All About the Crusades: Articles and Related Resources


If we want to see where the world seems seems to be headed, then we need to understand the Crusades.

Introduction to the Crusades

Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, 15th July 1099; 1847 (oil on canvas) by Signol, Emile (1804-92)
War in the name of God or religion is something that human society should gotten over long ago. Global statistics from countless surveys show that overall, people worldwide are becoming less religious. This doesn’t mean that there is no yearning for some type of spirituality. It’s just that public observance of the doctrines and rituals of organized religion is not as active as it used to be. For example, attendance at churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious institutions over the past few decades have been on the decline, especially in Europe.

And yet, conflict in the name of and between different religions seems to be on the rise. From the events of September 11th, 2001, to the almost daily acts of violence in many parts of the Middle East that seem to flood our screens and airwaves, there are many who think that a great war between the Christian and Islamic worlds is all but inevitable.

In order to understand this conflict and why it seems to be resurfacing in modern times, many have looked back to the Crusades, the protracted military conflict during the Middle Ages where the armies of Christendom and Islam fought with each other for the “Holy Land,” today what we’d call Israel/Palestine. Even after 900 or so years, the memory of that destructive conflict still resonates in the minds of many.

For example, after 9/11 and in the run up to the 2003 Iraq war, then President George W. Bush made the remark that the US was about to engage on a “crusade” against terrorism. Though he was not advocating a war between Christianity and Islam, his choice of words was not lost on many in the Middle East. One author writes that

[O]ut of a a desire to understand today’s events, many commentators turned to Christianity’s holy wars: the crusades. It was their legacy, some contended, that had led directly to the attacks. When President George W. Bush spoke of the new war on terrorism as a “crusade” he was rondly criticized for the perceived suggestion that it was a war of Christianity against Islam. His aide apologized, saying that the president had only used the term in its sense of a campaign, but in the Middle East the remark was thought to confirm a popular assessment of Americans and Europeans as “crusaders.” 1

Contrary to popular opinion, the Crusades were not just fought in the Middle East, but also waged in Spain, Portugal, the Balkans and many other parts of the Mediterranean world. They were fought on many fronts and sometimes among Christian sects themselves.

My personal “crusade”

I myself have been fascinated with tales of kings, queens, knights, the Middle East and the wars between Christendom and Dar al-Islam since a child. The Crusades encompass all of this and much more. It really is one of the most interesting periods of history. It’s also extremely important that we continue to study them for many reasons, a big one these being not to repeat the mistakes made during that era.

I hope that these series of articles, links and other resources prove to be useful in your own study of the Crusades. This page will be constantly updated so please, visit often.

Now, let’s get started.

Sources and Further Reading:

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