The Crusades: Four Volumes

Alan Ereira; David Wallace
Alan Ereira; David Wallace
United States

Join Terry Jones, founding member of Monty Python, author, and Medieval expert, for this magnificent fourvolume chronicle of the Crusades. One of historyís most epic adventures, the Crusades began as a holy mission to liberate Jerusalem, and became the largest mass migration in European history. When they ended 200 years later, the Crusades had created a mythology of knights and chivalry, and left a legacy of distrust between East and West that continues to shape our world today. Filmed on location throughout Europe and the Middle East, this acclaimed production brings the Crusades to life with an army of innovative techniques, including animated mosaics, creative anachronisms, restaged battles and extraordinary computer graphics. Produced in consultation with the worldís foremost experts on history and theory, itís a witty and thoroughly fascinating account of one of civilizationís most legendary and least understood chapters.Volume 1, Pilgrims in Arms: The Crusades began with an appeal from Emperor Constantine to repel the Turks from Constantinople and fed on the pious determination of multitudes to take Jerusalem from the infidels. Soon hordes of armed pilgrims were marching across Europe for the Holy Land. This volume chronicles the improbable origins of the Crusades, from Pope Urban IIís hunger for military power to the success of one of historyís greatest mass communication and recruitment campaigns. Terry Jones traces the Crusadersí routes across Europe, and details the massacres and looting that had marked their progress. That these first holy warriors were promptly slaughtered upon reaching Asia only fueled the religious conflict. Within months a massive professional military force dispatched under the Popeís banner had crossed the Bosphorus ready to battle their way to Jerusalem.Volume 2, Jerusalem: The Crusades had reached Asiaís doorstep, but Jerusalem was still far off. Most of the Christian soldiersóalong with significant numbers of infidels they met along the wayówould never live to seethe holy capital. This second volume chronicles the Crusadersí trail of carnage across the Middle East. Two-thirds of them would not even survive the beginning of their journey, and Terry Jones illustrates why as he attempts to duplicate their march across the harsh, rocky landscape of Anatolia in the heat of summer, wearing chain mail. Jones follows their path to Antioch, site of the famed siege whose strange outcome would encourage the savagery of the Crusadersí campaign. Their barbarous conquest of Jerusalem, where they sacked the city and butchered its inhabitants, was only a prelude to the bloodier campaigns that followed.Volume 3, Jihad: With Jerusalem conquered, the Crusades established a Christian kingdom that extended as far as Egypt, sparking outrage throughout the Muslim world and leading to a massive counter-offensive almost half acentury later. The Muslimsí recapture of Jerusalem and the Second Crusade this Arab victory provoked are colorfully captured in this volume. Itís a chronicle of unholy alliances, political intrigue and fabled warriors. This time, however, the Christian soldiers werenít the only ones fighting for a religious cause. By the time the soldiers of the Second Crusade arrived in the Holy Land, Jerusalemís Arab leader, Nur ed-Din, had declared a Jihad, or holy war, against the invaders. A final battle commanded by his successor, the legendary Saladin, would determine the ultimate fate of this Crusade.Volume 4, Destruction: By the time the last major campaigns to free the Holy Lands, Crusading had become an institution that had little connection with religion. The chronicles of these last Crusaders unfold in this final volume. The Third Crusade adds the names of Richard ìthe Lionheartî and Phillip of France to the roster of holy warriors, and Terry Jones examines the reality behind the legends of their noble deeds. The Fourth and final Crusade, launched as a commercial operation, sacked and looted Constantinople, the Christian city that originally inspired the holy movement. These final campaigns also produced a revolt in Egypt that destroyed the remnants of the Crusadersí Christian kingdom, ending two centuries of the epic and misguided adventures whose repercussions are still felt today.