Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
I: The Crusade in the fourteenth century, pp. 2-26 ff. PDF (69.3 KB)
3I THE CRUSADE IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY 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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