A History of the Crusades: An Eight-Part Course with Dr. Thomas F. Madden

A History of the Crusades: An Eight-Part Course with Dr. Thomas F. Madden


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“God wills it!”

With that cry, the assembled knights at the Council of Clermont in 1095 ushered in a new era in the history of Europe. The fervor for the Crusades swept across the West and would animate history for the next five centuries. Originally called to rescue the Holy Land, recently conquered by the Turks, the Crusades became a major international project to halt and reverse the remarkable growth of Islamic kingdoms across the Mediterranean world.

Although today many people have heard of the Crusades, the images that dominate popular media today are grossly distorted. Thanks to a renaissance in Crusades scholarship over the last half-century, we now know much more about these Christian holy wars and the society that created them. In this course, participants will benefit from that research, as each week the Crusades and the Crusaders are revealed in a series of engaging lectures.

Dr. Thomas F. Madden is a leading scholar in the history of the medieval Mediterranean and especially the Crusades. He is the author of numerous scholarly studies and popular books on the subject, including the best-selling 'The Concise History of the Crusades' and 'The Fourth Crusade'. In these eight lectures, Dr. Madden will lead participants through the fascinating story of the Crusades, exploring their successes and failures, and introducing the Crusaders who made their marks on the period. Participants will benefit from the latest historical research offered in an understandable and compelling way.

Lecture 1: God Wills It!: The Expansion of Islam and the Birth of the Crusades

The storm of Muslim expansionism burst out of Arabia in the sixth century and soon conquered half of the Christian world. This lecture will describe the remarkable growth and Christian response. It will also explore the religious background for Crusade activity.

Lecture 2: The Stunning Victory of the First Crusade, 1095-1099

For the first time in history, tens of thousands of warriors marched thousands of miles deep into enemy territory without any centralized command, supply lines, or strategic plans. Yet, the men of the First Crusade were nonetheless amazingly successful. This lecture will march with the Crusaders, seeing up close their successes and failures.

Lecture 3: The Birth of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1095-1187

With the conquest of Jerusalem in 1095, the Crusaders formed a new kingdom that would last for nearly two centuries. This lecture will describe how the kingdom grew and the challenges that it faced with resurgent Muslim powers.

Lecture 4: Templars and Hospitallers: The Rise of the Military Orders

Monasteries and warriors were fused into one with the medieval invention of the military orders. This lecture will describe the rise of the Templars, Hospitallers, and other new orders. It will also discuss modern corruptions of these orders that have led to fantasies such as is found in Dan Brown novels.

Lecture 5: Lionhearts: Saladin, Richard I, and the Contest for Jerusalem, 1187-1192

In 1187 at the Battle of Hattin the Muslim leader, Saladin, crushed the Christian forces defending Jerusalem and soon conquered the Holy City and much of the Crusader Kingdom. This lecture will examine that victory and then follow the course of the Third Crusade, led Richard the Lionheart of England, which attempted to undo it.

Lecture 6: O City of Byzantium: The Tragedy of the Fourth Crusade, 1201-1204

Although the Crusaders in 1201 planned to make war on the Muslim caliphate in Egypt, they ended up sailing to Christian Constantinople and destroying it. This bizarre outcome will be explained in this lecture by following the Crusaders from their agreements in Venice to their betrayals in Constantinople.

Lecture 7: The Decline and Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1200-1291

Although Europeans continued to send massive Crusades to shore up the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the growing might of the Muslim powers in Egypt and Syria were unstoppable. This lecture will survey the Fifth Crusade and the Crusades of St. Louis finally concluding with the fall of Acre, the last Christian outpost in the Holy Land.

Lecture 8: Saving Europe: The Later Crusades, 1291-1571

The growth of Muslim power under the Mamluks and Turks meant that recapturing Jerusalem was no longer a serious possibility for Christians. Instead, the Crusades were repurposed as attempts to slow the relentless Muslim conquests of Europe itself. This lecture will survey the major events in this struggle, that led to the fall of Constantinople and the spectacular naval battle of Lepanto.

Thomas F Madden is a Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University and the author of the best-selling book The Concise History of the Crusades. As an author and historical consultant, he has appeared in such venues as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and The History Channel. He is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Medieval Academy of America, and he is a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar.

How does it work?

This is an eight-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background in the history of the Crusades, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $280.00 for 8 lectures.

Is a recording available?

In general, our courses are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

This course is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
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P
P.O.
Crusades Dr Thomas Madden
j
j.h.e.
M
M.W.
Review of"A History of the Crusades"
T
T.
Another brilliant lecture by Prof Madden
j
j.h.e.

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
100%
(9)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
P
P.O.
Crusades Dr Thomas Madden
j
j.h.e.
M
M.W.
Review of"A History of the Crusades"
T
T.
Another brilliant lecture by Prof Madden
j
j.h.e.