Monday, May 18, 2009

Failed Crusades - History Faculty

Thanks to Jim Mowatt of the podcast Historyzine I found out about the history podcast The History Faculty (feed). Make sure you copy the feed from here, because the site is not giving it away so easily and Jim Mowatt warns in advance that the on site videos are made with a still camera, so that audio is the way to go.

On The History Faculty historians are invited to lecture about their specialism and this results in a list of very varied subjects. Out of this list I took two lectures that are related to the crusades. On both lectures Professor Graham Loud of the University of Leeds speaks. First he lines out the Second Crusade, which, he claims, was better organized and led than the first. The first was actually quite unexpectedly successful at capturing Jerusalem and founding the Latin Kingdom. And so, the second, set out to be even better than that, yet failed. This lecture explains how. Unfortunately, the lecture is cut off by the end rather abruptly, making you feel there may me some crucial stuff missing.

Then, after this crusade, in 1187, there is the battle of Hattin (or Chitin as Israelis such as myself know it). During this battle Saladin thoroughly defeated the Christians and even if the Latin Kingdom continued the exist for a bit more, but it was effectively done for. Saladin's victory was predictable and yet the Christians engaged. Loud explains why this was so. Militarily it was foolish, but politically there were enough reasons to take Saladin on.

The feed is not systematically organized, which is makes it not straightforward to find the subject to your liking, but there is much to find.