Byzantium, Jerusalem and the First Crusade: Three Avenues of Approach

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Jerusalem and the Crusades: New Trends in the Study of the Crusading Movement and the Medieval Levant, Jerusalem Institute for Advanced Studies, Israel

A constantly recurring theme in the historiography of the First Crusade is that of the Byzantine emperor, Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118), asking Pope Urban II to send a small contingent of knights to assist him in the reconquest of Asia Minor from the Turks and receiving instead several vast armies over which he had no control. The First Crusade was thus completely unexpected by the emperor and he played no part in its genesis. More recent work has challenged that thesis but two very different approaches have emerged. One school of thought argues that Alexios was taking a novel approach to foreign policy. He was in fact deeply involved in the origins of the First Crusade and played a leading role in shaping its ideals and goals. Another approach is more modest in scope: it argues that Alexios was certainly involved in the shaping of the expedition and was by no means surprised by its arrival. This was, however, no unprecedented innovation but simply the extension of a tried and tested response to crisis to the Latin West.
Period7 Dec 201412 Dec 2014
Event typeOther