The Crusades - HIST5028

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The Crusades were a central phenomenon of the High Middle Ages. The product of an aristocratic society suffused by a martial culture and a militant religion, reveal aspects of social relations, popular spirituality, techniques of waging war and attitudes to violence, which retain interest for a modern world to which Holy War and ideological justification of violence are no strangers. The aim of the module is twofold: (i) a full exploration of the events of the campaigns in the Near East, covering the experience as well as the motivations of crusaders and settlers in the Crusader Kingdoms; and (ii) investigation of the interaction over a period of two centuries between western Christians and the indigenous populations, both Christian and Islamic, in and around the states and settlements established in the East. In recent years the Crusades have attracted a wealth of new research and debate, much of it conducted in English. These provide students with rich and accessible secondary material against which to pit their own views. The texts, translated from Arabic and Greek as well as Latin and medieval French, are kept to a manageable size and provide opportunities for critical comparison of different viewpoints on the same events or issues.


Contact hours

This module will be taught through one 1-hour lecture and one 2-hour seminar each week, with the exception of Enhancement Week and one week that will be dedicated to coursework feedback.

Method of assessment

This module will be assessed by:

- Essay (3,000 words) – 17.5%
- Source Analysis (2,500 words) – 17.5%
- Seminar Presentation (10 mins) – 5%
- Examination (2 hrs) – 60%

Indicative reading

H.E.J. Cowdrey, Popes, monks and crusaders (1984)
H.E. Mayer, The crusades, 2nd edn. (1988)
J. Richard, The Crusades c. 1071-c.1291 [2nd edition]
J.S.C. Riley-Smith, The crusades. A short history (1987).
---------------------- (ed), The Atlas of the Crusades (1991)
---------------------- (ed), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (1995)
S. Runciman, A history of the crusades, 3 vols., (1951-4)
K.M. Setton (ed. in chief), A history of the crusades, 2nd edn., 6 vols. (1969-98).
C. Tyerman, England and the crusades (1988)
C. Tyerman, Invention of the Crusades (1998)
C. Tyerman, Fighting for Christendom: holy war and the crusades (2004)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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