The Later Crusades, 1274-1580: From Lyons to Alcazar

By Norman Housley | Go to book overview

Introduction

THIS book began life as a proposal for a short survey of the crusading movement between the Second Council of Lyons and the fall of Granada in 1492. In the course of negotiations with possible publishers the book expanded in several ways. I agreed to take the subject as far as the late sixteenth century, and to write not only about crusading expeditions and projects, but also about the associated processes of conquest and settlement, both Christian (in Spain, the Baltic region, Greece, and Cyprus) and Muslim (in the cases of the Mamluk and Ottoman Sultanates). These changes in time-span and scope in turn necessitated a much longer book. In the event I am pleased that the changes were introduced. It is true that they bring with them the danger of mental indigestion for anyone who is new to the subject. Unavoidably, the shortage of space available to handle complicated and contentious issues has resulted in generalizations, while the sheer size of the historical landscape involved will have led to omissions; reviewers and colleagues will doubtless point these out. But I am convinced in hindsight that to conclude any account of the later crusades earlier than 1580 would be to neglect events of intrinsic interest and significance. It will be apparent from Chapter 101 that I now regard the fall of Granada in 1492 as the starting-point for a series of extraordinary developments in Iberian crusading. But the matter goes deeper than that: in a nutshell, it is impossible to regard the crusading movement as a dead or even 'residual' expression of Catholic belief or behaviour in the sixteenth century, before or after (perhaps especially after) the Protestant Revolution. I also think that any account of crusading which does not deal with what the crusaders or their enemies achieved, in terms of government, economy, and society, is incomplete. This applies most importantly to the Mamluks and Ottomans. In affording them as much

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