A History of the Crusades I
'The whole tale is one of faith and folly, courage and greed, hope and delusion.'
The Christian and Muslim empires of the Middle East had fought each other for centuries, two ancient, powerful civilizations, in some ways very familiar to one another. In 1095 something extraordinary happened. The Pope issued an appeal to the leaders of western Europe to recover the Christian Holy Places from Islamic rule. The response to his appeal was overwhelming as, in scenes of hysteria, many thousands of men volunteered to leave their old lives behind and march to rescue Jerusalem. Now, across western Europe, everyone from monarchs to beggars were planning to travel many hundreds of dangerous miles in search of salvation, riches or both.
A triumph of prose-writing, argument and research, Steven Runciman's A History of the Crusades is an unimprovable account of events which changed the world and which still resonate today. In this first volume he tells the story of the First Crusade - from its unlikely beginnings to the horrors of the siege of Jerusalem and the carving out of aggressive new western European states on the edge of the eastern Mediterranean.