• Academic Credits: 3
  • Mode of Instruction: Lecture
  • Syllabus:  Fall 2023

    Syllabus Disclaimer:  The information on this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) on the first day of class.

  • Course Description

    The story of the Crusades is usually told from West to East. This course will tell the story from East to West. It will begin in the Eastern Mediterranean: the original target of the Crusades. But it will end in Western Europe: the place in which the Crusades had their most profound impact.

    In part one, students will be introduced to the people and politics of the Eastern Mediterranean on the eve of the First Crusade. They will meet the Christians of Byzantium: mighty heirs to the Roman empire. They will meet the Muslims of the Caliphate: world-straddling successors to the prophet Muhammad's rule in Arabia. They will meet the Turks of the steppe: horse-borne nomads who swept out of the northern grasslands to redraw the political map of the Middle East. Only then will students meet the would-be redeemers of this world: the ill-smelling, hard-fighting Westerners known to the people of the East simply as "the Franks."

    In part two, students will hear the story of the first five Crusades to take and defend Jerusalem, from the impossible victory at Jerusalem in 1099 to the violent end of Crusader presence in the Near East in 1291.

    In part three, students will debate the extent to which crusading and its culture transformed Christian Europe itself. Finally, they will ask if the conquest of the New World was the real "Last Crusade."