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How the Crusades Changed History

Journey to the Holy Land in this richly vivid course on the epic story of the Crusades. Witness the monumental human drama and grasp the ways in which the Crusades left their mark on future centuries, including our own.
How the Crusades Changed History is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 6.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Interesting and Illuminating Very interesting and illuminating. This is a complex and difficult subject area, and the Prof. structures the course appropriately to discuss both historical detail and thematic longer-term patterns and consequences that arose from the Crusades. Excellent course. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2024-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from And Now For Something Completely Different! The Crusades have always been a subject of fascination for me. Not because they represent humankind at its glorious best but rather at its despicable worst. And Dr. Philip Daileader does not mince words as he leads us through this religio-politico maze as only a scholar could, with a few scenic detours along the way. We meet Popes, Kings, preachers, knights and peasants, all thrown together in perhaps one--well, seven, really--of the most ill-conceived undertakings in human history. Those who went on Crusade had to supply their own money and equipment and the majority had no experience in warfare. Seem like a suicide mission? That's okay--you've got a plenary indulgence and you'll go straight to heaven when you're slaughtered. What happens if you come to a town and the food and equipment for sale runs out? Easy--you just pillage for what you need. "But the villagers are Christians," you might protest. Forget it--we're Crusaders--just grab and go. And along the way, if you meet Jews and Pagans, just do away with them. Hey--they're not Christians, so it will be good practice for when we meet up with the Muslims! And so it goes with this futile and ill-executed enterprise called the Crusades. And then we come to the European Crusades. Gotta keep Crusading alive, so if no one is game for Jerusalem anymore, let's switch to Europe. Pagans, Jews and Muslims are there, in our own back yard, too. The personal expense to the Crusaders is much less, you still get to kill and pillage and (after some finagling with the Pope) get the plenary indulgences--oy, what a deal! And if that weren't enough, there was a Crusade against the clergy. Why not? They were the ones that got us into this mess! I could go on but I won't (and yes, I heard that sigh of relief) because I don't want to spoil the fun. If you can approach this course with an open mind, I believe you'll enjoy yourself and learn something along with way. And if you're one who is convinced that history courses are boring, "How the Crusades Changed History," might just change your mind.
Date published: 2024-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Worthwhile!!! I just wanted to add a quick '5 star' review since I learned a GREAT DEAL about the Crusades from this course, and thus I HIGHLY recommend it to all who have a like interest in this subject. I also found the course very easy/enjoyable to watch (though not quite as compelling/entertaining as this prof's earlier courses that focused on the Middle Ages--i.e., where the prof was allowed to lecture 'free style' from a podium prior to Wondrium changing its format). That said, it would have been interesting IMHO if the prof had taken some time in this course to COMPARE the Crusades (by some Catholics) to religious extremism in the 21st Century (e.g., by some Muslims).
Date published: 2023-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tells the story, but not much more I've always wanted to get an overview of the Crusades - when, where and why they happened. This course provides that overview. While it occasionally offers some compelling stories, it's largely delivered in pure lecture style. I feel I've learned a lot about the Crusades, but I don't feel entertained. And personally I find I retain information better when I'm entertained.
Date published: 2023-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course One of my favorite history courses so far on Wondrium, with an outstanding professor. The course is themed around "unintended consequences" and will have plenty of take home lessons for the student of history.
Date published: 2023-12-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good on Crusade, Not Much on Lasting Effects This seems to be a video version of How the Crusades Changed History – 3931, which has been available only in audio. The video version does include useful visual graphics, particularly maps. However, if you already have the audio version, it may not be worthwhile to purchase the video version as well. This course is divided into two sections. The first 17 lectures trace the history of the Crusades. Particularly useful are the lectures on the crusades in Spain, southern France, and northern Europe, which are often overlooked in other treatments. The next seven lectures are thematic looks at particular issues concerning the Crusades. Most of these issues were confined to the Crusades themselves. None extended past the Protestant Reformation. I wonder if it would have been more beneficial to reverse the proportions. Perhaps the course could have devoted 7 lectures to reviewing the events, relying on The Era of the Crusades (a 36-lecture course by Dr. Harl) for the in-depth coverage and then devoting 17 lectures to the lasting consequences of the Crusades extending to the present day. Dr. Daileader speaks in a conversational style rather than speaking down to the student. He is personable and relaxed. However, he spoke in a distracting nasal tone as though he had a cold when these lectures were recorded. The course guide is about average by The Great Courses (TGC) standards. It is written in bullet format, which I think is less useful than paragraph format although perhaps more useful than outline format. It averages about 8 pages per lecture, which is slightly above average by TGC standards. It has only one map, which is far fewer than the number of maps used in the video course. (Even the audio version of the course had ten maps in its course guide.) Oddly, the course guide does not include either a timeline or biographical notes, which would have been useful for this course. It does include a bibliography. This course is offered in video only, although the companion course is audio only. (As I took this course, the audio version seems to have been removed from the web site.) The course was published in 2023. As I mentioned, this course, while labeled “new” in 2023, appears to be the 2013 version with video instead of audio-only. The 2023 version course guide seems to re-use the 2013 version course guide except that color is added and the fonts were changed. Oh, and nine maps were removed.
Date published: 2023-11-09
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Overview

