restricted access La Chrétienté et l'idée de Croisade (review)
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Short notices Alphandery, Paul and Alphonse Dupront, La Chretiente et I'idee de Croisade, postface de Michel Balard (Bibliotheque de «L'evolution de l'humanite»), 2nd ed., Paris, Editions Albin Michel, 1995; pp. 597; R.R.P. ? The history of the making of this book is almost as fascinating as the book itself. It was conceived in the years before the First World War by Paul Alphandery, who continued to work on it until his death in 1932. His student Alphonse Dupront then undertook to see it to publication at the request of Alphandery's family but took over twenty years to complete his task, the book finally appearing in two volumes in 1954 and 1959. The book whichfinallyappeared was not the one which Alphandery conceived. At his death he left a typescript of 1098 pages which he had used for his seminar at the Ecole pratique des hautes etudes, but which was incomplete. H e had only begun to work on the thirteenth century. The tasks offillingout the work on the one hand and of editing it down for publication on the other had to be done by Dupront. Predictably, the process of seeing Alphandery's work through to publication was complicated by the different nature of Dupront's interests to those of his master. H e was far more interested in the psychological aspects of religion than Alphanery had been, and in 1956 he defended at the Sorbonne his own massive and still unpublished doctoral thesis of 2,681 pages on Le mythe de Croisade. Essai de sociologie religieuse. The valuable postface by Michel Balard draws out this internal history of the book and comments upon its continuing value extremely well. In the 1950s the work of Alphandery and Dupront was important because it brought to the study of the Crusades new insights from the perspective of the history of mentalities, collective psychology, the history of ideas, and popular religion. Any serious student of the Crusades must s t i l l read it, and for that reason this new paperback edition is very welcome. But the book has attracted criticism, particularly directed at aspects of its methodology, and the enormous advances made in Crusading studies since then has made of it a book which will increasingly be read more for its stimulus than for its authority. Whereas Karl Erdmann's Die Enstehung des Kreuzzugsgedankens (1935) was translated into English in as 77ie origin of 194 Short notices the idea of Crusade (1977), one feels that Alphandery and Dupront probably never will be now. John H. Pryor Department of History University of Sydney Atti del Convegno "Strevi nel millenio" 991-1991, Alessandria, Comune di Strevi, 1991; paper; pp. 166; numerous colour and monochrome plates (not numbered); R.R.P. ? This attractive publication celebrates the millenium of the oldest known reference to the small town of Strevi (Septebrium) in the province of Alessandria. It contains a number of papers of interest to medievalists including "II monachesimo nella diocesi di Acqui", "Strevi tra acquesi ed alessandrini nei secoli XII-XIII", "II culto di San Bovo in Strevi", and "In margine al dibattito sui nome di Strevi". However, the most important study consists of the Latin text and an Italian translation of "La carta di fondazione e donazione dell'abbazia di San Quintino in Spigno—4 maggio 991", in which Strevi is mentioned for thefirsttime (as Septeuro). John H. Pryor Department of History University of Sydney Beckwith, Christopher I., The Tibetan empire in central Asia: a history o the strugglefor great power among Tibetans, Turks, Arabs and Chinese during the early Middle Ages, 4th printing, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1993; paper; pp. xxii, 281; 2 maps; R.R.P. U S $ ? As Professor Beckwith says in the Afterword which has been added to the paperback edition of this book, ' . . . the total number of "specialists" in early medieval Central Asian history probably does not exceed a dozen worldwide' (and this reviewer is certainly not one of them). One might wonder, therefore, why such a book has m n through two additional printings in hard cover and now a paperback edition since it was first published in 1987? The answer is, simply, that...


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