Two famous, firsthand accounts of the holy war in the Middle Ages translated by Caroline Smith
Originally composed in Old French, the two chronicles brought together here offer some of the most vivid and reliable accounts of the Crusades from a Western perspective. Villehardouin's Conquest of Constantinople, distinguished by its simplicity and lucidity, recounts the controversial Fourth Crusade, which descended into an all-out attack on the E astern Christians of Byzantium. In Life of Saint Louis, Joinville draws on his close attachment to King Louis IX of France to recall his campaigning in the Holy Land. Together these narratives comprise a fascinating window on events that, for all their remoteness, offer startling similarities to our own age.
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Jean de Joinville was a thirteenth-century medieval French chronicler. His most famous work is Life of St. Louis, a biography of Louis IX of France that chronicled the Seventh Crusade.
Geoffrey de Villehardouin was a soldier and historian who took part in, and wrote extensively on, the Fourth Crusade. His eyewitness account of the 1204 conquest of Constantinople is the earliest surviving French historical narrative.
Caroline Smith studied history at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, from where she graduated with a PhD in 2004. Her publications include Crusading in the Age of Joinville (2006). She lives and works in New York, where she continues to pursue her research on the crusades and thirteenth-century French society, and on the life and writings of John of Joinville.
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