Middle Ages Bibliography

Crusades to the Holy Land and Eastern Mediterranean Countries


copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

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British Museum

Byzantium ***
British Museum; 72 pg
A good intro from the founding of Constantinople to the fall. T1

Edbury, P.

The Kingdom of Cyprus and the Crusades ****
241 pg
Wrested by the Normans from the Byzantines during the Third Crusade, Cyprus continued a European colony until the Ottoman Turks took it in 1571, and a valuable place for transhipping of goods and armies. T2

Gabrieli, Francisco

Arab Historians of the Crusades *****!
Barnes & Noble, NY
Wonderful to read the paynim view of the invading Franks. T2

Hatzidaki, M.

Mystras ****
128 pg, 81 color photos
Necessary visuals if you are setting any of your story around the Crusader castle of Mystras. T2

Howarth, Stephen

The Knights Templar ***
Barnes & Noble, NY
Covers from the founding in 1118, to defend the holy places now held by the Franks, to their bloody destruction in 1314 at the hands of the French. T2

Hyland, Ann

The Medieval Warhorse from Byzantium to the Crusades *****!
Sutton Publishing Ltd., London, 1994; index and bibliography
Actually through the Crusades, you will likely have your head rearranged as to what your Crusader is riding -- not a feather-heeled Shire, but something like a 15 hh hunter, if he has the best and biggest. She also covers the Islamic horses and horse care very well -- as one might expect from someone who runs Arabic horses in endurance races. T2

Joinville, Jean de, and Geoffroi de Villehardouin

Chronicles of the Crusades ****
Penguin Classics, NY
A period description of events, two of those source documents you should read to see what the people at the time thought of their actions, without the filter of later attitudes. Joinville was a participant in the Seventh Crusade, Villehardouin one of the founders of the Latin Empire in the Fourth Crusade, becoming lord of Messina. Can be found separately online. T2

Kazhdan, A. P

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium *****!
Oxford, 3 volumes each of 800 pgs
Massive. If you can't find it here, it's going to be rough. However, the 5500+ entries cover the entire history, and all known persons. Maps and (bless them!) genealogical tables. T3

Kollia, Ioannou

The Knights of Rhodes ***
176 pgs, 148 color photos
Originally the Hospitallers, when the European colonies of Outre Mer fell to the Turks, they transferred their headquarters to Rhodes. Great if you just want some shots of Rhodes! T2

Laiou, Angeliki

Byzantium, A World Civilization ****
162 pgs
Good introduction. T1

Nicolle, David, Ph.D.

Saracen Faris, 1050-1250 AD[sic] *****!
Osprey Warrior Series, Reed International Books Ltd., London; illustrated by Christa McHook; no index; bibliography of English-language sources
Excellent, info-packed 64 pages with superb illustrations and a good map or two. Unbeatable for the detail on weaponry, tack, and costume of the Islamic heavy mounted warriors who countered the Frankish steamroller. Worth every penny. T2

Norwich, John Julius

Byzantium: The Decline and Fall *****!
Covers from 1071 to the end, especially the Fourth Crusade, which fought Byzantium, not the Turks, and the hard road back for the Greek emperors to reclaim their city from the Franks. T3

A Short History of Byzantium ****
Knopf; 431 pg
Good if you can't find, or aren't sure you need all the detail of the volume above. T1

Osprey Books

The worst book from Osprey rates three stars, and many are five stars. They are not easily come by, unless you buy them, at $9-13 apiece. If your library has them, you are very lucky! T2
In the Men-At-Arms Series:

Elite Series:

Psellus, Michael

Fourteen Byzantine Rulers ****
Covers the 14 immediate successors of Basil II (d. 1025) who faced internal unrest, Turkish invasion, and led up to the arrival of the First Crusade. T2

Rice, T. T.

Everyday Life in Byzantium ****
Barnes & Noble, NY
Covers not only the Imperial Court (why go to Byzantium if you don't go there?) but less etherial levels of life, too. T1

Runciman, Sir Steven

Byzantine Civilization ****
Barnes & Noble, NY
Describes the workings of the Orthodox Church as well as the government, for all of us who are not members of it, or those members who may not realize how it operated way back then. Everyday life, trade, all the good stuff. T2

The Fall of Constantinople *****!
All right, so it's just over the border in 1453. We feel that for Europe the fall of Constantinople signals the end of the Middle Ages, if one has to pick a single event. Runciman's detailed treatment deals with the years of events leading up to that climactic day in May. T3

A History of the Crusades *****!
Cambridge University Press; bibliography, index, and genealogical tables
Three volumes: The First Crusade (1951), The Kingdom of Jerusalem(1952), and The Kingdom of Acre (1954), now always sold as a set. Unusual in that it does not treat Crusades from the common European point of view, that they were periodic military excursions from which everyone not dead came home. This has kept it fresh and up-to-date, despite it being older than most of here. He covers the establishment, survival, and eventual demise of the Norman colonies of Outre-Mer, which by the goods, fashions, and attitudes they leaked back to Europe had a strong hand in transforming the Dark Ages into the Middle Ages, from 1099 forward. Wonderfully lucid in describing the ornate politics that often had religious "opponents" allied for survival against "co-religionists," and the positively stupid, vicious behavior of greenhorn fairweather crusaders. T2

Seward, Desmond

The Monks of War ****
Penguin Books, NY
Basics on the major military orders -- the Templar, Hospitallers, and the Teutonic Knights -- from their formation before the first Crusade through their present remnants. T2

Smail, R. C.

Crusading Warfare: 1097-1193 ***
Barnes & Noble, NY
Especially good for its coverage of 1129-1187 in Outre-Mer, when most authors mentally sit home in Europe. T2.

Treece, Henry

The Crusades ***
Barnes & Noble, NY
A good basic book on the subject. T1


Crusades *****!

A set of four 50-min. tapes, hosted by Terry Jones, who is responsible for the astonishing Medievalism of "Jabberwocky" even if it was a comedy-fantasy. A great chance to see the locations for sixty bucks instead of several thousand dollars worth of touring Europe and the Mideast, with re-enactor battles the tours don't provide. T1-2

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