Arab Historians of the Crusades

Product Description
The recapture of Jerusalem, the siege of the Acre, the fall of Tripoli, the effect in Baghdad of events in Syria; these and other happening were faithfully recorded by Arab historians during the two centuries of the Crusades. For the first time contemporary accounts of the fighting between Muslim and Christian have been translated into English, and the Western reader can learn ‘the other side’ of the Holy War.
Seventeen authors are represented in the extracts in this work, which have been drawn from various types of historical writings. The excerpts are taken firstly from the general histories of the Muslim world, then from chronicles of cities, regions and their dynasties, and finally from biographies or records of the deeds of certain persons. The Arab histories of the Crusades compare favorably with their Christian counterparts in their rich accumulation of material and chronological information. Another of their merits is their faithful characterization, which they practiced in the brief but illuminating sketches of enemy leaders: Baldwin II’s shrewdness, Richard Coeur de Lion’s prowess in war, the indomitable energy of Conrad of Motferrat, Frederick II’s diplomacy. The chronicles are generous, naturally, with their praises of the great champions of the Muslim resistance, especially of Saladin, who towers above all the other leaders in heroic stature. Although, this book gives a sweeping and stimulating view of the Crusades seen through Arab eyes.

Arab Historians of the Crusades

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5 Comments

  1. A considerable amount of history during the early Middle Ages was written by Middle Easterners, and their scholarship should be taken seriously, as shown in this book. There is a lot of information appropriate to the issues in the region even now. See other reviews in the resource library at civilsociety dot seedwiki
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. The history of the Crusaders cannot be complete without the contribution of the inhabitants of that part of the world.

    There are only a few books, probably no more than two or three, that attempt to relate the stories of the invaded against probably hundreds written from the view point of the invaders.

    The earnest reports of the Arab historians of the time contained in the book must be a reflection of the pain and outrage that must prevailed throughout the 100-year invasion of Syria’s littoral region. Sensitive readers would find it easy to understand!

    Serious teachers of history will find this book authentic, clear and revealing. It represents a very interesting example in history writing by Arab historians of those days. For a narrative of some of the historic text included in this book, the invaluable work of A. Maalouf and J. Rothschild, “The Crusaders Through Arab Eyes” is a rich companion.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. A good book. It has many parallels with accounts of the original Muslim invasions and subsequent 700 year occupation of most of the Iberian (Spain/Portugal) Penninsula. Due to this initial Muslim invasion and occupation of Christian Europe, the Christian Crusades were launched into Spain and the Holy Land. Same story in the Balkans and Anatolia with the Seljuk and Ottoman Turk invasions of those Christian lands. First hand accounts of events always make for good reading. A good book, unfortunately I lost it.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. A very good source, especially for those who have read about the Crusades and understand the context of the writings. This book is not an overview of the crusades or of a single crusade; it is selections from the writings of Arabic historians placed in a chronological order. Easy to read, detailed and engrossing; both useful and enjoyable.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Once you’ve read the popular histories of the Crusades, and your appetite for the original source materials has been whetted by the excerpts in Payne, Runciman, etc., you will want this book. It’s THE source reader for the Arab perspectives, better in many ways than The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (Maalouf). You get the flavor of the culture as well as their particular slant on the events and personalities. And the snarky footnotes can be delicious!
    Rating: 5 / 5

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