The World of the Crusades Christopher Tyerman

Publication date:
14 May 2019
Yale University Press
520 pages: 235 x 156mm
160 color illus., 14 maps and 4 figs
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A lively reimagining of how the distant medieval world of war functioned, drawing on the objects used and made by crusaders

Throughout the Middle Ages crusading was justified by religious ideology, but the resulting military campaigns were fueled by concrete objectives: land, resources, power, reputation. Crusaders amassed possessions of all sorts, from castles to reliquaries. Campaigns required material funds and equipment, while conquests produced bureaucracies, taxation, economic exploitation, and commercial regulation. Wealth sustained the Crusades while material objects, from weaponry and military technology to carpentry and shipping, conditioned them.
This lavishly illustrated volume considers the material trappings of crusading wars and the objects that memorialized them, in architecture, sculpture, jewelry, painting, and manuscripts. Christopher Tyerman’s incorporation of the physical and visual remains of crusading enriches our understanding of how the crusaders themselves articulated their mission, how they viewed their place in the world, and how they related to the cultures they derived from and preyed upon.

A note to readers: the grey-shaded pages throughout this volume look at the Crusades in detail, exploring individual themes such as food and drink, medicine, weapons and women’s role in the Crusades. These short essays are interspersed throughout the chapters and the main text will continue after each one. For instance, ‘Taking the Cross’ runs from pages 4 to 7, and the Introduction continues on p. 8.

Christopher Tyerman is professor of the history of the crusades at Oxford University and a fellow of Hertford College. His books include God’s War, The Debate on the Crusades, and How to Plan a Crusade. He lives in Oxford.

“Tyerman is a judicious and scholarly guide and readers will feel that they are drinking the distillation of a lifetime’s work on its subject”—James Barr, The Times

“Tyerman's new book offers a pleasing entry point. With 500 pages of detailed text and an array of images of art and artefacts, it combines the weight of an in-depth history with the flavouring of a visual history to help bring the subject to life.”—History Revealed (Book of the Month)

 “The World of the Crusades has a mass of new insights, many little-known anecdotes and a fresh approach to the subject” —Jonathan Sumption, Spectator

“Tyerman's narrative is rich and detailed, interspersed with the author's characteristically mordant humour”—Helen J. Nicholson, Times Literary Supplement

“This book succeeds magnificently in giving a clear picture of the Crusades as a whole, providing, at the same time, much fascinating detail” —Alan Borg, Church Times