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

I: The Crusade in the Fourteenth Century,   pp. 2-26 ff. PDF (9.6 MB)

Page 3

 he historiography of the crusades has undergone considerable emendation
in recent times, and many accepted ideas have had to be revised. One of the
most notable among these altered conceptions is that of the limits of the
Age of the Crusades. The older historians considered the crusades as a movement
coterminous with the life of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, at least in
regard to the closing date of this tragic confrontation between two large
sections of medieval humanity. According to the old school of thought, the
crusades suddenly began in 1095 with Urban II's famous declarations at Clermont
in Auvergne, and ended equally suddenly in 1291 with the termination of Latin
dominion in the Holy Land when Acre and the remaining Christian outposts
fell into the hands of the Bahri Mamluk sultan al-Ashraf Khalil. 1 This is
the cataclysmic viewpoint of the Age of the Crusades, which has been repudiated
in the light of modern researches in this field. 
 Here we are concerned only with the closing chapters in the history of the
movement, and this volume will, it is hoped, show beyond doubt that the fall
of Acre did not spell the end of the crusades. When the last vestiges of
the Latin kingdom in Palestine disappeared before the irresistible advance
of Islamic forces, its crown was transferred to the Lusignan dynasty in Cyprus,2
and the Hospitallers, who had been its staunch defenders, moved the center
of their crusading activities from Syria to the island of Rhodes,3 which
they wrested from Byzantium after a short sojourn in Cyprus. 
 The deadly blow which the Christians had sustained at Acre seems to have
awakened western Christendom to the stark reality of their precarious position
in the Levant. To the contemporary mind, the collapse of Acre in 1291 was
comparable to Saladin's storming of 
1. See volume II of this work, pp. 595—598, 754. 
2. See below, chapter X. 
3. See below, chapter VIII. 

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