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Thomas Hoogendam




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2005 2:42 pm    Post subject: Book question: Arms and Armour during the Crusader Era.         Reply with quote

In the thread on the movie Kingdom Of Heaven, someone mentioned the book Arms And Armour During The Crusader Era, by David Nicolle.

I've been doing a bit of searching on David Nicolle, and noticed he has done a lot for Osprey, and I've heard a lot of times that Osprey can be a bit sketchy when it comes to historical acuracy.

Does this particular book come recommended, or would something else be adviced??

And while on the subject, what other books should I read, conserning the Crusades in general??
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Helen Miller




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2005 4:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you look at amazon.com there are several reviews that don't recommend the book you are mentioning.

As far as books devoted to the Crusades:
I've heard that The Crusades: The World's Debate by Belloc (?) is a very informative book over all
and
The Age of the Crusades: The Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517 by P.M. Holt is also good
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Alina Boyden





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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2005 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't trust amazon. Dr. Nicolle has some of the best information available for the arms and armor of Islam and the Crusades. I would call him one of the foremosts experts on the subject. I'm the one who mentioned the book. It isn't easy or fun to read. It is simply a front section describing plates and a back half with line drawings of archaeological examples. At the same time, I've found it to be incredibly useful. Keep in mind I only have the version for Eastern Europe, Byzantium, and Islam.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2005 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For books on the Crusades (not just weapons), how about Steven Runciman's 3 volume History of the Crusades? Or is he considered out of date now?
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Helen Miller




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2005 4:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Isn't there some Oxford reference dictionary on the Crusades as well? Probably too old as well, the Crusades was never my strong point.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2005 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have David Nicolle's book, Arms & Armour of the Crusading Era: 1050-1350. (The volume that covers western europe and the crusader states).

It's a valuable resource, however, I can see why some people would be disappointed by it. In fact, I was when I first received it. Being very familiar with Mr. Nicolle's work with Osprey I was expecting more color plates and photographs. In reality this book has none of either. It's just as Alina has described, full of line drawings of period artwork, statuary, and arms, with descriptive paragraphs of each illustration. For those of you familiar with the Wallace catalog it's laid out in the same fashion. It is an excellent supplement to a larger library but if you're looking for a good general reference on the subject this isn't it.

A fairly decent book is Brassey's Book of the Crusades by David Miller. While not without fault it is worthwhile. On the negative side Mr. Miller states that he doesn't intend to offer a politically correct treatise that apologises for the crusades, nor will he attempt to demonize and barbarize the "Franks". However, in many cases that's exactly what he does. What this book does offer is a good timeline of the events as they occured throughout the crusading period. It's also profusely illustrated, much of it is romantic victorian era fare but it's nice to look at just the same. I purchased a copy from Edward R. Hamilton for under $8.00 so it can be found pretty cheaply.

Some of the Osprey books aren't too bad and the later ones tend to be better. I have been a bit disappointed in the artwork in some of the newer ones however, particularly The First Crusade 1096-99 (Campaign # 132) and Knight Templar 1120-1312 (Warrior #91). The color plates and artwork in these two fall far short of earlier books.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Joel Whitmore




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2005 8:03 pm    Post subject: Crusade Books         Reply with quote

I have to admit that my favorite book about the crusades, from a sheer good reading standpoint, is Dungeon, Fire and Sword by John J. Robinson. It focuses mainly on the Knight's Templars but it gives a frank and well-written account of the political, historical and cultural background of the crusades. Robinson doesn't "take sides" in his book which is why I like it and his writing style is easy to read. Hea also includes his sources in the bibliography. I also have the Folio Society's 3-volume set on the history of the crusades. This set goes into great detail about the events before, during and after the crusades. Chronicles of the Crusades edited by Elizabeth Hallam is nice if you want actual accounts from western participants. The Dream and the Tomb by Payne is also fairly good though I would not recommend it as the best I ever read.

Please be aware that there is not one book that is the be-all end-all source. I think that once you read one book, this shoudl encourage you to read others. Even if you don't read entire volumes, you can pick out your favorite time, battle or person and see how the writer compares with others. If you should happen to delve really deep you can possibly find primary sources, though most of them will be in Latin or Arabic (though translations are sometimes available).

History is a living breathing entity and rarely do people come to the same conclusions about any one event. Think how hotly debated the 2000 presidential election still is to some and imagine trying to read someone's history that is 1000 years old. The crusades showcased the very best and the very worst of human behavoirs and the people directly involved in them have the same character flaws we have today. My main thought to you when reading histories is this Thomas: do not pass judgement on events and people using a modern point of view. To that end, you may also want to read some pieces on the MIddle Ages in general so you can get a feel for the lifestyle and thought processes of people living at that time. But it's well worth the research. Good luck Big Grin

Joel
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Tue 03 May, 2005 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I have David Nicolle's book, Arms & Armour of the Crusading Era: 1050-1350. (The volume that covers western europe and the crusader states).

It's a valuable resource, however, I can see why some people would be disappointed by it. In fact, I was when I first received it. Being very familiar with Mr. Nicolle's work with Osprey I was expecting more color plates and photographs. In reality this book has none of either. It's just as Alina has described, full of line drawings of period artwork, statuary, and arms, with descriptive paragraphs of each illustration. For those of you familiar with the Wallace catalog it's laid out in the same fashion. It is an excellent supplement to a larger library but if you're looking for a good general reference on the subject this isn't it.


