology of the lands conquered by the crusaders, the impact of the crusades on those lands and peoples against which expeditions were directed and from which expeditions were launched, and the history of the Military Orders. All theatres of crusading activity and any crusade from the end of the eleventh century onwards are included.



Professor Nicholson is a historian of the Military Orders and the Crusades, and the depiction of the Military Orders in literary sources. Among her publications are: The Proceedings Against the Templars in the British Isles, 2 vols (Ashgate, 2011); The Knights Hospitaller (Boydell, 2001); The Knights Templar: A New History (Sutton, 2001); Love, War and the Grail: Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights in medieval epic and romance, c.1150-1500 (Brill, 2000); and Chronicle of the Third Crusade: A Translation of the Itinerarium Peregrinorum (Ashgate, 1997). She is also the editor or co-editor of several volumes of research papers, including: The Military Orders: Welfare and Warfare (Ashgate, 1998); Palgrave Advances in the Crusades (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); and, with Jochen Burgtorf and Paul F. Crawford, The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (1307–1314) (Ashgate, 2010). 


Professor Trombley’s research interests embrace: warfare, state, society and religion in the Late Roman, Byzantine and Islamic Near East; Arabic, early Christian and Byzantine epigraphy and papyrology; and the expansion of Christianity and Islam in the Mediterranean and its hinterlands.


Associate Members

Elena Bellomo is working on the new Latin edition and Italian translation of the crusader chronicles written by the Genoese annalist Caffaro, and the anonymous Regni Ierosolymitani brevis hystoria. Her work on the military orders currently focuses on the Spanish Military Orders in Italy and the Hospitaller Priory of Lombardy (XII-XV centuries).


Professor Edbury is a specialist on the history and institutions of the Latin East and Cyprus between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries and on Latin Syrian legal literature. He has re-edited the two greatest legal treatises from the Latin East, those by John of Ibelin count of Jaffa (Brill 2003) and Philip of Novara (Cyprus Research Centre 2009). Other publications include: Kingdoms of the Crusaders: From Jerusalem to Cyprus (Ashgate, 1999); John of Ibelin and Kingdom of Jerusalem (Boydell, 1997); The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade (Scolar, 1996); The Kingdom of Cyprus and the Crusades, 1191-1374 (Cambridge, 1991); and, jointly with the late Professor J.G. Rowe, William of Tyre: Historian of the Latin East (Cambridge, 1988).


Rabei Khamisy was awarded his PhD at the University of Haifa in 2012. He is currently revising and expanding the topic of his thesis as a book, Fiefs, Fortresses, Villages and Farms in Western Galilee and Southern Lebanon in the Frankish period (1104-1291): Political, Social and Economic Activities, to be published by Brill. Another book, Montfort (Starkenberg): History, Early Research and Recent Studies of the Principal Teutonic Fortress in the Latin East, co-edited with Adrian J. Boas (University of Haifa), is due to be published by Brill in 2013. He has published papers based on Archaeology and on contemporary Frankish and Mamluk sources. Rabei is assistant director of the MCP (Montfort Castle Project) since 2006.


Professor Pringle is a leading authority on the archaeology, architecture and topography of the Crusader States in the Levant. Among his numerous publications are The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: A Corpus, 4 vols. (Cambridge, 1993–2009); Churches, Castles and Landscape in the Frankish East (Ashgate, 2013); Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1187-1291 (Ashgate, 2012); Fortification and Settlement in Crusader Palestine (Ashgate, 2000); Secular Buildings in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (Cambridge, 1997); The Red Tower: Settlement in the Plain of Sharon at the Time of the Crusaders and Mamluks (British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1986); and, with Richard Harper, Belmont Castle: the Excavation of a Crusader Stronghold in the Kingdom of Jerusalem (Oxford, 2000). He is also an associate editor of the journal Levant and archaeology editor of Crusades


Research Projects

Major Research Projects currently in hand by members of the Centre include the Walls of Medieval Ascalon project, directed by Denys Pringle in association with the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon (directors: Professor Lawrence Stager, University of Harvard, and Professor Daniel Master, Wheaton College) and the Council for British Research in the Levant, and also involving Frances Healy.

Peter Edbury is currently leading an AHRC-funded project to investigate the manuscript traditions and produce new editions of the Old French Continuations of William of Tyre and the related text known as La chronique d’Ernoul et de Bernard le Trésorier. These narratives are fundamental for our understanding of the history of the Latin East in the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries. For further details see the project web page. His other major project (in collaboration with Dr Nicholas Coureas of the Cyprus Research Centre, Nicosia) is to produce an English translation with commentary of the so-called Chronique d’Amadi.