The medieval Crusades left a significant impact on future centuries. In How the Crusades Changed History, you’ll assess the Crusades’ history and legacy, as you study the events of the eight crusades; track the history of the four crusader kingdoms; witness how crusading turned inward to the European interior; and observe how the Crusades unwittingly facilitated the rise of the Ottomans and weakened the foundations of Catholicism.

About

Philip Daileader

Making courses over the years has been an honor, and I'd like to think that as The Teaching Company has grown and developed, I've developed with it.

INSTITUTION

William & Mary

Philip Daileader is a Professor of History at William & Mary. He earned his PhD in History from Harvard University. He is the author of two historical monographs: True Citizens: Violence, Memory, and Identity in the Medieval Community of Perpignan, 1162–1397, and the award-winning Saint Vincent Ferrer, His World and Life: Religion and Society in Late Medieval Europe. He is the coeditor of French Historians 1900–2000: New Historical Writing in Twentieth-Century France, and The Princeton Review named him one of the 300 best professors in the US.

By This Professor

The Early Middle Ages
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Charlemagne: Father of Europe
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How the Crusades Changed History
854
How the Crusades Changed History

Trailer

What Were the Crusades?

01: What Were the Crusades?

Consider the spirit of the Crusades, as they melded the medieval conception of pilgrimage with that of holy war. Examine the idea of plenary indulgence, the remission of penalties due to sin, and the notion of avoiding Purgatory, both of which were understood as spiritual rewards for going on Crusade. Learn about the history of pilgrimage and holy war within Christianity before the Crusades.

29 min
Before the Crusades—Deep Background

02: Before the Crusades—Deep Background

Explore long-term historical developments that underlay the Crusades. Take account of the tensions between the Christian West and the eastern Byzantine Empire, and how Arab expansion served to drive them further apart. Look into the conception of jihad (holy war) formulated by Islamic jurists. Then, follow the political and religious schism between the Byzantine Empire and the Roman papacy.

27 min
Before the Crusades—Immediate Circumstances

03: Before the Crusades—Immediate Circumstances

Witness how the migration of Turks into Islamic and Byzantine lands set in motion the events that led to the Crusades. Study the geopolitical factors within the Byzantine Empire that led the emperor to call on the papacy for military aid. Learn about Pope Urban II’s call for the first Crusade, the galvanizing and preparations of the participants, and the motives that impelled crusaders to join the expedition.

28 min
The First Crusade and Conquest of Jerusalem

04: The First Crusade and Conquest of Jerusalem

Follow the dramatic unfolding of the First Crusade, beginning with the Popular Crusade, comprising common people inspired by notions of an apocalyptic confrontation, and leading to a disastrous campaign against the Turks. Then, trace the Barons’ Crusade, a noble-led delegation joining Byzantine troops in besieging Nicaea, Antioch, and finally Jerusalem, fulfilling the Crusade’s paramount goal.

