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Theme: The Albigensian Crusade
Introduction: Kevin Krahenbuhl, 'A twist in the story of the Crusade - The Albigensian Crusade'.
Illustrated by Carlos Garcia.
Beginning in the late eleventh century, a major conflict with long-term implications continued over the next several centuries in what are called, today, the Crusades. This series of wars witnessed Christians in Europe and the Near East engaging in a struggle to retake much of the territory lost to Muslimconquerors centuries earlier. However, this war for the Holy Land is far more complex than one traditionally might believe.
The Source: Andrei Pogacias, 'The memories of a cleric in the service of history - Guillaume de Puylaurens'.
The Albigensian Crusade, one of the most important military events in thirteenth-century Europe, was luckily recorded for posterity by a few eye-witnesses, clerics of the Catholic Church, making the study of this event a rather easy one. The most important sources are the Historia Albigensis by Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay, considered the official history of the Crusade, La chanson de la croisade albigeoise, the first part of which was written by Guillaume (William) de Tudèla, and the Cronica ('Chronicle') of Guillaume (William) de Puylaurens. While the first two are contemporary accounts of events, the Cronica is a later composition, but also by an eye-witness. This doesn't make it less valuable; in fact, it is one of the best sources available.
Theme: Gareth Williams, 'Simon de Montfort and the Siege of Termes - The Crusader and the Cross'.
Illustrated by Rocio Espin.
A prominent personality in the initial stages of the Albigensian Crusade was the titular fifth Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort. As with any larger than life character, Simon has garnered a contrasting array of opinions concerning both his personality and motives. The reality is that individuals are generally complex, making simple definitions difficult. What do his campaigns - specifically the Siege of Termes - reveal concerning his character, and what kind of reputation should be attributed to this man? Was it a personal devotion to his God or the perceived potential of securing further territory and riches that motivated Simon?
Theme: Sidney Dean, 'The Albigensian Crusade's Spanish interlude - The Battle of Muret'.
Illustrated by Jose Antonio Gutierrez Lopez.Feudal relations in Occitania were complicated. The kings of Aragon were among the major overlords in the region. Most of their lands north of the Pyrenees were held by powerful vassals such as the counts of Toulouse. While King Peter II of Aragon - also known as Peter the Catholic - did not support the Cathars, most of his vassals did. Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, who was not only Peter's vassal but also his brother-in-law, assumed command of the joint Occitan armed forces.
Theme: Nils Visser, 'Terror as Amaury's weapon of war - A church of wolves'.
Illustrated by José Daniel Cabrera Peña.
Voltaire described the Albigensian Crusade as a "vast tableau of human madness" that plunged "the land into horror and calamity", causing later generations to "blush at so many centuries of barbarity."
Theme: Stephen Bennett, 'The Crusades of King Louis - For God and France'.
Illustrated by Milek Jakubiec.
Over the course of fourteen years, Louis of France led three crusades to Occitania. The final expedition cost him his life, but it was to fundamentally change the political and cultural landscape of the region.
Special: Brian Burfield, 'Disabled warriors in medieval society - The mutilated, lame and blind'.
Illustrated by Johnny Schumate.
Medieval warfare presented many grim opportunities for life-threatening illnesses, horrendous injuries and grisly death. As always, diseases like dysentery and typhoid would kill and disable more men than the battles themselves. Once the fighting had begun and the bodies of the slain began to pile up, there would be those among them who were still alive, but with arrows through their necks or with faces so mutilated that they were unrecognizable. When the fighting had ceased, emergency treatment for the wounded could take place on the battlefield or in the nearest town, before they were returnedhome.
The Campaign: Russ Mitchell & Annamaria Kovács, 'The Hungarian invasion of Italy, 1348-1350 - A medieval world war'.
Illustrated by Pablo Outeiral and Julia Lillo.
In the medieval world, just as today, military campaigns were sensitive to the political contexts that created them. Under Angevin rule, Hungary in the mid-fourteenth century was deeply connected to the other great European conflicts of the era, including the first phase of the Hundred Years War. Anexample of this can be seen by tracing the actions of the little-known Dominican friar Walter ate Moore just prior to the launching of Edward III's Crécy campaign.
Special: Erich B. Anderson, 'Bishop Absalon and the Wendish campaigns - The Christian Viking'.
Even after Denmark began to adopt Christianity in the second half of the tenth century, it was not until the death of the Danish King Canute IV on 10 July 1086 that all raids and conquests of lands in Germany, France and England by the Scandinavians ceased. Many historians have labelled his death asthe official end of the Viking Age. However, Viking acts of raiding, pillaging and tribute-taking did not, in fact, end.
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