Nicholas MortonJan 22, 2024
The Crusader States and their Neighbours
A Military History, 1099-1187
Oxford University Press 2020
Nicholas Morton’s The Crusader States and their Neighbours: A Military History, 1099-1187 (Oxford UP, 2020) explores the military history of the medieval Near East, piecing together the fault-lines of conflict which entangled this much-contested region. This was an area where ethnic, religious, dynastic, and commercial interests collided and the causes of war could be numerous. Conflicts persisted for decades and were fought out between many groups including Kurds, Turks, Armenians, Arabs, and the Crusaders themselves. Nic Morton recreates this world, exploring how each faction sought to advance its own interests by any means possible, adapting its warcraft to better respond to the threats posed by their rivals. Strategies and tactics employed by the pastoral societies of the Central Asian steppe were pitted against the armies of the agricultural societies of Western Christendom, Byzantium, and the Islamic World, galvanising commanders to adapt their practices in response to their foes.
In this episode, Nic joins me again to discuss histories of nomadic peoples fighting with and against the Crusader armies; what military history can tell us about the economic, social, and cultural history of the medieval Near East; and why Crusader history is still relevant to us today.
Maggie Freeman is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.