That is it in a nutshell. I have D. Nicolle's book and I use it constantly, not as a general-reading book but rather for research. It contains numerous illustrations (line drawings) that are organized by culture and time period. Very nice when trying to find period examples for either arms and armour. Definitely not a general reference about the history of the crusades. If you care about historic events this is not for you, but if you want to study arms and armour you should get it. the price tag is about $40 (the cheapest I have seen).

I hope that helps.

Alexi
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Thomas Hoogendam




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PostPosted: Tue 03 May, 2005 9:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for the great advice sofar. I will definatly look into some of the books mentioned.

As for Dr. Nicolle's book, I might have to get it, as an extra.

If anyone knows of any other good books conserning the Crusades, be it on A&A, or cultural and political issues, any advice is always welcome. Happy
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Alina Boyden





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PostPosted: Tue 03 May, 2005 11:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Books on crusades:

Arab Historians of the Crusades by Francesco Gabrieli - This book is a collection of primary source documents written by Arabs/Syrians/Muslim side of things during the crusades.

An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades translated by Philip K Hitti - This is the memoirs of Usamah Ibn Munqidh, a knight for the muslim side of things in the time between the second and third crusades. It is in no chronological order, and some of it consists of just random ramblings about his life. Usamah wrote this when he was 80 years old or thereabouts, making this one of those documents you have to take with a grain of salt. On the other hand, he's my hero and I want to put a poster of him up in my room.

The First Crusade by Edward Peters - this book is a collection of historical source documents including the famous chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres. It has more Muslim and Jewish sources than it did in previous editions, but still tends to focus heavily on the west.

Try finding something from William of Tyre

Secondary sources are important when developing a basic understanding of the events surrounding the period. Some good secondary sources:

The Crusades: A short history by Jonathan Riley-Smith - he is one of the foremost historians looking at the crusades in the late 20th century.

A concise history of the crusades by Thomas Madden - Another work from a late 20th century historian on the subject of the crusades.

Generally I have two rules when reading books for history.

The first rule is to always favor primary sources above secondary sources because that's where the information comes from. In addition, primary sources are almost always more fun to read. They can't always be taken as fact, and indeed sometimes they lie to us. However, they give us an insight into the people and culture of the time that we simply can't get by reading secondary sources.

The second rule is to never buy a book on history that was written by someone without a PhD in history. I know it is arrogant, maybe a bit pretentious, but the fact of the matter is 99% of stuff written by people who don't have doctorates in the subject is nonsense. This is especially true when trying to read about the Knights Templar or any other "controversial" group in the middle ages.
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2005 3:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As always, I have to recomend Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight by David Edge and John Miles Paddock. Each chapter of this book covers arms and armour from a given century (10th through 16th), and includes quite a few photgraphs. Since the Crusades lasted a while, it might give you a better understanding of how armour and weaponry changed during that time as well. The down side is that this book is out of print, so you will probably have to pray that a library in your area has it.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Helen Miller




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2005 4:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson,

I found my Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight book at an Ollie's store in Pennsylvania, USA.
I think these stores are going nationwide over here in the USA.

-"A woman's tongue is her sword, and she does not let it rust."
Proverb
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2005 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alina Boyden wrote:


The second rule is to never buy a book on history that was written by someone without a PhD in history. I know it is arrogant, maybe a bit pretentious, but the fact of the matter is 99% of stuff written by people who don't have doctorates in the subject is nonsense. This is especially true when trying to read about the Knights Templar or any other "controversial" group in the middle ages.


You are aware of how elitist and untrue that statement is? Confused I can of hand name a dozen or so authors who has done a lot of important research in their chosen areas of history and who does not have PhD's. An PhD is an indacation that you have do well in the confines of the academic sytems, it does not say anything about the quality or reliability of an authors work. A book should be judged by how it is written, not by the academic titles if any of the author.
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2005 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
Alina Boyden wrote:


The second rule is to never buy a book on history that was written by someone without a PhD in history. I know it is arrogant, maybe a bit pretentious, but the fact of the matter is 99% of stuff written by people who don't have doctorates in the subject is nonsense. This is especially true when trying to read about the Knights Templar or any other "controversial" group in the middle ages.


You are aware of how elitist and untrue that statement is? Confused I can of hand name a dozen or so authors who has done a lot of important research in their chosen areas of history and who does not have PhD's. An PhD is an indication that you have do well in the confines of the academic systems, it does not say anything about the quality or reliability of an authors work. A book should be judged by how it is written, not by the academic titles if any of the author.


Not to get too off topic here but if you want a professional opinion, ask a professional! Eek! Happy I have to say that I agree with Alina on the matter (maybe because I am an academician and an elitist bastard Wink ). While there may be some PhD's that are idiots, and some non academicians that know their stuff, the chances are that the professionally trained individuals will deliver a better (more complete, accurate, and well thought out) product. If you are just entering a field, you are much better off listening to the recognized authorities in that field (which are virtually always academicians/PhD's of sorts).

This is might be a controversial statement, and people should make their own minds about what they should read. The arguments presented above explain why I prefer to read some tings over other. That does not mean that every one should do as I do. Happy

Alexi
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

.The only thing I agree with in any of these recent statements is that they're Off Topic.

Let's get back On Topic.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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