Crusaders, Condottieri, and Cannon: Medieval Warfare in Societies around the Mediterranean

By Donald J. Kagay; L. J. Andrew Villalon | Go to book overview

THE MANY CRUSADES OF VALENCIA'S CONQUEST
(1225–1280): AN HISTORIOGRAPHICAL LABYRINTH1
Robert I. Burns, S. J.

A major historiographical problem is the reluctance of many historians to abandon beguiling general concepts and terminology that mask a very different reality. In the face of steady erosion of such concepts, they cling to the old labels. When I first began my researches into the conquest of Islamic Valencia, nearly fifty years ago, hardly any Spanish scholars thought of it as a “crusade, ” but rather as part of the Reconquest, a relatively secular expansion of Iberian states along their southern borders. Not even the monumental history of crusade bulls in Spain by José Goñi Gaztambide in 1958 changed this attitude.2

The traditional paradigm was giving way in the wider world, however, to a Mediterranean-wide view of the crusades in a number of theaters of war, not excluding the naval and corsair elements. Eventually the Spanish crusades would have their monograph even in the multi-volume, multi-author history of the crusades organized by Kenneth Setton; and Spanish crusades play a prominent role in the international Society for the Study of the Crusades. My own books and articles have relentlessly used the phrase “Crusader Valencia” in their titles.


1. Anti-Crusade Objections

Intimidated by these developments, some students of the conquest of the Islamic coastal regions that the crusaders called the Kingdom of

____________________
1
The present article is dedicated to Professor Joseph F. O'Callaghan on his assumption of emeritus status at Fordham University. It was delivered as an address at the 110th annual convention of the American Historical Association at Atlanta, Georgia, on 6 January 1996. A companion homage to Professor O'Callaghan is my “The Guidaticum Safe-Conduct in Medieval Arago-Catalonia: A Mini-Institution for Muslims, Christians, and Jews, ” Medieval Encounters 1 (1995): 51–113.
2
José Goñi Gaztambide, Historia de la bula de la cruzada en España (Vitoria, 1958).

-167-

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