According to tradition, the First Crusade began at Pope Urban II’s instigation and culminated in July 1099, when western European knights liberated Jerusalem. But what if the First Crusade’s real catalyst lay far to the east of Rome? Countering nearly a millennium of scholarship, Peter Frankopan reveals the First Crusade’s untold history.
About Peter Frankopan
Peter Frankopan is the Director of the Center for Byzantine Research at the University of Oxford.
In this fluent and dramatic account, Peter Frankopan rightly places the Emperor Alexios at the heart of the First Crusade and in doing so skillfully adds a dimension frequently missing from our understanding of this seminal event. Frankopan illuminates the complex challenges that faced Alexios and deftly depicts the boldness and finesse needed to survive in the dangerous world of medieval Byzantium. - Jonathan Phillips, author of Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades
Filled with Byzantine intrigue in every sense, this book is important, compellingly revisionist and impressive in its scholarly use of totally fresh sources. It refocuses the familiar western story through the eyes of the emperor of the east and fills in the missing piece of the puzzle of the Crusades. - Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem: The Biography
In a field near Clermont, France, on November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II issued a rousing call to arms, a march to Jerusalem to retake the Holy City from the infidel Muslims who for more than 20 years had been invading and conquering lands belonging to Christians. Four years later, European armies arrived in Jerusalem and drove out the Muslims, retaking the city for Christendom. Yet, as historian Frankopan, a fellow at Oxford, so forcefully reminds us in this cracking good story of political and religious intrigue, the real reason that Urban II rallied the forces that day was an urgent message from Alexios I Komnenos, emperor of Byzantium, whose political authority had begun to decline and whose empire was under attack on all sides by Muslim forces. Alexios called upon Urban, who sent troops immediately. Frankopan draws deeply upon the Alexiad, written several decades later by Komnenos’s daughter, Anna, and he presents a vivid portrait of a man whose early political ineptness created division in his empire, but whose boldness launched the Crusades and changed the shape of the medieval world by expanding the geographic, cultural, and political horizons of Europe. – Publishers Weekly
‘The First Crusade: The Call From the East,’ by Peter Frankopan
The Washington Post Book Review – May 2, 2012 (Excerpt)
“Deus vult!” — God wills it! — was the battle cry of the First Crusade, in which armies of Europe, at the very end of the 11th century, marched off to liberate the holy city of Jerusalem and conquer the infidel Turks, who were then sweeping all before them in Asia Minor.
Whatever God’s actual intentions in the matter, and He is known to move in mysterious ways, His representatives on earth, Pope Urban II in Rome and the Emperor Alexios in Constantinople, quite clearly fostered this great martial enterprise for political purposes of their own. The emperor, assailed by enemies on his frontiers and by rivals within his family, was desperate for military aid, just as the pope was comparably eager for a galvanizing cause that would confirm his primacy as the leader of the Christian world.
Older studies of this complex military venture — merely one in a series of clashes between “Europe” and “Asia” that goes back as far as the Trojan War and continues to this day — often tend to emphasize its romantic character. In this view, Pope Urban’s electrifying call to arms at Clermont in 1095 is regarded as the starting point for years of heroism and self-sacrifice. That day, in a field in France, the pontiff thundered out that that the Muslims, “a foreign people and a people rejected by God, had invaded lands belonging to Christians, destroying them and plundering the local population.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
- 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
The Bleeding Hills is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.