Thomas Madden: the New Concise History of the Crusades Essay

1232 Words May 20th, 2008 5 Pages
Thomas Madden’s Crusades is an exposition of the crusades, which occurred during the Middle Ages. The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character. They remain a very important movement in human history, and are hard to understand, as they include several themes and they lasted for a long time (about two hundred years, and the author covers a period of about eight centuries in his chronological work). Religion is, of course, the most recurrent theme we think about the Crusades, but is it the only factor to explain them? How does Madden, considered as one of the most foremost historian of the Crusades, expose them in his book? Is his work effective to understand this period of History? Madden has the ambition to …show more content…
Anyway, we have to add that motivations were sometimes different, and Madden do not forget to explain that. For example, he talks about the massacre of the Jews that was committed during the First Crusade. He explains that the penury was the origin of this massacre, along with the fact that Jews were “responsible for the Crucifixion” (19), that means they are also the enemies of Christians. Religious doctrines of western Christianity were unique, and were driven, of course, by the faith. A good example of that strong faith is the feeling Christians had whether they won or not. When a Crusade was successful, people would thank God for bringing them victory. When a Crusade failed, for instance the Second Crusade, which was a disaster, Saint Bernard quoted the Old Testament to explain that “The armies of Christendom failed because of the sins of Europe”, and that “Europe must purify itself” (61). In other words, the pope or the leaders who drove the Crusade to a disaster were not at fault.
Another relevant element that Madden brings is his ability to incorporate details, even if it is a concise history of the Crusades, without losing sight of his solidly constructed chronological framework. For example, the reality of the war at this time is exposed. He explains that “some soldiers turned
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