As the editor notes in his introduction to this collection, the events of 2001 and after have created intense interest in the Crusades and the conflict between Christianity and Islam and the West in the Middle Ages. A wealth of publications has appeared from popular histories to detailed articles in academic journals.
In the Middle Ages a series of Old French knightly-spoken poems known as chansons de geste, devoted to the subject of crusades, took shape in the north of France.
In an age of crisis a late Roman bureaucrat offered a plan for reforming military recruitment and training to an unnamed emperor, who requested the project’s continuation.
The main charateristic of Crusade studies in the post-Runciman era has been expansion and diversification (much like the crusading ‘movement’ itself). One of many new ways into the topic is to focus on how crusades and crusading were received, understood and interpreted by different social groupings.
No exhibition can guarantee a museum a popular success, but the Vikings must surely offer a pretty good shot at it. Where often it is a challenge to establish the identity of an historical culture or phenomenon for a potential audience, absolutely no such problem exists for the Vikings, for everyone – even those who know nothing about history – knows about the Vikings.