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Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades

Jonathan Phillips

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Published by Bodley Head, part of Vintage Publishing

Format: Hardback

£20.00

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EAN: 9780224079372
Published: 29 Oct 2009

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About the book

Synopsis

Holy war: Christianity versus Islam. Brutality, greed, honour, chivalry; the clink of chain mail, the clatter of hooves, the call of the muezzin. Such are the stock ingredients of the Crusades. But to what extent do the stereotypes fit with the reality?

In his remarkable new book, Jonathan Phillips explores this conflict of ideas, beliefs and cultures and shows both the contradictions and the diversity of holy war: friendships and alliances between Christians and Muslims; triumphs of diplomacy rather than the sword; the launch of crusades against Christians, and calls for jihads against Muslims.

Phillips draws on contemporary writings - on chronicles, songs, sermons, travel diaries, letters, financial accounts and peace treaties - to throw a brilliant new lights on people and events we thought we knew well: the bloody conquest of Jerusalem in the First Crusade; the titanic struggle between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin; the breathtaking naivety of the Children's Crusade; and the ruthless suppression of the Knight's Templar.

Less familiar but no less central are the stories of the intimidating and astute politician, Queen Melisende of Jerusalem; the fiery preacher, Al-Sulami; the Arab-speaking excommunicate and Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II.

Over time the Crusades were directed against a variety of opponents: not only Muslims in the Middle East but against Cathar heretics, political enemies of the papacy, the Mongols, pagan tribes of northern Europe, and the Ottoman Turks. Although the notion of fighting for one's faith fell into disrepute in the Enlightenment, in a final chapter Jonathan Phillips traces the crusading impulse up to the present day - to George W. Bush's characterization of the war on terrorism as a crusade.

Vivid, original and illuminating, Holy Warriors provides an unparalleled account of one of the great cultural, political and religious movements in world history.

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About the Author

Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of The Second Crusade: Extending the Frontiers of Christianity; The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople; The Crusades, 1095-1197; Defenders of the Holy Land, 1119-1187 and the co-editor of three academic essay collections on the Crusades. He has made numerous radio and television appearances, including: Boris Johnson and the Dream of Rome; The Crusades (with Rageh Omaar) in the Christianity series on Channel 4, and The Crescent and the Cross.

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