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Thu 18 Dec 2014 @ 12:47

Ideas for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity next month: #WPCU2015

First Crusade

The Call from the East


This item is out of stock.
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN-13: 9781847921550
Published: 05/02/2011
Product description
In 1096, an expedition of extraordinary scale and ambition set off from Western Europe on a mass pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Three years later, after a journey which saw acute hardship, the most severe dangers and thousands of casualties, the knights of the First Crusade found themselves storming the fortifications and capturing the Holy City from its Muslim overlords. Against all the odds, the expedition had returned Jerusalem to Christian hands. With its themes of the rise of the papacy, the confrontation between Christianity and Islam, the evolution of the concept of holy war, of knightly piety and religious devotion, the First Crusade is one of the best-known and most written-about events in history. Yet this fascinating and innovative study, Peter Frankopan shifts the paradigm and asks vital questions that have never been posed before. Why was there an overwhelming desire to liberate Jerusalem in the mid-1090s, given that the city had been taken by the Muslims nearly 500 years earlier? What were the causes of the Crusade in the east which provoked such an overwhelming response in the west? What role was played by the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople in the genesis and execution of the expedition? In short, why was there a First Crusade? Rather than concentrating on the pope and the knights of western Europe who have dominated the history of the First Crusade for centuries, Frankopan focuses on Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. He brilliantly restores the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to the heart of the story, with a series of catastrophic events in the mid-1090s serving to paint a compelling and strikingly original picture of the expedition to Jerusalem that will change our understanding of the Crusades as a whole.
Product Reviews

"Peter Frankopan's reassessment of the Byzantine contribution to the origins and course of the First Crusade offers a compelling and challenging balance to traditional accounts. Based on fresh interpretations of primary sources, lucidly written and forcefully argued, The First Crusade will demand attention from scholars while providing an enjoyable and accessible narrative for the general reader" -- Christopher Tyerman, Author Of God's War: A New History Of The Crusades "In this fluent and dramatic account, Frankopan - quite rightly - places the Emperor Alexios at the heart of the First Crusade... Frankopan illuminates the complex challenges that faced Alexios and deftly depicts the boldness and finesse needed to survive in the dangerous world of medieval Byzantium" -- Jonathan Phillips, Author Of Holy Warriors "A dazzling book, perfectly combining deep scholarship and easy readability. The most important addition to Crusading literature since Runciman" -- John Julius Norwich "Frankopan [writes with] tremendous literary verve. The cry to free Jerusalem has never been better expressed. Frankopan's creative revisionism pierces the armour of medieval history with a new weapon: the call of the East" -- Colin Gardner Oxford Times "A nuanced and often counterintuitive story of power politics, international diplomacy and war and, ultimately that very rare thing - a truly fresh interpretation of an old story" -- Michael Hodges Time Out

Author Information

Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan is Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford and Director the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University. He took a First in History and was Schiff Scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge before completing his doctorate at Oxford, where he was Senior Scholar at Corpus Christi College. He has lectured at leading universities all over the world, including Cambridge, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, NYU, King's College London, and the Institute of Historical Research. His revised translation of The Alexiad by Anna Komnene was published in 2009.

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