PDF Dr David Nicolle Ò Ò The First Crusade 1096–99: Conquest of the Holy Land

In 1095 the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I appealed to the Christian states of western Europe for help against the Turks who had swept across the Empire after the disastrous Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071 This book is about the First Crusade that followed and saw several armies of 'armed pilgrims' march across Europe to the Holy Land They were unleashed on a divided and fragmented Islamic world and won a series of apparently miraculous victories capturing the Holy City of Jerusalem itself The success of the First Crusade was never to be repeated however and triggered two centuries of bitter warfare the repercussions of which are still felt todayIn 1095 the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I appealed to the Christian states of western Europe for help against the Turks who had swept across the Empire after the disastrous Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071 This book is about the First Crusade that followed and saw several armies of 'armed pilgrims' march across Europe to the Holy Land They were unleashed on a divided and fragmented Islamic world and won a series of apparently miraculous victories capturing the Holy City of Jerusalem itself The success of the First Crusade was never to be repeated however and triggered two centuries of bitter warfare the repercussions of which are still felt todayIn 1095 the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I appealed to the Christian states of western Europe for help against the Turks who had swept across the Empire after the disastrous Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071 This book is about the First Crusade that followed and saw several armies of 'armed pilgrims' march across Europe to the Holy Land They were unleashed on a divided and fragmented Islamic world and won a series of apparently miraculous victories capturing the Holy City of Jerusalem itself The success of the First Crusade was never to be repeated however and triggered two centuries of bitter warfare the repercussions of which are still felt today


3 thoughts on “The First Crusade 1096–99: Conquest of the Holy Land (Campaign)

  1. says:

    By and large this Osprey Campaign title is an acceptable introduction to the First Crusade because it is clear and makes the main and most important points These include a rather good presentation of the context and situation of the Byzantine Empire in particular and the Middle East in general at the eve of the First Crusade It also covers the rather close relationships between the Empire and the Fatimid Caliphate against the Sunni Seljuks on the basis that the enemy of my enemy is my friend Finally it also includes a rather comprehensive of the whole Campaign up to and including the battle of Ascalon although it omits the march to Constantinople and starts with the siege of NiceaOtherwise the book follows the usual Campaign series format Origins chronology opposing commanders opposing forces opposing plans the Campaign the Aftermath the battlefields today Also worth noting while limited the bibliography is rather good and omissions are mostly due to references which were published after 2003 that is after the publication of this volumeiI had however two problems with this volume and this is why I have only rated it three starsThe less important of the two is that like some other reviewers I did not like the plates because I simply do not like Christa Hook's impressionist style neither did I fancy her use of rather bland colours Finally I found it a bit of a pity that two of the plates supposed to illustrate respectively the battle of Doryleum and the battle outside Antioch are not in fact battle scenes Rather they show respectively the Seljulks and the Crusaders advancing into battle A related problem is with the battle and siege diagrams the author has tried to cram so much information into them that they become difficult to read and understandWhile my first problem is a bit of a uibble and largely boils down to personal preferences my second one is perhaps serious I simply found that this volume contained too many mistakes typos simplifications and approximations and these start from the very beginning of the book I have not listed them all because this would be boring for just about everyone including myself but below is a selection of six of them The Emperor Alexios did NOT decide to ask the Christian states of Western Europe for support Rather he asked the Urbain II hoping that the pope would be able to raise a larger force of mercenaries on his behalf that what the Emperor and his predecessors had achieved through embassies over the past decades for instance the 500 Flemish knights which fought the Petchenegues at Levounion among others Bohemond did NOT lead a major campaign and invasion of the Empire that ended in 1105 In fact in 1105 and 1106 he was busy recruiting through France and Italy and building a fleet for this campaign which only took place in 1107 and 1108 and ended disastrously for Bohemond I simply do not know where David Nicolle found that Alexios' cavalry was desperately short of horses at the beginning of his reign to the extent that he had to buy some from the Muslims in Syria More importantly and even assuming that the statement is correct the reasons for such a shortage are omitted and can only be guessed at invasion of Kappadokia in particular and Anatolia in general by the Turks and raids across Thrace by the Petchenegues perhaps? Regarding the siege of Nicaea two elements stand out First I do not uite know what makes the author believe that the Turkish garrison was small Since this was the Sultan's capital where both his treasury and his family were and it was a rather large city one would expect on the contrary a rather significant garrison Second the author claims that the Danishmend were also present at Nicaea alongside the Seljuks I had always thought that they only appeared at Doryleaum after the Sultan had patched up an alliance with them and following his first defeat at Nicaea The story about the dispersal of the first relief army led by Dua of Damascus by Bohemond and Robert of Flanders on 31 December is a controversial one and may even be misleading and incorrect Rather than a Frankish victory this seems to have been a defeat where the two leaders of what was essentially a foray to collect food bumped into the relief force and was almost surrounded and destroyed What David Nicolle does not tell and what appears clearly in John France's superb book Victory in the East is that the two leaders and most of the cavalry escaped encirclement and saved their skins by abandoning their infantry to the Turks This may also suggest that Dua' s force was NOT the small army that Nicolle makes it out to be and it may also have outnumbered Bohemond's and Robert's foraging party Finally I was much surprised to learn about the argument made by Nicolle on the existence of counterweight trebuchet artillery at the end of the 11th century in the Middle East especially since he does not provide any concrete evidence A six week siege and bombardment using mangonels or catapults would be than enough to breach the walls of almost any fortification at the time contrary to what the author seems to be suggesting


  2. says:

    good detail on the most sucessful Crusade of them all great maps and photos I read a book on Amzamoncom called The Norman Crusade the first crusade and the conuest of the kingdom of heaven better book made me feel as if i was travelling on the crusade and some nice pics and drawings both are worth a buy


  3. says:

    Being uite familiar with many earlier books by David Nicolle I was a little bit apprehensive beginning to read this one because of his well known anti Christian and pro Muslim bias present in many of his older worksWell all in all I was favorably surprised because there is a clear effort of objectivity from his part on this still hotly debated topic This is a honest overview of the First Crusade although by necessity uite short Osprey Campaigns series are only 96 pages long Certainly one can be a little surprised by the freuency with which author names the Crusaders army a horde and ualifies their commitment as fanatism and hysterical religious intoxication But I expected much worseMaps are very well done this is a strong point in all David Nicolle booksThe really BAD point are the colour plates usually the trademark of Osprey series in this book they are simply horrible Very vague gray without details usually present in most of the Osprey titles with the faces of people almost fading All in all these plates by Christa Hook belong in a modern art museum than in a military history bookThose few bad points notwithstanding it is still a honest book