Read Byzantium and the Crusades by Jonathan Harris Online


The first great city to which the Crusaders came in 1096 was not Jerusalem but Constantinople. Almost as much as Jerusalem itself, Constantinople was the key to the foundation, survival and ultimate eclipse of the crusading kingdom. The Byzantines had developed an ideology over seven hundred years which placed Constantinople, rather than Rome or Jerusalem, at the centre ofThe first great city to which the Crusaders came in 1096 was not Jerusalem but Constantinople. Almost as much as Jerusalem itself, Constantinople was the key to the foundation, survival and ultimate eclipse of the crusading kingdom. The Byzantines had developed an ideology over seven hundred years which placed Constantinople, rather than Rome or Jerusalem, at the centre of the world. The attitudes of its rulers reflected this priority, and led to tension with the crusaders over military and diplomatic strategy. At the same time, the riches and sophistication of the great city made a lasting impression on the crusaders. In the end, the lure of the city's wealth was fatal to the claims of Christian unity. In April 1204, the Fourth Crusade under the Venetian doge Enricho Dandolo captured and sacked Constantinople, signalling the effective end of almost a thousand years of Byzantine dominance in the east....

Title : Byzantium and the Crusades
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781852855017
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Byzantium and the Crusades Reviews

  • José LuísFernandes
    2019-01-08 07:56

    This work is clearly a reference on its field and I advice you to read Lucas' review (I'll try to refer some aspects that he didn't refer or reinforce some others. Harris' argument is very well argued and I think his main conclusions regarding the role of the Crusades on the medieval Roman Empire as well as about interactions between Romans and "Latins" are right. I loved his conclusion that the actions of the crusaders in 1204 were caused by the western view that the heretic and schismatic "Greeks" had to contribute towards crusading efforts and his analyzis of Roman foreign policy as well as of the "Latinokratia", yet I think the initial picture of the consequences for the Romans of the Crusades was very favourable because the First Crusade allowed Rome to retake as much of Asia Minor as Alexios I could, although I acknowledge the situation with Bohemond I was very dangerous.Regardless of how much I might diverge slightly from Harris regarding this issue, the grade was a bit lowered both because the second edition didn't have any editing work (it's full of typing mistakes with "i" and "l" letters, which is shameful for such a scholarly work, although it isn't the fault of Jonathan Harris) and I think the concept of "translatio imperii" advocated by the author (not only by him, but he surely defended it on this book while analyzing Roman political ideology) is in my view artificial and should have been better fundamented.

  • Jeff Gassler
    2019-01-11 09:09

    Byzantium and The Crusades is a biased account of the relations between the Christian Roman Empire of the East (Constantinople/Byzantium) and the Latin Crusaders. Mr. Harris favors the Byzantines and thus makes every stride to defend their disposition of self interest and pomposity. I reading his work found myself completely disgusted and frankly ashamed of the Byzantines who seem to have only been Christians in name. This book is meant to make the Crusaders look like blood thirsty barbarians, but it fails to taint their reputation and instead helped me understand just why the Empire founded by Constantine did not survive. Still, if you are a crusader history or wish to learn some history about the Byzantines this is a worthwhile read. I would not recommend this as the first book on the subject of the Crusades. Read God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades, The Crusades: A History by Jonathan Riley Smith, and The Crusades An Authoritative History by Thomas Asbridge before you attempt this work. I must confess that this book made the Byzantines more than some alien group during the Crusades. It helps me now understand their role in the events between 1095-1291. For that I must show my gratitude to Jonathan Harris. Also, there is quote that is worth sharing from this book. When the Byzantines approached the Crusaders in their gold garments decked with precious gems and prideful faces. The Crusaders looked at the boastful Byzantines and said, "The time for warring gold is over, it is time to ware iron." A very profound statement and worth thinking about.

  • Alexander
    2018-12-31 08:14

    OUTSTANDING! (Yes I had to say that in caps!). Easy, accessible and enjoyable read – which is particularly important when reading about the various complexities and nuances of the Byzantine world. Harris gives a brilliant investigation into the ideology behind Byzantine Emperors view of conquest, war and foreign policy in general. He shows how this allowed the Empire to survive and how it eventually caused a clash with the West that resulted in the Fourth Crusade.Cannot recommend enough.