28 min
The Rise of the Templars

05: The Rise of the Templars

Enter the world of the Templars and the Hospitallers, Christian religious-military orders with an important presence in the crusader kingdoms. Grasp how these new orders created an unusual fusion of the features of knighthood with those of monasticism. Learn about their networks of support, their functions during the Crusades, and the challenges they posed to the crusaders and local rulers.

26 min
Defending the Crusader States, 1099–1144

06: Defending the Crusader States, 1099–1144

The First Crusade saw the founding of the crusader kingdoms of Jerusalem, Antioch, and the counties of Edessa and Tripoli. Trace the surprising alliances the rulers of the crusader states made with Muslim leaders, to better defend crusader territories. Witness the debacle of the first European attempt to reinforce the crusader states, and the shifting alliances and conflicts that led to the fall of Edessa.

28 min
The Second Crusade—False Steps and Failure

07: The Second Crusade—False Steps and Failure

Relive the launching of the Second Crusade, triggered by the loss of Edessa and led by the kings of France and Germany. Follow the disjointed path of the crusaders toward Jerusalem, leading to their ill-fated siege of Damascus and the disintegration of the Crusade. Examine the struggle of Westerners to come to terms with the Crusade’s failure and territorial gains of Muslim leaders in its wake.

29 min
Saladin—General and Sultan

08: Saladin—General and Sultan

Take the measure of Saladin, the legendary Muslim military leader renowned for his fairmindedness and generosity in times of war. Trace his unusual and improbable rise to power, culminating in his roles as Vizier of Egypt and ruler of Syrian territories. Learn about his long-held dream of driving the Franks from the Holy Land, and his ultimate conquest and capture of Jerusalem.

28 min
The Third Crusade—We Three Kings

09: The Third Crusade—We Three Kings

The fall of Jerusalem resulted in the Third Crusade, led by the kings of France, England, and Germany. Relive the unfolding of the conflict, in which Richard Lionheart of England emerged as the de facto leader. Explore the interactions and mutual esteem between Richard and Saladin, and the fortunes of the Crusade, leaving the Kingdom of Jerusalem in crusader hands but without the city itself.

29 min
The Fourth Crusade—Conquest of Constantinople

10: The Fourth Crusade—Conquest of Constantinople

Examine the course of the controversial Fourth Crusade, originally planned as a strategic attack on Egypt with Venetian support. Track the crusader’s path, and the subsequent refocusing of the crusade on Constantinople. Study the complex political events that led to the sacking of the city and the imposition of a Latin Empire of Constantinople. Assess the divisive aftermath and consequences of the crusade.

30 min
Crusades in Spain

11: Crusades in Spain

Crusading extended into Spain as early as the First Crusade. Learn about Muslim presence on the Iberian Peninsula, and how the Christian capture of Muslim kingdoms was justified as re-conquest and given crusade status by popes. Grasp how crusades in Spain complicated crusading in the Holy Land. Witness the campaign to end Islamic rule in Spain, and the ultimate expulsion of Jews and Muslims.

30 min
The Northern Crusades

12: The Northern Crusades

Crusades also reached into Central and Eastern Europe between the 12th and 14th centuries. Take account of the peoples that crusaders fought in these very brutal conflicts, pagan and tribal cultures very different from their opponents in the Holy Land. Follow the campaigns against the Livonians, Balts, Prussians, and others, and the crusaders’ policy of conversion or destruction.

28 min
The Children’s and Albigensian Crusades

13: The Children’s and Albigensian Crusades

Encounter the Cathars, a European religious sect accused by Catholics of heresy, leading to the 20-year Albigensian Crusade against them. Investigate Cathar beliefs and practices and visualize the crusade as it transformed southern France. Also, examine the Children’s Crusade, a movement of youths aimed at reclaiming Jerusalem, and how they posed a threat to religious authorities.

28 min
Fifth and Sixth Crusades—Tragedy and Oddity

14: Fifth and Sixth Crusades—Tragedy and Oddity

Delve into the fraught events of the Fifth Crusade, called by a 1213 papal bull and aimed at attacking Egypt. In the ensuing siege of Damietta, unpack the negotiations between the crusaders and the Egyptian sultan, and the ultimate resounding defeat of the crusading army. Then study the Sixth Crusade of 1227, and its short-lived retaking of Jerusalem under highly unusual circumstances.

