Skip to main content

HIST1300 Crusades and their Chroniclers: Reading List

Primary Sources for the Historian: An Introduction to Documentary study, 2019/20, Semester 2
Professor Stephen Alford
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Tutor: Hilary Rhodes



If you are unfamiliar or less familiar with the crusades, I strongly recommend Karen Armstrong's Holy war : the Crusades and their impact on today's world  and Norman Housley's Fighting for the cross : crusading to the Holy Land  as excellent and readable general histories/introductions into the movement and its overall development; Christopher Tyerman's God's war : a new history of the Crusades  is also good. More specific histories exist for each numbered crusade (the First and Second particularly) but as in this course we will be focusing on the Third and Fourth, those are only useful if you wish to pursue independent study on the crusades or to gather resources for another crusade-related module; please ask me for these if so. Unfortunately, no relevant modern monograph exists on the Third Crusade as a whole (a fact much bemoaned by crusade historians...) though aspects of it have been well studied. Jonathan Phillips' The Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople  is useful for an overview, and of course Jonathan Riley-Smith remains the standard introduction for explorations into crusade studies; I have cited only one text of his here, a general history, but some exploration in the library will find you many more titles. I have found that Riley-Smith has to be used cautiously in places, but his overall grasp of the subject and command of the sources is certainly an excellent jumping-off point. I also recommend accessing The Crusades : an encyclopedia , which is available online through the Library, and having a click-through to see its subjects, how it is organised, how you can use it to search for individuals, places, events, battles, etc. associated with the crusades, and the specific bibliographies provided for each.

All the articles cited below are available electronically on the VLE, whether in the specific week-by-week folders or in the 'Additional Reading' section. The books should all be available in the library; please take your classmates into consideration when deciding how to long to check them out or keep them.


Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada; In Parenthesis Publications/Medieval Latin Series; 2001 -- free copy available online on the VLE)

Smith, Caroline, trans. Joinville and Villehardouin: Chronicles of the Crusades  (London, Penguin Classics; 2008)

Top of page


Angold, Michael, ‘The Road to 1204: The Byzantine Background to the Fourth Crusade’, Journal of Medieval history.  , 25 (1999), 257–78

Asbridge, Thomas, ‘Talking to the Enemy: The Role and Purpose of Negotiations between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade’, Journal of Medieval history. , 39 (2013), 275–96

Beer, Jeannette M.A., Villehardouin: Epic Historian (Genève: Droz, 1968)

Bliese, John R.E., ‘When Knightly Courage May Fail: Battle Orations in Medieval Europe’, The Historian.  , 53 (1991), 489–504

Chevedden, Paul E., ‘The Islamic View and the Christian View of the Crusades: A New Synthesis’, History. , 93 (2008), 181–200

Gibb, H.A.R., ‘The Arabic Sources for the Life of Saladin’, Speculum. , 25 (1950), 58–72

Hamilton, Bernard, ‘Knowing the Enemy: Western Understanding of Islam at the Time of the Crusades’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.  , 7 (1997),373–387

Harris, Jonathan, ‘The Debate on the Fourth Crusade’, History compass. , 2 (2004), 1–10

Madden, Thomas F., ‘Outside and Inside the Fourth Crusade’, International history review. , 17 (1995), 726–43

———, ‘Vows and Contracts in the Fourth Crusade: The Treaty of Zara and the Attack on Constantinople in 1204’, International history review.  , 15 (1993), 441–68

Markowski, Michael, ‘Richard Lionheart: Bad King, Bad Crusader? ’, Journal of Medieval history. , 23 (1997), 351–65

McNeal, Edgar H., ‘Chronicle and CONTE: A Note on Narrative Style in Geoffrey of Villehardouin and Robert of Clari’, Monatshefte für deutschen Unterricht , 37 (1945), 110–13

Morris, Colin, ‘Geoffrey de Villehardouin and the Conquest of Constantinople’, History.  , 53, 24–34

Murray, Alan V., ed., The Crusades : an encyclopedia  , 4 vols (Santa Barbara, CA; Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2006)

Nicholson, Helen J., ‘Women on the Third Crusade’, Journal of Medieval history. , 23 (1997), 335–49

Nierman, Jay Harris, ‘Levantine Peace Following the Third Crusade: A New Dimension in Frankish-Muslim Relations’, The Muslim world. , 65, 107–18

Noble, Peter, ‘The Importance of Old French Chronicles as Historical Sources of the Fourth Crusade and the Early Latin Empire of Constantinople’, Journal of Medieval history. , 27 (2001), 399–416

Queller, Donald E., Thomas K. Compton, and Donald A. Campbell, ‘The Fourth Crusade: The Neglected Majority’, Speculum. , 49, 441–65

Queller, Donald E., and Gerald W. Day, ‘Some Arguments in Defense of the Venetians on the Fourth Crusade’, The American historical review. , 81 (1976), 717–37

Queller, Donald E., and Irene B. Katele, ‘Attitudes Towards the Venetians in the Fourth Crusade: The Western Sources’, International history review. , 4 (1982), 1–36

Rhodes, Hilary, ‘Crusaders, Zionists, and Jihadis: The Function and Dysfunction of Crusading Rhetoric in the Post-9/11 Political World’ (presented at Engaging the Crusades, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2015), pp. 1–17

Schmandt, Raymond H., ‘The Fourth Crusade and the Just-War Theory’, The Catholic historical review. , 61 (1975), 191–221

Top of page


Armstrong, Karen, Holy war : the Crusades and their impact on today's world  (New York, NY: Anchor Books, 2001)

Edgington, Susan, and Sarah Lambert, eds., Gendering the crusades  (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2001)

Hodgson, Natasha R., Women, crusading and the Holy Land in historical narrative (Woodbridge; The Boydell Press, 2007)

Housley, Norman, Fighting for the cross : crusading to the Holy Land  (New Haven, Conn.; Yale University Press, 2008)

Phillips, Jonathan, The Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople  (London: Jonathan Cape, 2004)

Queller, Donald E., The Fourth Crusade : the conquest of Constantinople, 1201-1204 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1977)

Riley-Smith, Jonathan and Louise, The Crusades : idea and reality, 1095-1274  (London: Edward Arnold, 1981)

Tyerman, Christopher, God's war : a new history of the Crusades  (London: Penguin, 2007)

This list was last updated on 29/11/2016