Wel­come

All About History - - CONTENTS -

When news of the fall of Jerusalem to Sal­adin’s forces in 1187 reached the Vat­i­can, Pope Ur­ban

III is said to have been so over­whelmed he had a heart at­tack and died. While Richard the Lion­heart led thou­sands of men to re­claim it, the cap­ture of the city also fired the imag­i­na­tion of Me­dieval bards in a way no other event had.

In an era that combined ris­ing lit­er­acy with the early flow­er­ing of chivalry, an un­prece­dented burst of his­tor­i­cal writ­ing ex­ploded in the Chris­tian West. Nu­mer­ous his­to­ries and epic po­ems glo­ri­fied the knights of pre­vi­ous cru­sades. In his own life­time, Richard I’s ri­valry with Sal­adin was also mythol­o­gised.

Th­ese sto­ries have echoed down the ages and have con­tin­ued to grip the Western imag­i­na­tion, from Sir Wal­ter Scott’s ro­man­tic reimag­in­ings in the 19th cen­tury to Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush’s dis­as­trous use of the word ‘cru­sade’ to de­scribe the war on ter­ror af­ter 9/11.

How­ever, what is the true story of the Cru­sades? While the re­li­gious di­men­sion of the con­flict can’t be de­nied, the real story is more com­pli­cated, and much more earthly, than most peo­ple recog­nise. Turn to page 30 to dis­cover the roots of the holy wars, and the kings and queens that fought in them.

Take to the skies with our his­tory of flight from page 14

Jack Par­sons Edi­tor

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