Jackson is the rare scholar of the Crusades who is equally adept in both
translating and understanding the cultural context of the Arabic as well
as the European sources. These are certainly the skills necessary for compiling
this intriguing set of documents, many familiar and even more less well-known.
has arranged this collection of Latin, Old French, and Arabic sources in
chronological order. Thus, some snippets of text from the same source may
appear in multiple sections if it relates to different periods (from chronicles,
for example). The book is arranged into ten chapters preceded by
an introduction that discusses the major sources such as that by Jean de
Joinville. Jackson then discusses the benefits and problems found in many
of the other sources found in the collection. As many of the sources include
only brief mention of the Seventh Crusade, Jackson’s discourse is
the inclusion of so many brief excepts of sources is somewhat frustrating
in that one may easily forget who wrote what, Jackson has carefully cited
the extracts, not only from their published form, but also the original
manuscript listings. Thus scholars may track down the original text and
find the passage if they need to.
will like the nice chronological flow as it describes the Seventh Crusade
from its start with Louis’ taking the Cross to the end of Louis’ activities
in the Middle East. Jackson also includes an intriguing chapter on the
preparations for the crusade which provides multiple angles of view on
the logistical side of thirteenth-century warfare. The third chapter is
a nice counterbalance to traditional descriptions of the Seventh Crusade
as it discusses the attitude of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, whose
involvement and non-involvement is often overlooked, thus giving
the mistaken impression that the Seventh Crusade was an exclusively French
affair from the beginning.
actions and failure of the Seventh Crusade is then discussed along with
rival movements. In this reviewer’s opinion, perhaps the most remarkable
chapters in the volume are chapters seven through nine as they discuss
the crusade from the often overlooked context of the home front. Although
this is an ever-growing field in most other periods of military history,
it often receives scant attention for the Middle Ages. Chapter seven discusses
reaction to the failure of the crusade among the nobility, clergy, and
papacy. Then chapter eight discusses the ‘Crusade’ of
the Pastoureaux—a movement
that began with the intent to come to the rescue of the beleaguered Crusaders,
but ended as an often unruly mob in France. Jackson also has included a
few documents which hint at a Mongol or Muslim conspiracy to plant agents
in Europe to stir up trouble, with the ‘Crusade’ of the Pastoureux as the result. The ninth chapter
then discusses more organized efforts to aid Louis IX from the home front,
and not just from France.
is a collection that will provide scholars with a wealth of documents.
Jackson’s own summary and analysis at the beginning of each chapter
is insightful and cogent. The variety of sources makes the work particularly
attractive for seminars on the Crusades. In conclusion, Ashgate’s Crusade
Texts in Translation series continues to be a must for scholars of
the Crusades and essential to any university that offers courses connected
to their libraries.