Fighting for the Cross introduces the subject of crusading by exploring the experiences and ideas of individual crusaders travelling to the Holy Land between 1095 and 1291.
It is nearly a century and a half since Bernhard Kugler published the last substantial monograph devoted to the Second Crusade (Studien zur Geschichte des zweitenKreuzzugs (1)), a book which was disadvantaged by being printed in gothic typeface as well as academic German.
In March 1208 Pope Innocent III proclaimed a crusade against Raimon VI, count of Toulouse, and the ‘Provençal heretics’ supposedly infesting the comital lands between the Garonne and Rhöne Rivers. All those ‘signed with the cross’ were offered the same rights and privileges as crusaders journeying to the Holy Land.
‘I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: And showing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments’ (Ex. 20:5–6). Medieval crusaders, argues Susanna A.
The main aim of this book is to answer the following question: how does one account for the speed with which the Arab empire was built? The period covered extends from the rise of Islam down to the middle of the eighth century.
Why would a hardened band of foreign jihādi warriors agree to work for a self-proclaimed leader of the Christian world – especially one militantly opposed to Islam, who kept his own Muslim citizens under close surveillance? And why would such a ruler choose to keep that particular type of professional killer in his personal employ?
For generations of historians, the fall of the Christian-held city of Acre to the Mamluk forces of al-Ashraf Khalil in 1291 brought about the end of the crusading era.
History has not been kind to the reputation of Pope Honorius III (1216–27).