Noble Ideals and Bloody Realities

Warfare in the Middle Ages


The contributions presented in this volume address several issues related to the topic of medieval warfare from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and examining a number of geographical regions. The contributors analyze social and economic issues, military strategy, technological and medical developments, ideology and rhetoric, and address warfare in Europe, the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world. In three parts, the contributors explore warfare in theory, warfare in practice and warfare as perceived through medieval and modern historiography. In doing so they present a number of engaging case studies that will be of use to students and scholars interested in warfare and its effects on medieval society.

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Biographical Note

Niall G.F. Christie, Ph.D. (1999) in medieval Islamic history, University of St Andrews, teaches religious studies and history at the University of British Columbia and Corpus Christi College in Vancouver, Canada. He is a specialist in the crusades. Maya Yazigi, Ph.D. (2001) in Islamic Studies, University of California – Los Angeles, is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She is a specialist in early Islamic history.

Review Quotes

“sheds important light on the reality behind the various medieval accounts of warfare/crusades and forces us to reexamine many of our assumptions about war in the Middle Ages, and how people involved in it were treated. .. [A] fascinating collection.” Albrecht Classen in Sixteenth Century Journal, XXXVIII/4 (2007), 1089-1091 “These are essays worth reading and absorbing. Some are stimulating as well as informative. … the collective volume has a place in any bibliography on medieval and Crusading warfare…. It belongs in libraries on the history of warfare, medieval military history, medieval history, Byzantium, medieval Islam, and the medieval eastern Mediterranean.” Walter E. Kaegi in Mamluk Studies Review, vol. 11, no. 2, 2007, 197-199. “this volume contains a good mix of papers……will mostly appeal to historians focusing on the Middle East … I would recommend Noble Ideals and Bloody Realities for any library shelf.” Peter Konieczny, in H-War (March, 2007) “The essays offer exciting points of departure for future research, particularly for comparative approaches” William Caferro in Speculum, 82/3 (2007), 693-694

Table of contents

List of Contributors Notes on Arabic Transliteration and References Introduction PART ONE: NOBLE IDEALS: PERCEPTIONS OF WARFARE “Collateral Damage?” Civilian Casualties in the Early Ideologies of Chivalry and Crusade; David J. Hay Medieval Warfare and the Value of a Human Life; Kelly DeVries Religious Campaign or War of Conquest? Muslim Views of the Motives of the First Crusade; Niall Christie PART TWO: BLOODY REALITIES: WAR IN PRACTICE Thinking about Crusader Strategy; John France The Torture of Military Captives in the Crusades to the Medieval Middle East; Piers D. Mitchell Holy War, Royal Wives, and Equivocation in Twelfth-Century Jerusalem; Deborah Gerish Arming the Enemy: Non-Christians’ Roles in the Military Culture of the Crown of Aragon during the Reconquista; Paula R. Stiles Communal Piracy in Medieval England’s Cinque Ports; David G. Sylvester Wartime Corruption and Complaints of the English Peasantry; Ilana Krug PART THREE: UNTO THE BREACH: RE-EXAMINING ISSUES IN MEDIEVAL AND MODERN MILITARY HISTORIOGRAPHY The Military Revolution and the Early Islamic State; Hugh Kennedy Byzantium, the Reluctant Warrior; Warren Treadgold Reynald of Châtillon and the Red Sea Expedition of 1182–83; Marcus Milwright Appendix


All those interested in the history (political, military, social, medical, technological, intellectual, religious and economic) of medieval Europe, Byzantium and the Middle East.

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