"I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to [persuade] all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it is meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it." (Pope Urban II, 1095)
Of the many campaigns during the Middle Ages, few are as remarkable or seemingly impossible to win at the start as the First Crusade (1095-99), and the true crowning achievement of that crusade, which resulted in two centuries of Western European Christian states in the Middle East and the permanent firing of the European imagination, was the conquest of Jerusalem on July 15, 1099 after three weeks of siege. That victorious siege came four years after the call for a crusade first went out, and had the Crusaders not taken Jerusalem, the First Crusade would not likely have been followed by any more and the campaign might have been no more than an historical footnote of what could have been.
As it turned out, the siege of Jerusalem and the crusade as a whole says much about the first major clash of Western and Eastern military tactics after the fall of the Roman Empire, as well as the power of faith and even fanaticism to motivate people beyond ordinary human endurance. For better and worse, the siege and fall of Jerusalem to the Crusaders has become a fundamental piece in the current view of the West in that part of the world. Indeed, to this day, the First Crusade remains a polarizing event, even among modern historians.
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A brutal part of history little known to many
Knowing a part of history knowing to not many, and may explain or at least gives indications to problems we have today, almost 900 years later.
There is no specific character in the book.
Not exactly a "favorite: but the description of what done inside the walls of Jerusalem is quite shocking.
It is short so I did in a couple driving commutes. Yes, you want to reach the end although the amount of historic records is hard to keep tracking. I wish I could take notes to remember some events.
I'm starting to enjoy the brief historic books from Charles River Editors. Worth the almost $5 for 1.5 hours of very interesting listening.
- D Steyer