The First Crusade

By

Pope Urban’s 1095 clarion call to Western Christendom to re-take Jerusalem from the Turks is the background for many historical novels. In this fascinating book, Peter Frankopan examines contemporary Byzantine and Muslim sources alongside western ones to illuminate the pivotal part played by the Byzantine Emperor, Alexios I.

11th-century Constantinople was a wealthy, cosmopolitan city. Alexios was a ruler of exceptional ability who forged alliances with a number of Turkish chieftains to help control his eastern borders. When he appealed to Pope Urban for help against the Turks, he knew exactly what he was doing. This was the period of the Great Schism when there were two popes, and it was Pope Clement who was in the Vatican. Pope Urban’s call to crusade was a stroke of political genius; not only would Jerusalem be taken back into Christian hands, his own authority as legitimate leader of the faithful would be enhanced – at Clement’s expense.

I enjoyed Frankopan’s illumination of the political, religious and inter-racial complexities of the Byzantine Empire, Western Christendom and the Muslim world. Traditional views of the First Crusade have hitherto been one-sided, tending to rely over-much on western source material. The truth is far more complex and interesting. Recommended.

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Publisher

Published

Genre
,

Period

Century

Price
(UK) £20.00

ISBN
(UK) 9781847921550

Format
Hardback

Pages
262

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