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Crusader Castles and Modern Histories


  • Date Published: November 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521123648

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About the Authors
  • For the last 150 years the historiography of the Crusades has been dominated by nationalist and colonialist discourses in Europe and the Levant. These modern histories have interpreted the Crusades in terms of dichotomous camps, Frankish and Muslim. In this revisionist study, Ronnie Ellenblum presents an interpretation of Crusader historiography that instead defines military and architectural relations between the Franks, local Christians, Muslims and Turks in terms of continuous dialogue and mutual influence. Through close analysis of siege tactics, defensive strategies and the structure and distribution of Crusader castles, Ellenblum relates patterns of crusader settlement to their environment and demonstrates the influence of opposing cultures on tactics and fortifications. He argues that fortifications were often built according to economic and geographic considerations rather than for strategic reasons or to protect illusory 'frontiers', and that Crusader castles are the most evident expression of a cultural dialogue between east and west.

    • Includes a review of the historiography of the Crusades
    • Based upon both Latin and Arabic sources
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'A significant work of scholarship … bold and innovative, extremely well-written … At heart, Ellenblum has written a study which is a new historical perspective on the crusading era.' Professor Jill Claster, New York University

    Review of the hardback: 'This … would be of interest to castle enthusiasts, cultural and other historians and those who seek answers to the region's problems in lessons from the past, but the text is easy to read and accessible to the lay reader.' CHS Newsletter

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521123648
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. National Discourse and the Study of the Crusades:
    1. From moral failure to a source of pride
    2. The narrative of the Crusades and the nationalist discourse
    3. Nationalist discourse and Crusader archaeology
    Part II. Crusader Studies Between Colonialist and Post-Colonialist Discourse:
    4. Colonial and anti-colonial interpretations
    5. Who invented the concentric castles?
    6. 'Crusader cities,' 'Muslim cities,' and the post-Colonial debate
    7. Crusader castle and Crusader city: is it possible to differentiate between the two?
    Part III. Geography of Fear and the Spatial Distribution of Frankish Castles:
    8. Borders and their defence
    9. Borders, frontiers, and centres
    10. The geography of fear and the creation of the Frankish Frontier
    11. The distribution of Frankish Castles during the twelfth century
    Part IV. The Castle as Dialogue between Siege Tactics and Defence Strategy:
    12. Siege and defence of castles during the First Crusade
    13. Frankish siege tactics
    14. Development of Muslim siege tactics
    15. Sieges of the 1160s and 1170s and the appearance of the concentric castles
    16. The construction of a frontier castle: the case of Vadum Iacob
    17. The last years of the Latin kingdom: a new balance of power

  • Author

    Ronnie Ellenblum, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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