Drawing from both Christian and Islamic sources, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain demonstrates that the clash of arms between Christians and Muslims in the Iberian peninsula that began in the early eighth century was transformed into a crusade by the papacy during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Successive popes accorded to Christian warriors willing to participate in the peninsular wars against Islam the same crusading benefits offered to those going to the Holy Land. Joseph F. O'Callaghan clearly demonstrates that any study of the history of the crusades must take a broader view of the Mediterranean to include medieval Spain.
Following a chronological overview of crusading in the Iberian peninsula from the late eleventh to the middle of the thirteenth century, O'Callaghan proceeds to the study of warfare, military finance, and the liturgy of reconquest and crusading. He concludes his book with a consideration of the later stages of reconquest and crusade up to and including the fall of Granada in 1492, while noting that the spiritual benefits of crusading bulls were still offered to the Spanish until the Second Vatican Council of 1963.
Although the conflict described in this book occurred more than eight hundred years ago, recent events remind the world that the intensity of belief, rhetoric, and action that gave birth to crusade, holy war, and jihad remains a powerful force in the twenty-first century.
The book is published by University of Pennsylvania Press.
©2003 University of Pennsylvania Press (P)2013 Redwood Audiobooks
"A masterful synthesis of work done in both crusade and reconquest history." (Historian)
"This is a welcome book. It explains the development of crusading in almost all of its aspects in medieval Iberia as well as situates the Iberian crusades within the context of those to the Holy Land." (Medieval Review)
"A survey of royal military activity in Spain from the late 11th through the mid-13th centuries... Highly recommended." (Choice)
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
I'm fairly well-versed on the Crusades. The thing is, most volumes on that era don't cover the Spanish side of the story because the Reconquest begins centuries before the Crusades "officially" begin. This book seemed to be the perfect companion to fill in that gap.
And it might be... once I get another book to tell me who's who and explain why they're important. I also apparently need to find an historical map to keep up with where these unknown characters travel. The author is a noted historian and has written several books on this topic, which was part of the appeal for me. But he's apparently forgotten that overviews are supposed to be introductions. Instead of a narrative history with people at the center of causes and effects, this book is that dreaded textbook of names and dates that mean nothing if you don't already have that information in hand.
Based on what little I could follow (because I know something about El Cid... thank you, Charleton Heston), this book isn't designed for the audio format at all. It pretty much demands that you at least have your Wiki-scholar skills and Google Fu well-honed. But if I wanted to go that route, I wouldn't have picked up this book.
The narrator is clear enough, which is good when dealing with rapid-fire onslaughts of foreign names, but he butchers some of the French names and reads a bit mechanically for my tastes.
All in all, not exactly the best possible combination for a book like this.
I use audible mostly to get history audio books and so i was excited when I saw a book on the Reconquista. I should have been put off by the sample but i was still optimistic. I shouldn't have been. You may as well get the ebook and use the text to speech function for all the charisma and vocal range this narrator possess. The information in the book is interesting however even this feels a bit rushed and impersonal despite the wealth of characters and events of the subject material.
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