Helen Nicholson is currently working on the estates of the Knights Templar in England and Wales during the period 1308–1313, when they were being administered by royal officials. She is in the process of transcribing and analysing the records held in the National Archives: Public Record Office at Kew.

Denys Pringle is completing the final report on the archaeological assessment of ‘Aqaba Castle that he conducted with the later Professor John De Meulemeester (University of Ghent) in 2001–4. He is also currently editing a volume of historical, archaeological and architectural studies on the Palestinian town of Ramla in the medieval and Ottoman periods with Andrew Petersen (University of Wales Trinity St Davids).

Conferences and Workshops

In September 2009 the Cardiff Centre for the Crusades hosted the highly successful fifth international conference of the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East on the Military Orders. Almost 100 people attended, mostly from Europe and North America. Thirty-eight of the papers, edited by Peter Edbury, were published by Ashgate in 2012.

Details of the Centre’s 2014–15 seminar series are given below.

Postgraduate Research

Current PhDs

Betty Binysh. Living in Peace in the Latin East during the Crusades (1097 to 1291) (Supervisor: Helen Nicholson)

Hannah Buckingham. Identity and Archaeology in Everyday Life: The Material Culture of the Crusader States. (Supervisors: Denys Pringle and Helen Nicholson)

Heather Crowley. Exploring the Impact of the Crusaders on Rural Settlement: Village Structure and Obligations in the Levant. (Supervisors: Denys Pringle and Stephen Mills)

Michael Fulton. The Impact of Traction and Counterweight Stone-throwing Artillery in the Crusader States. (Supervisors: Denys Pringle and Paul Nicholson)

Deborah Gammill. The Essential Architectural Elements that Shaped Islamic Urban Development: Ramla from the Umayyad to the Mamluk Periods. (Supervisor: Denys Pringle)

Gregory Leighton: Terra matris: the castles of the military orders and the sacred geography of the Baltic Crusades (Supervisors: Helen Nicholson and  Jenny Benham);

Nicholas McDermott: The Military Orders and Slavery: dispersed, profitable, accepted (Supervisors Helen Nicholson and Dave Wyatt)

Christie Majoros. The Function of Hospitaller Houses in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. (Supervisor: Helen Nicholson)

Cláudio Neto. Memory and Representation of the Military Orders in the Portuguese Kingdom (1217-1417). (Supervisor: Helen Nicholson)

Dweezil Vandekerckhove. The Armenians in Cilicia: Fortifications and Rural Settlements in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, c.1100–1375. (Supervisors: Denys Pringle and Frank Trombley)


Recently Completed PhDs

Micaela Sinibaldi. Villages of Crusader Transjordan: Production, Circulation and Use of Ceramics in the Twelfth Century AD, 2014

Majed Almutairi: The Archaeology of Kuwait. 2012.

Philip Handyside. The Old French Translation of William of Tyre. 2012.

Balázs Major. Medieval Rural Settlements in the Syrian Coastal Region: 12th and 13th Centuries. 2008.

Elena Kaffa. The Greek Church of Cyprus, the Morea and Constantinople during the Frankish Era (1196–1301). 2009.

Andrew Petersen. The Towns of Palestine under Muslim Rule, AD 600–1600. 2002.

James Petre. Crusader Castles of Cyprus: The Fortifications of Cyprus under the Lusignans, 1191–1489. 2010.

Jennifer Thompson. Death and Burial in the Latin East: A Study of the Crusader Cemetery at ‘Atlit, Israel. 2007.

Seminar Programme 2014–15

Seminars are held at 5.10 pm in Room 2.03 of the John Percival Building

Autumn Semester

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Dr Kevin Lewis

Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, London

'The best laid schemes? The formation of the ‘crusader’ county of Tripoli in the post-Byzantine and post-Fatimid Levant'


Tuesday 25 November 2014

Christie Majoros

PhD Candidate, SHARE, Cardiff University

'Through the Local Lens: Re-Examining the Function of the Hospitallers in England'


Spring Semester

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Dr Simon John

Balliol College, Oxford

(Title to be announced)


Tuesday 17 March 2015

Hannah Buckingham

PhD Candidate, SHARE, Cardiff University

'Material Culture and Diplomacy during the Crusades'


Tuesday 21 April 2015

Dr Michael Carr

Dept of History, Edinburgh University

'Between Mamluks, Turks and the Curia: Latin Merchants in the Fourteenth-Century Mediterranean'