Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Histoire Des Croisades

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Histoire Des Croisades

Article excerpt

Histoire des Croisades. By Jean Richard. (Paris: Editions Fayard. 1996. Pp. 544. 170.00 FF)

Jean Richard, well known for his works on the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and his life of St. Louis, has authored yet another in this distinguished series in his Histoire des Croisades. In a period in which crusade studies are flourishing on a never-before achieved scale and in which major revisions have been made in our understanding of this fascinating and much controverted part of medieval and early modern history, we ought not to be surprised that works of synthesis of both a popular and scholarly nature are appearing in such large numbers. Where, for many years, English and American readers have enjoyed the grand narrative of Sir Steven Runciman, the great Byzantine historian, and the excellent brief history by Hans Eberhard Mayer, translated from the German by John Gillingham and now in its second English edition (1988), the last decade has witnessed the publication of Jonathan Riley-Smith's The Crusades: A Short History, which has presented a vastly different view of the crusade movement, one that included not merely its pre-histroy in the Western Mediterranean, but which carried its story down into the sixteenth and even the seventeenth centuries. Richard's Histoire, which we trust will soon be available in English translation, also possesses a distinctive character in keeping with the particular interests of its author.

Jean Richard's Histoire des Croisades is in the tradition of the Gesta Dei per Francos, an image that emerged already shortly after the first crusade in the writing of Guibert of Nogent. …

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