27 min
Louis IX—The Crusader Saint

15: Louis IX—The Crusader Saint

Louis IX of France, later canonized, led both the Seventh and Eighth Crusades. Learn about the massive planning for the Seventh Crusade, and witness its ill-fated campaign within Egypt, ending with the king and his army being taking prisoner. Then, trace the Eighth Crusade and its ineffectual effort to conquer of Tunis, the death of Louis IX, and the crusade’s termination under Charles of Anjou.

28 min
The Hohenstaufen and Shepherds’ Crusades

16: The Hohenstaufen and Shepherds’ Crusades

In the mid-13th century, further crusades unfolded within Europe. Follow the crusades against the Hohenstaufen rulers of Germany, seen by the papacy as political enemies, and culminating with the overthrow of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Then, uncover the events of the two Shepherds’ Crusades, unauthorized movements that clashed with clergy, and that royal authorities repressed by force.

31 min
The Fall—1291

17: The Fall—1291

Investigate the factors that made the crusader states increasingly vulnerable during the 13th century. Then, follow the sequential fall of the states, beginning with Antioch and Tripoli. Finally, study the 1291 demise of Acre and Tyre, the remaining territories of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Learn about the subsequent era of the crusading treatise, writings that envisioned future crusades.

28 min
The Crusades and Their Critics

18: The Crusades and Their Critics

Throughout the course of the crusades, crusading and individual crusades came under critical attack from many voices. Review the variety of moral, practical, and political criticism leveled at crusading, and assess the impact of its critics on the activity of crusading. Witness how mounting criticism of the religious-military orders contributed to the suppression and eradication of the Templars.

29 min
War and Travel—The Experience of Crusading

19: War and Travel—The Experience of Crusading

Crusaders faced numerous challenges in carrying out their vows. Look first at the preparations for going on crusade, from raising financial resources to settling one’s worldly affairs. Observe the hardships of crusading on the ground, in provisioning, hunger, disease, and unfamiliar warfare, balanced for some by idealistic convictions and the mind-opening discovery of new culture and peoples.

28 min
Life in the Crusader East

20: Life in the Crusader East

Discover how Christian settlers in the crusader states forged a new identity. Observe the settlers’ adoption of features of Eastern life and explore their relations and tensions with both the local Muslim populations and with newly arrived Western crusaders. Grasp the differences in legal status between the settlers and locals and assess whether the crusades were an early form of colonialism.

26 min
Cultural Contact and Exchange

21: Cultural Contact and Exchange

The presence of crusaders in the Eastern Mediterranean gave rise to new points of contact between the Islamic world and the Christian West. See how persistent Muslim military power spurred an interest in the West to understand Islam, overturning longtime misconceptions. Witness the impact of Islamic culture on European scholarship, as well as on language, technologies, trade, and more.

31 min
Crusade and Mission

22: Crusade and Mission

During the crusades, the relationship between crusading and proselytizing the faith was much debated. Examine the currents of thought that considered the violence of crusading antithetical to missionary work, and those that thought it complementary. Learn about the pioneers of Christian missionary work in the Islamic world, and how discord regarding crusading and missionary work coalesced.

29 min
The Crusades and the Course of History, Part 1

23: The Crusades and the Course of History, Part 1

Conclude the course with two lectures highlighting the long-term impact and repercussions of the Crusades. Here, track the declining fortunes of the Byzantine Empire, as it attempted to bolster itself against crusading from the West and to regain lost territories. Grasp how the Fourth Crusade and its legacy contributed to the fall of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottomans.

29 min
The Crusades and the Course of History, Part 2

24: The Crusades and the Course of History, Part 2

As a final historical consequence of the Crusades, investigate the issues and practices surrounding indulgences, the remission of sins in return for crusading. Grasp how the redeeming of indulgences in return for monetary payments and the widespread selling of indulgences weakened the moral authority of Catholicism, forming a key grievance against the Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation.

32 min

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