Producer: A&E for the History Channel
Director: David Wallace
I watched the above (4) video set as of this date about 10 times. It was developed to simplify and make easy (even funny) the facts of the various Crusades. It was in my opinion very easy to watch and yet very academic at the same time.
This is not the only source available on the subject of course. The sources are huge and very conflicting on certain points about the crusades.
I attended various lectures back 5 to 6 years ago. I have no notes at this time. I have also read various books, papers and articles over the years. The papers and articles I do not have anymore.
But the book I have posted here below (and the movie posted above) covers a lot of the subject and references much my resources. The book is the precursor to the made for TV movie.
This subject of course is filled with historical elements all from a vast array of social, political and imperial drama that plaid out over the European continent which greatly impacted the “western church”. Details are sketchy on certain issues and vary from one source to the next on others.
It seems that in some ways
the crusades and its impact are in the eye of the beholder. For example I have read various Christian reports regarding cannibalism among the “crusader” written at the time. In modern times certain scholars dis-approve of those writings regarding cannibalism among the crusaders as real history and some scholars insist that it is real history…true. I guess each of us has to look at the material available and make our judgments accordingly since the "well-studied" of Academia can't seem to meet at all edges of the subject and I am far from anything even resembling a scholar.
I have done so for myself and thus maintain my views of this period I already posted as accurate albeit 'debateable' . That is why I started the thread to open a discussion. NOT to try and excersise any scholarly prowess on my part with proofs, footnotes, back-up, case studies and the like and definately NOT to create a tit-for-tat fact-biting
enviroment which this has degenerated into. I was willing to share MY views and compare with those who may be more informed.
This is why I said that the subject should be looked into by Ebor himself. In hopes that he would engage the subject of the thread instead of bulking at my views
in an "arm-chair" sort of "you-gotta-show-me" sort of fashion.
It seemed to me that if I have nothing to offer a point of view on a thread (or vehemently disagree with the points made by someone) I simply just stay out of the thread instead of incumbering the discussion. Or I post factual data to refute what I think is bad info or lack of info.
I do not post on forums or expect to receive from forums exhaustive scholarly work (or back-up) published within each thread by each person who I feel has a point of view that needs to be confirmed and checked for accuracy and or “truth”. Who made me the intellegence and truth police is my thinking. That goes for all others as well in my mind.
I thought that is why the thread area is 'Various-Discussions' ....I thought. If it were one of the faith or religious forums than OK we must be more exacting and as such a case my views would be up for this kind of scrutiny. This thread was moved into this area after I already made my points.
The following book as mentioned above.
I took the liberty of adding a book review below:Crusades by Terry Jones and Alan Ereira
4 Stars Recommended Reading Level: College and up
This book is the companion to the very popular A&E TV special that ran back in 1995.
Terry Jones, to his credit, has several books, including "Chaucer's Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary" and some children's books. His television work also includes "The Complete and Utter History of Britain". Alan Ereira is a producer of many historical documentaries for the BBC.
Terry Jones is probably best known for his work with "Monty Python" but this work, while sometimes humorous, is not "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".
Terry Jones presents us with the book companion to an A&E documentary on the Crusades (DVD available) that covered the time period from the First Crusade (1099 CE) to it's final ending at the fall of Acre to the Mameluk's in 1291 CE.
Terry Jones tongue in cheek style of presenting the history dominates both the DVD and the book. No one is left unscathed, Crusaders or Moslems. Terry Jones points out the obvious wanton waste of lives, the continued stupidity of historians to paint a gilded picture of the Crusaders and their cause, and brings to light some very good historical references. He also, unfortunately, got a few "tiny bits" wrong. But for the most part, it is historically accurate.
Terry Jones is an entertainer, and because of this, the DVD tends to be more of a theatrical production than the book. The book, however, is a very valuable reference for those interested in the Crusades. Again, while being entertaining, it takes what has been dealt with in other works as very cut and dry and makes it a very interesting read. The book is chock full of pictures from manuscripts and photos of places that are important to the history. Also included are some maps to help you track the progress.
The book is well written, following a chronological history of the Crusaders through the Holy Land. It is easy to follow, it is interesting in its content, and does not fail to hold the attention of the reader. There are many "gee, I didn't know that" moments. There are also Terry Jones' biting satirical remarks. The approach is from a historical and not a Christian viewpoint, while still maintaining the fervor and the cause for event. The Moslems are treated with respect when they deserve it, and the Christians are called upon to answer for some of their deeds. This is what made the DVD and the book different; we see things from the viewpoint of someone who challenges us not to look at the Crusades as a respected institution.
The book includes the battle, the intrigues, all the court dramas and interesting "side line" notes. It does not wash over the blood and guts of the Crusades. Yet, Terry Jones manages to approach this all with intelligence and common sense.
Depending on your own personal view of the Crusades, this book can be beneficial in opening up a whole new look at the Crusades. I would recommend it for college level students and over who will find it a very interesting read, challenging some of the more accepted renderings of the Crusade story. And if you can find a copy of the DVD to go along with it, give that a watch, as it provides you with Terry himself relating the story which is as entertaining as it is thought provoking.
Also I have noted some resources below regarding the specific issue of ‘cannibalism’:Radulph of Caen 1098,
An eyewitness to events at Ma'arra in 1098, wrote, "In Ma'arra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking-pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled." Albert of Aix ca 1099
The chronicler Albert of Aix seemed to rank Muslims lower than dogs when he wrote, "Not only did our troops not shrink from eating dead Turks and Saracens; they also ate "dogs".Guibert of Nogent
Guibert of Nogent, in his work Historia Hierosolymitana, provides more details on the incident of cannibalism at Ma'arra. There he notes that whenever the Tafurs who took part in the expedition discovered "scraps of flesh from the pagan's bodies" cannibalism was practiced with little discretion. According to Guibert, the Tafurs were well aware that the Muslims feared them because of cannibalism. For that reason, on at least one occasion, the Tafurs publicly "roasted the bruised body of a Turk over a fire as if it were meat for eating, in full view of the Turkish forces." Guibert notes that the Franks also practiced cannibalism, but they did so "in secret and as rarely as possible." Fulcher of Chartres
Fulcher of Chartres also refers to the same instance of cannibalism at Ma'arra. In his Historia Hierosolymitana, also known as A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem, Fulcher confirms that when the crusaders "suffered from excessive hunger" at Ma'arra, they engaged in cannibalism. He wrote, "I shudder to say that many of our men, terribly tormented by the maddness of starvation, cut pieces of flesh from the buttocks of Saracens lying there dead. These pieces they cooked and ate, savagely devouring the flesh while it was insufficiently roasted."
Also the following recorded incidents of cannibalism:Raymond of d'AguilersAnonymous author of the Gesta FrancorumAnna Comnena- Normans- Roasted babies
It should be noted that the accusation of 'eating babies' (not made by me) may be the one
element of the “cannibalism’ issue among the crusaders that I have read about that may be untrue
. I have read papers on the subject and while opinions and evidence is wildly presumptuous in my view; I decided to handle this ‘one’ aspect as ‘possible but untrue’.
A Dr. Helen Nicholson (the last name may be spelled wrong) has written exclusively on this ‘one’ incredible aspect.