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Remembering the Crusades

Myth, Image, and Identity

edited by Nicholas Paul and Suzanne Yeager

Publication Year: 2012

Few events in European history generated more historical, artistic, and literary responses than the conquest of Jerusalem by the armies of the First Crusade in 1099. This epic military and religious expedition, and the many that followed it, became part of the collective memory of communities in Europe, Byzantium, North Africa, and the Near East. Remembering the Crusades examines the ways in which those memories were negotiated, transmitted, and transformed from the Middle Ages through the modern period. Bringing together leading scholars in art history, literature, and medieval European and Near Eastern history, this volume addresses a number of important questions. How did medieval communities respond to the intellectual, cultural, and existential challenges posed by the unique fusion of piety and violence of the First Crusade? How did the crusades alter the form and meaning of monuments and landscapes throughout Europe and the Near East? What role did the crusades play in shaping the collective identity of cities, institutions, and religious sects? In exploring these and other questions, the contributors analyze how the events of the First Crusade resonated in a wide range of cultural artifacts, including literary texts, art and architecture, and liturgical ceremonies. They discuss how Christians, Jews, and Muslims recalled and interpreted the events of the crusades and what far-reaching implications that remembering had on their communities throughout the centuries. Remembering the Crusades is the first collection of essays to investigate the commemoration of the crusades in eastern and western cultures. Its unprecedented multidisciplinary and cross-cultural approach points the way to a complete reevaluation of the place of the crusades in medieval and modern societies.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Front Matter

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List of Illustrations

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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

This volume is the fruit of two felicitous meetings, both made possible by the wonderfully collegial atmosphere of the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University. The first was between the two editors, who wondered whether they might find some common ground between their own research—crusade and family memory, on the one hand, and crusade and...

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Introduction: Crusading and the Work of Memory, Past and Present

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pp. 1-25

In late November of 1097 the Picard nobleman Anselm of Ribemont composed a letter to Archbishop Manasses of Reims, informing him of the progress of the armies of the First Crusade, recently arrived before the city of Antioch in northern Syria. Anselm had been among those men and women who answered the call issued by Pope Urban...

Part 1: Remembrance and Response

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1. Memory, Wonder, and Desire in the Travels of Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Battuta

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pp. 29-49

Memories are not reconstructive but creative, concocted through flexible chains of association, pointing forward and backward in time in ways that are haphazard, proleptic, not fully in control. Memory simultaneously creates its subject, the rememberer, and its object, the past, which exist in a given form only as long as the process of...

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2. Constructing Memories of Martyrdom: Contrasting Portrayals of Martyrdom in the Hebrew Narratives of the First and Second Crusade

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pp. 50-68

The medieval european ideology of crusade appears, at first blush, to have little, if anything, to say about medieval Jews. And yet, when European Christians set out on crusade, Ashkenazic (or Northern European) Jewish communities were invariably caught up in their wake. In both the First Crusade (1096–99) and the Second Crusade (1146–48), the...

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3. Lambert of Saint-Omer and the Apocalyptic First Crusade

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pp. 69-95

Around the year 1112, Lambert, a canon of the Church of Saint-Omer, began an eight-year process of writing everything that he had ever learned into a book. He called it the Liber floridus to indicate the diversity of its contents, gathered, he says, ‘‘from the heavenly meadow.’’ Its texts and illustrations, preserved in an autograph manuscript at the...

Part 2: Sites and Structures: Cities, Buildings, and Bodies

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4. Remembering the Crusades in the Fabric of Buildings: Preliminary Thoughts about Alternating Voussoirs

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pp. 99-124

On 31 March 1146 King Louis VII of France traveled to the town of Vézelay. There, an unusually large crowd had assembled to witness ceremonies intended to visualize the launching of the Second Crusade. The king received a cross sent by Pope Eugenius III at a ceremony in which he and a group of nobles made their vow to join the crusade. He then...

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5. Commemorating the Fall of Jerusalem: Remembering the First Crusade in Text, Liturgy, and Image

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pp. 125-145

The earliest illustrated texts of William of Tyre’s History of Outremer, executed between 1244 and 1291, provide important evidence of the renewed interest in and awareness of the events surrounding the First Crusaders in the Holy Land. This discussion will focus on the story of the First Crusade as presented in the first eight...

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6. Erasing the Body: History and Memory in Medieval Siege Poetry

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pp. 146-173

For medieval readers, the experience of crusade could be recollected through two distinct discursive forms: the historical narration of chronicle accounts and the poetic narration found in the literary forms of epic and romance. This distinction is, needless to say, a false binary: as scholars such as Nancy Partner and Gabrielle Spiegel have...

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7. The Servile Mother: Jerusalem as Woman in the Era of the Crusades

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pp. 174-194

Among the several versions of Pope Urban’s speech at Clermont, that of Robert of Rheims, written around 1107, presents a distinct curiosity. In Robert’s version of events, the pope fervently recounted the alleged atrocities of the Saracens, even mentioning the ‘‘abominable rape of women.’’ Shortly thereafter, Urban described the plight of Jerusalem, a...

Part 3: Institutional Memory and Community Identity

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8. Saladin in Sunni and Shi’a Memories

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pp. 197-214

Saladin had a complex personality and lived in complex times. In Western historiography, a debate is evolving about the conflicting aspects of his personality and motivations, but in today’s Sunni and Shi’a memories of Saladin, there is little room for complexity or ambiguity. For the Sunni Muslims, his idealism and sincerity are beyond any doubt. He...

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9. Paul the Martyr and Venetian Memories of the Fourth Crusade

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pp. 215-232

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was both dark and stormy according to the Translatio corporis beatissimi Pauli martyris de Constantinopoli Venetias, a story of relic-theft that was written shortly after 1222 by an anonymous monk from the Venetian monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore. A Venetian ship on its way home from Constantinople ran...

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10. Aspects of Hospitaller and Templar Memory

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pp. 233-251

In the 1290s Frà William of Santo Stefano, the first serious historian of the Hospital of St. John, who wrote what is still the accepted account of its beginnings, was scathing about the myth-makers who had been at work: ‘‘Our order began in the manner I have found in histories which are received and believed as authoritative by all men. It is said that...

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11. Visual Self-Fashioning and the Seals of the Knights Hospitaller in England

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pp. 252-269

As highly mobile and intrinsically visual artifacts, medieval seals both embody and convey individual or institutional identity, sometimes providing the most complete record of a group’s structure and self-conception. This is certainly true of the seals of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England, whose visual culture was mostly...

List of Contributors

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pp. 271-276


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pp. 277-284

E-ISBN-13: 9781421406992
E-ISBN-10: 1421406993
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421404257
Print-ISBN-10: 1421404257

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 20 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 793012733
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Remembering the Crusades

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Crusades -- First, 1096-1099 -- In literature.
  • Crusades -- Influence.
  • Crusades -- First, 1096-1099 -- Historiography.
  • Crusades -- First, 1096-1099.
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