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Crusades (ALRI Course # 340 -- Fall of 2012): Ten sessions on Fridays, 10 AM - 12 Noon. All sessions will be held in Room 113 in George Mason University, Founders Hall (see map below). The first session will be on Friday October 5, and the last will be on December 14, 2012. (No class on November 23, the day after Thanksgiving Day). (Join ALRI and register for courses at http://www.arlingtonlri.org.)
Although the course is labeled "Crusades", it covers all wars among Christians and Muslims, starting shortly after the death of Mohammed. The wars started with Muslim expansion into and conquest of previously Christian territories. After hundreds of years, when Constantinople was threatened and when the Byzantine Emperor sought help from the west, various Western expeditionary forces (some successful and some not) set forth for Outremer. The wars fought by these expeditionary forces were called Crusades by later historians. Some later expeditions were misdirected into other theaters and issues. We'll try to figure it all out.
Why "among" rather than "between" Christians and Muslims? It's because shifting cross-religious alliances often put Christians and Muslims on both sides.
Click this line for Crusades course Internet class materials.
Finding the classes?
Click this line or on the small map image to see a larger image of the map: Please note that the "parking" indicated on the map is for GMU parking pass holders only. Metered parking is available on nearby streets. Some meters on Fairfax Drive next to St. Charles Church and on 10th Street offer parking for up to 12 hours. Paid parking is available under the Foundation Building -- about $10 for three hours. The Virginia Square/GMU Orange Line Metro (subway) station is nearby -- see the bottom left corner of the map. (For today's weather at Arlington GMU, click on this link.)
As usual, there are none. The usual handout will be provided and will include numerous internet links. The handouts can be found on the Internet in two formats -- click here for the handout in .doc format, or click here for the handout in .pdf format.
But if you feel the need for or just like the feel of a real hard-copy book, here are the suggestions (lifted with minor editorial changes from a Boise State U. internet course on the crusades by E. L. Skip Knox):
Hans Eberhard Mayer, The Crusades. Second edition. This has been used as a textbook for years. It's competent, fairly readable, covers the main crusades, and is concise enough to still be affordable. If you buy, make sure it's the second edition, not the first.
Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades. More recent than Mayer, Riley-Smith has a somewhat wider view of the Crusades as a movement. This book and Mayer's are really the only two reasonable candidates for a college-level textbook.
Sir Steven Runciman, The Crusades. Three volumes. (Have you noticed the consistency in titling? Have you noticed the lack of imagination?) This is an older work and is recommended for those who have the time, money, and inclination to invest in the subject. Runciman has a definite point of view (pro-Byzantine) but his is by far the most readable narrative and, at three volumes, the most detailed account that is readily available. It says something about the work that it was written in the 1950s and is still available in paperback. Be careful, though; don't bother with the one-volume abridged version. If you buy, get the full set.