Dei gesta per Francos: Études sur les croisades dédiées à Jean Richard/Crusade Studies in Honour of Jean Richard.  Michel Balard, Benjamin Kedar & Jonathan Riley-Smith, eds.  Aldershot & Burlington: Ashgate, 2001.  xxiv + 434 pp.  $104.95 cloth.

            This is a festschrift for Jean Richard.  Like most festschriften, it is a collection of only loosely-related essays which vary widely in scope, length, and utility, and it poses the usual difficulties to the reviewer.

            The volume contains a brief preface by the editors, giving a biographical sketch of Richard's academic career and noting that his scholarly interests have included both the history of Burgundy and that of the Latin East, though this volume addresses only the latter.  The editors refer to the crusades as the "première phase d'une expansion européene," evoking, perhaps unintentionally, the ghost of Joshua Prawer's largely rejected "crusades-as-colonialism" theory.  Only by the narrowest of definitions can this idea be accepted, since Europeans from the time of Alexander on (at least) engaged in "expansionary" activities outside the borders of Europe, and in any case the crusades were generally conceived and prosecuted as defensive wars, not military or political expansions, just as the activities of the Byzantines between 622 and 1095 were.  This is perhaps a quibble, but it is surprising to see the idea still in circulation.

            Twelve pages of bibliography follow, an amenity still useful in this age of Google.  In accordance with the focus of the volume, only those of Richard's works which deal with the Latin East are listed in the bibliography.

            The thirty-eight contributions are broken down into four sections: "Bella Sacra," dealing with crusading; "Militia Nova," addressing the military orders; "Terra Sancta," on warfare and life generally in the Latin East; and "Cyprus," which is self-explanatory.  Twenty are in English, seventeen in French, and one in German.  Seven of the articles include transcriptions of texts, a habit greatly to be encouraged.

            As might be expected, not all the articles are directly related to military history.  Of the thirty-eight, perhaps thirteen have significant military content.  Most of these are found, naturally, in the "Bella Sacra" section, and may be broken down as follows:  five might be considered to deal at least partly with matters of motivation and recruitment (H. E. J. Cowdrey, "Pope Gregory VII and Martyrdom"; Christoph Maier, "Civilis ac pia regis Francorum deceptio: Louis IX as Crusade Preacher"; Jacques Paviot, "Comment reconquérir la Terre sainte et vaincre les Sarrasins"; Norman Housley, "Explaining Defeat: Andrew of Regensburg and the Hussite Crusades"; and Anthony Luttrell, "A Hospitaller soror at Rhodes, 1347").

            The rest are even less easy to group.  Paviot's "Comment reconquérir la Terre sainte" also discusses recovery treatises, as does Alain Demurger's "Les orders militaires et la croisade au début du XIVe siècle: Quelques remarques sur les traités de croisade de Jacques de Molay et de Foulques de Villaret."  John France's "The Fall of Antioch during the First Crusade" deals with the negotiations during the siege; John Pryor's "'Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.' Water Supplies for the Fleets of the First Crusade" addresses the logistics of that expedition.  Marie-Adélaïde Nielen presents what seems to be a fragment of the rule of the elusive Cypriot Order of the Sword in "Un fragment de la Règle de l'Ordre de l'Épee?" (an article which this reviewer found particularly intriguing) and Malcolm Barber discusses the conduct of war in "The Albigensian Crusades: Wars Like Any Other?"

            In "Frankish and Muslim Siege Warfare and the Construction of Frankish Concentric Castles," Ronnie Ellenblum takes up the vexed question of influence—who learned from whom?  Ellenblum argues that Latin castle-building innovations were a response not to Muslim construction techniques, but to the Muslim adoption of Latin use of heavy siege engines.  And Denys Pringle discusses possible sites for the location of the Spring of Cresson, an important feature in the campaigns of 1187, in "The Spring of Cresson in Crusading History."

            Those interested in trying to recreate the events of the siege and fall of Acre in 1291 will find Adrian Boas' "Some Reflections on Urban Landscapes in the Kingdom of Jerusalem: Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and Acre" to be a very helpful overview of the state of research on this vexing question.  Dominique Sourdel discusses the extent to which Prince Bohemond VI and the Mongols actually reconverted Muslim mosques to their original use as churches in Damascus during the joint Christian-Mongol campaign of 1260 ("Bohémond et les chrétiens à Damas sous l'occupation mongole").

            Given the limits of space and the interests of De re militari's audience, the focus of this review has been primarily on articles of military interest.  Other articles cover topics such as art history, church history, political and economic history, historiography, textual analysis, biography, sigillography, pilgrimage, and archaeology.  Their value should not be considered less for their not being discussed in more detail here.

            There are a few weaknesses in this volume, beyond the usual ones inherent in the medium.  For one thing, there is no index.  Including one would have taken a certain amount of time on the editors' part, but would have greatly enhanced the usefulness of the volume to readers.  For another, the text is set in what appears to be 10-point type, difficult and even unpleasant to read.  The text is poorly copy-edited, a trend becoming alarmingly widespread in the output of many publishers (there are so many errors and infelicities that the reader may be left to find examples for himself).  There is also no list of contributors and their affiliations which, given the wide dispersal of contributors, would have been interesting if not instructive to peruse, and would in itself have underscored the influence of the man to whom the contributions were offered.  The cost of the volume is almost prohibitive for the individual reader, and ensures that its distribution will be limited to a few valiant libraries and the most hard-core of crusade scholars.

            Most of these problems would have been easy to fix, given a little more attention on the part of editors and publisher.  It is a pity that a volume intended to honor such an influential and important figure as Jean Richard did not receive that attention.

            Do the collection's virtues outweigh its defects?  For most serious crusades historians, the answer must be yes.  Many of these articles reflect the latest advances in their varied fields; there is something of value here for almost everyone.


Paul Crawford
Alma College