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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe

Preface,   pp. xvii-xviii PDF (338.2 KB)

Page xvii

 This is the last volume of A History of the Crusades. It marks an end neither
to the conflict with Islam nor to the very idea of crusade as a mass movement
divinely sanctioned. The crusading impulse remained a vital force in the
West whether directed towards a holy war to win Jerusalem or, later, a defensive
struggle against Turkish aggression. Bede had long since taught the West
about Ishmael, the father of Islam, whose hand was raised against all men,
and against whom the hands of all men were raised in turn. Islam, then, remained
an enemy with whom peace was unthinkable, war a duty. The duty would be all
the more pressing in coming centuries when, as the Turkish threat grew, the
very future of Christian Europe seemed to hang in the balance. Like so much
else in medieval Europe, the crusade demanded both legal definition and theological
justification, to say nothing of financial and military organization, constant
preaching, and propaganda. Three centuries of crusading fervor accompanied
by incredible hardships, massive sacrifices, legends of heroism, and propaganda
of hatred, left for the future a heritage of profound consequence impossible
to measure. 
 How sad that our colleague, Harry Hazard, was not allowed to hold this finished
volume in his hands. But he was determined to see it through its final preparation.
Hardly a page has not felt his touch. He was one of many who inspired the
entire History and for whom in turn it has become something of a monument.
It was with some prescience that, just before his death, he recalled the
comments of Bil Gilbert: "By caring about and being moved by the persons
and deeds of our ancestors, we give assurance — and are assured —
of a sort of immortality."1 
Norman P. Zacour 
Centre for Medieval Studies 
University of Toronto 
Toronto, Canada 
August 15, 1989 
1. Sports Illustrated, XLIV (June 21, 1976), 76. 

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