The Crusades and the eastern Mediterranean, 1095-1291 HI3012-05

This is a chronological and thematic examination of the history of crusading.

The course will provide an understanding of the challenges in establishing Christian control of the Holy Land. It looks at the history of the area from a Muslim and Byzantine viewpoint, with particular reference to the rise of Saladin and the jihad. You will study a wide range of primary sources to illustrate the above issues; materials from Frankish, Muslim, Greek, Armenian and Jewish writers will be employed.


30 Credits

Topics covered

  • The Crusades and Eastern Mediterranean: Introduction
  • The First Crusade
  • Settlement in the Frankish East, Pilgrimage and the Military Orders
  • The Second Crusade, 1145–49
  • The Third Crusade: Richard The Lionheart and Saladin
  • The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, 1204

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • To be able to place the Crusader States in a proper religious and political context for both medieval Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • To understand and explain the changes in the size and form of crusading expeditions over this period.
  • To assess the impact of the crusades on the people of the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • To read, analyse and synthesise a wide range of secondary material assessing the value of this information in terms of historiography, argument and evidence.
  • To write well argued, clearly structured papers using primary and secondary materials as appropriate.     
  • To study regularly and effectively and to meet the prescribed deadlines.


  • Exam (80%)
  • Essay (10%)
  • Reflective journal and forum posts (10%)

Essential reading

  • J,P.Phillips, The Crusades, 1095-1197 (Harlow, 2002)
  • J.P.Phillips, Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades (London, 2009)
  • J.Riley-Smith (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford, 1995)
  • A.Jotischky, Crusading and the Crusader States (Harlow, 2004)
  • C.J.Tyerman, God’s War (London, 2006)