Writing the Early Crusades

Writing the Early Crusades

Text, Transmission and Memory

Edited by Marcus Bull, Damien Kempf


Boydell Press



A pioneering approach to contemporary historical writing on the First Crusade, looking at the texts as cultural artefacts rather than simply for the evidence they contain.
The First Crusade (1095-1101) was the stimulus for a substantial boom in Western historical writing in the first decades of the twelfth century, beginning with the so-called "eyewitness" accounts of the crusade and extending to numerous second-hand treatments in prose and verse. From the time when many of these accounts were first assembled in printed form by Jacques Bongars in the early seventeenth century, and even more so since their collective appearance in the great nineteenth-century compendium of crusade texts, the Recueil des historiens des croisades, narrative histories have come to be regarded as the single most important resource for the academic study of the early crusade movement. But our understanding of these texts is still far from satisfactory.
This ground-breaking volume draws together the work of an international team of scholars. It tackles the disjuncture between the study of the crusades and the study of medieval history-writing, setting the agenda for future research into historical narratives about or inspired by crusading. The basic premise that informs all the papers is that narrative accounts of crusades and analogous texts should not be primarily understood as repositories of data that contribute to a reconstruction of events, but as cultural artefacts that can be interrogated from a wide range of theoretical, methodological and thematic perspectives.

Marcus Bull is Andrew W Mellon Distinguished Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Damien Kempf is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Liverpool.

Contributors: Laura Ashe, Steven Biddlecombe, Marcus Bull, Peter Frankopan, Damian Kempf, James Naus, Léan Ní Chléirigh, Nicholas Paul, William J. Purkis, Luigi Russo, Jay Rubenstein, Carol Sweetenham,

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782042808), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


184 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Paperback, 9781783272990, April 2018
Hardback, 9781843839200, June 2014
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC HBLC1, 1D, 2AB, 3H
BISAC LIT011000, HIS037010, HIS010000
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Table of Contents

Introduction - Marcus Bull and Damien Kempf
Baldric of Bourgueil and the Familia Christi - Steven J. Biddlecombe
Gilbert of Nogent, Albert of Aachen and Fulcher of Chartres: Three Crusade Chronicles Intersect - Jay C. Rubenstein
Understanding the Greek Sources for the First Crusade - Peter Frankopan
The Monte Cassino Tradition of the First Crusade: From the Chronica Monasterii Casinensis to the Hystoria de via et recuperatione Antiochiae atque Ierusolymarum - Luigi Russo
Nova Peregrinatio: The First Crusade as a Pilgrimage in Contemporary Latin Narratives - Léan Ní Chléirigh
What Really Happened to Eurvin de Créel's Donkey? Anecdotes in Sources for the First Crusade - Carol Sweetenham
Porta Clausa: Trial and Triumph at the Gates of Jerusalem - Nicholas L. Paul
The Historia Iherosolimitana of Robert the Monk and the Coronation of Louis VI - James Naus
Towards a Textual Archaeology of the First Crusade - Damien Kempf
Robert the Monk and his Sources[s] - Marcus Bull
Rewriting the History Books: The First Crusade and the Past - William J. Purkis
The Ideal of Knighthood in English and French Writing, 1100-1230: Crusade, Piety, Chivalry and Patriotism - Laura Ashe


An impressive volume that maintains a rare coherence across the twelve contributions to bring out the individuality and significance of these varied narratives. THE HISTORIAN

This volume provides a fine introduction to the historiography of the First Crusade, both for those who consider themselves historians of that movement and for those who do not. SPECULUM

The individual pieces are all excellent in their scholarly quality and acumen. MEDIAEVISTIK 27

[A]n essential work for crusade historians that will also edify and challenge the medieval scholarly community to reexamine their approaches to historical writing. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

The volume is an important milestone in a journey that, in many ways, has only just started. It should be of great use both to historians of crusades and to historians of medieval historiography for many years to come. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

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