Chapter 9: Conquests, Crusades, and Persecutions, c. 1100-1300



Medieval Crusades, from the History Channel

People with a History: Medieval Worlds (on homosexuality)

De Re Militari: Medieval Military History


TEST YOURSELF: Have you read Chapter 9 adequately? Test yourself here.


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David Abulafia, The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms 1200–1500: The Struggle for Dominion (1997). For the centuries it covers, this is the place to start for the history of Spain, Sicily, and the southern Italian peninsula. See also Bernard F. Reilly, The Medieval Spains (1993), and Donald Matthew, The Norman Kingdom of Sicily (1992).

Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950–1350 (1993). An essential new analysis; see pages 269–291 for the “Europeanization of Europe.” See also J. R. S. Phillips, The Medieval Expansion of Europe (second edition, 1998).

Robert Chazan, In the Year 1096: The First Crusade and the Jews (1996). Brief and readable.  See also his The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom (2006). See also Miri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews (1999).

Eric Christiansen, The Northern Crusades: The Baltic and the Catholic Frontier, 1100–1525 (second edition, 1997). The best study of the German advances and reversals to the northeast.

Niall Christie, Muslims and Crusaders: Christianity's Wars in the Middle East, 1095-1382, from the Islamic Sources (2014). Both history and source collection, this book briefly and effectively summarizes what we know about Muslim responses to crusaders.

Nina Caputo, Debating Truth: The Barcelona Disputation of 1263 (2016).  A graphic history!

David Douglas, The Norman Achievement (1969) and The Norman Fate (1976). Expert, readable studies of Norman activities throughout Europe, 1050–1154.

R. I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society (rev. ed., 2007). A pathbreaking study of the rise of persecutions in medieval Europe. See also Jeffrey Richards, Sex, Dissidence and Damnation: Minority Groups in the Middle Ages (1991).

David Nicolle, Saladin (2011). A readable and lavishly illustrated introduction.

Joseph F. O’Callaghan, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain (2003). A new study that conceptualizes the Spanish “reconquest” as part of crusading history.

Edward Peters, Inquisition (1989). A fascinating study that traces both the medieval history of inquisition and modern myths about it. See also the new and different approaches of Mark Gregory Pegg, The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-46 (2001) and John Arnold, Inquisition and Power: Catharism and the Confessing Subject in Medieval Languedoc (2001).

Jonathan Riley-Smith, ed., The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (1995). A valuable and splendidly illustrated introduction. See also his The Crusades: A Short History (1987); Jean Richard, The Crusades, c. 1071–c. 1291 (1999); Norman Housley, Fighting for the Cross (2008); and Christopher MacEvitt, The Crusades and the Christian World of the East: Rough Tolerance (2007). For religious motivations, see Benjamin Z. Kedar, Crusade and Mission: European Approaches toward the Muslims (1984). On specific crusades, see John France, Victory in the East: A Military History of the First Crusade (1994), and John Godfrey, 1204, The Unholy Crusade (1980), on the Fourth Crusade.  For a guide to historical debates on the crusades, see Norman Housley, Contesting the Crusades (2006).

John V. Tolan, Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (2002). Traces how the medieval West first developed derogatory images of Islam.



S. J. Allen and Emilie Amt, The Crusades: A Reader (2003). See also Carole Hillenbrand, The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives (2000).

Simon Barton and Richard Fletcher, eds., The World of El Cid: Chronicles of the Spanish Reconquest (2000). Four chronicles, each separately introduced and carefully annotated.

Francesco Gabrieli, ed., Arab Historians of the Crusades (1989).

Michael Goodich, ed., Other Middle Ages: Witnesses at the Margins of Medieval Society (1998). Primary sources on Jews, heretics, “sexual nonconformists,” “victims of the devil,” and others.

Philip K. Hitti, ed., An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades: Memoirs of Usāmah Ibn Munqidh (2000).

Edward Peters, ed., Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe: Documents in Translation (1980).



These listings are works-in-progress.  They are highly selective and aimed at the practical needs of students and teachers.  If you have suggestions, please send them to Judith Bennett.