  • Mick Maye
    2019-01-11 03:25

    The taking of Constantinople by the Crusaders is probably the lowest point of greed and avarice. This story is well written and enjoyable. The book flows well and was a pleasure to read.

  • Anatolikon
    2019-01-19 07:21

    This book is, without a doubt, the standard easily accessible work on Byzantium and the Crusades. Sure, Ralph-Johannes Lilie's 'Byzantium and the Crusader States' may be more detailed, but it also a little more dated, and the $200 price tag will scare off all but the most serious students.Harris seeks to present a history of the relationship between the Byzantine Empire and the crusaders, all the while keeping in the back of his mind the question of the Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople. He starts off by outlining the two main theories behind the devastation in 1204. The first is a classical "clash of civilizations" theory that doesn't hold up to scrutiny, as Byzantium and the West had become increasingly involved with each over the past several centuries, and there was little trouble. The second is that the Fourth Crusade was just a series of unpredictable events. Although one of the main Latin sources for Fourth Crusade, Geoffrey de Villehardouin, is keen to have us believe just that, Harris makes a convincing argument for the ultimate failure of Byzantine foreign policy. He argues that although it was well-suited for dealing with un-sophisticated "barbarian" peoples and the Muslims, it was not able to adapt to a rapidly growing and advancing Christian West. He outlines the century before the crusades and places Byzantium in its proper context, and elaborates a little on the Byzantine impetus behind the beginning of the crusades. He then goes on to briefly sum up the relations between the crusaders and the Komnenoi, carefully pulling out the relevant details behind Ioannes II Komnenos' aggressive policies towards the crusader states and Manuel's generous policies, as well as the disastrous and poorly-planned events surrounding the reign of Andronikos, and how actions from that point on led to animosity between the crusaders and the Byzantines. Through all of this, Harris draws a magisterial overview of Byzantine foreign policy, including both its strengths and weaknesses, how and why the Byzantines conceived it, and how it worked in reality.This book is a great history of the relationship between the Byzantine Empire, rge crusader states, and the West, and offers some fresh ideas regarding the eventual derailment of the Fourth Crusade. It reads like popular history, but is informative and innovative, and there is no reason for a student of Byzantium or the crusades to not have read this book.

  • Zachary Moore
    2019-01-13 05:13

    An interesting and well-written investigation of diplomatic relations between Byzantium and the crusader states. Harris' analysis, which pins most Byzantine actions to the desire to maintain and advance their ideological world-view, is reminiscent of many treatments of relations between the Chinese empire and its northern neighbors and frames an interesting question as to the role of political ideology in the formation of policy. I personally tend to think that Harris and other writers with similar theses place too much explanatory power on political ideology and seem to conclude that this ideology is formed without much input from the political reality that surrounds them. I feel that the ideology adapted by ruling state establishments tends to be much more fluid and based on the realities of the existing world order around them and that Harris' treatment assumes too much power to the ruling ideology of the Byzantine establishment.

  • Paul Pellicci
    2019-01-05 09:03

    The Roman empire in exile.. The Greeks didn't think so. The empire of the Emperor Constatine was well and alive in Constantanople. Along with the Roman Empire, the Christian Church as well, but did anyone tell the pope?Thus was the friction between east and west. The pope had some influence over western Europe, but not in the east. Constantanople's Emperor expected the whole Christian world to bow to it's athority. What a story.

  • Joseph Scipione
    2019-01-20 06:05

    This offers a different perspective on the motivations of the diversion of the 4th Crusade from Jerusalem to Constantinople. Some Crusade historians have been critical of Harris' argument regarding the fourth Crusade but I think he does a good job proving his argument.

  • Jason
    2019-01-01 05:26

    The writing isn't spectacular, but the book did a good job of filling in some gaps ignored in other books, and his explanation of the motives behind the Fourth Crusade were well-informed.

  • John Hively
    2019-01-06 07:06

    This was a great real, and difficult to put down. The book is about the diplomatic and political interactions between the Byzantine Empire and the Crusaders of the West.

  • Keith
    2019-01-11 05:24

    More readable than Byzantium and the Crusader States.