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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

Foreword,   pp. xiii-xiv PDF (561.5 KB)

Page xiii

 Almost twenty years have now passed since the appearance of the first volume
of this History of the Crusades (1955). In the Foreword to that volume I
cited the maxim attributed to Augustus, which Petrarch once quoted to his
friend Boccaccio: Whatever is being done well enough, is being done soon
enough (Epp. seniles, XVI [XVII], 2). Since seven years elapsed before the
second volume was published (1962), I have never been under the illusion
that we were doing our task soon enough. I can only hope that we have done
it well enough. Now, after another dozen years, we present the third volume
to our readers, but I am glad to say that the fourth volume has also gone
to the press. 
 Volume III, as its title indicates, deals with the period of the later Crusades.
The fourteenth century witnessed the two Smyrniote Cru sades (1344—1347),
the sack of Alexandria (1365), the anti-Bulgarian and anti-Turkish expedition
of Amadeo VI of Savoy (1366—1367), the Barbary Crusade (1390), and
the Christian defeat at Nicopolis (1396). The fourteenth century closed with
the anti-Turkish expedi tion of the doughty marshal Boucicault in defense
of Constantinople (1399—1400), and the following century opened with
his harassment of the Mamluk coast of Syria (1403). After Boucicault most
Chris tian expeditions against the Moslems were directed against the Otto
man Turks; they were primarily defensive, to stem the Turkish advance into
Christian territory. 
 The hope of rewinning the Holy Land had largely passed by the fifteenth
century, although it remained the ideal of propagandists at the Curia Romana.
The fall of Constantinople in 1453 was a blow to eastern Christendom from
which recovery was to prove impossible. Pius II's crusading efforts died
with him at Ancona (1464), and little came of the crusading dreams of visionaries
at the court of Burgundy in the time of Philip the Good (1419—1467).
The Conciliar move ment had distracted the papacy; the anti-Hussite Crusades
helped spend the military resources of the Germans. Nevertheless, the fif
teenth century was marked by the Hungarian expeditions which John Hunyadi
and Matthias Corvinus led against the Turks. If the Christians were defeated
at Varna (1444), they repulsed the Turks at Belgrade (1456). If the Mamluks
reduced Cyprus to a tributary state 

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