Review of N. Morton, 'Encountering Islam on the First Crusade' (Cambridge, 2017)

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review

Abstract

So much has been written about the First Crusade in recent decades that the
appearance of a new monograph on the subject is more likely to inspire weariness than enthusiasm. Fortunately, Nicholas Morton’s Encountering Islam on the First Crusade manages not only to offer innovative perspectives on the (in)famous expedition to reclaim Jerusalem launched by Pope Urban II in 1095, but also to advance an intriguing reinterpretation of one of its most frequently discussed aspects. In an ambitious and wide-ranging study, Morton sets out to assess the extent to which the First Crusade acted as a turning point in the history of relations between Christianity and Islam. His conclusions form an explicit counterpoint to the notion of the First Crusade as a ‘Clash of Civilizations’ and cast doubt on the utility of ideas inspired by Samuel Huntington’s model to the field of crusading history. Though the pervasiveness of such ideas among specialists is perhaps overstated (or, at least, implicitly overemphasized), this argument acts as a useful corrective to long-standing popular conceptions of the crusades and underpins Morton’s nuanced analysis of Christian perceptions of and interactions with Muslims at the time of the First Crusade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages211–13
Number of pages3
Volume36
No.1
Specialist publicationParergon
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • crusades
  • relations between Christianity and Islam
  • historical analysis

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