Byzantium and the Crusades

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Hambledon and London, 2003 - History - 259 pages

The first great city the crusaders came to in 1089 was not Jerusalem but Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire. Almost as much as Jerusalem itself, Constantinople was the key to the foundation, survival and ulti-mate eclipse of the crusading kingdom.

The Byzantines had developed an ideology over seven hundred years which placed Constantinople rather than Rome or Jerusalem at the centre of the world. The attitudes of its rulers reflected this priority, and led to tensions with the cru-saders over military and diplomatic strat-egy At the same time, the riches and sophistication of the great city made a lasting impression on the crusaders, even though they found Byzantine society alien and remote. Tn the end, the lure of the city`s wealth was irresistibly fatal to the claims of Christian unity In 1204 the Fourth Crusade, under the Venetian doge Enrico Dandolo, captured and sacked Constantinople, signalling the effective end of almost a thousand years of Byzantine dominance in the east.

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User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

Mr. Harris is of the opinion that the attack on Constantinople by the 4th Crusade was motivated by the treatment of the German contingent of the 3rd Crusade. He has assembled a good deal of evidence. This theme is further explored by Lilie in "Byzantium and the Crusader States." Read full review

Byzantium and the Crusades

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

These timely volumes trace centuries of conflict between Christians and the followers of other faiths, including Islam. Medievalist Hindley (The Shaping of Europe) concentrates on the best-known ... Read full review


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About the author (2003)

Jonathan Harris taught English in Turkey before completing his doctorate in Byzantine History in 1993. He is currently Reader in Byzantine History at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. He is the author of Byzantium and the Crusades (Continuum).

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