The battles and political scheming that took place during the medieval crusades have often been described, but little has been written about crusading from the point of view of the actual participants. This refreshingly different book redresses this situation by asking what inspired those recruits who marched across Europe and fought the 'infidel', as well as those they actually fought against. What did it feel like to be a crusader? How did the long marches, bad food and lack of medicine affect the average armed pilgrim? Were the original ideas sustained in the face of the perils of the journey? What image of the enemy did each side carry into battle? Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Ronald C. Finucane also discusses such matters as the social composition of the fighting forces, the role of women in the crusades, the part played by superstitious ideas, supernatural omens, and the conduct of both Christian and Moslem soldiers on and off the field of battle. Similarities and differences between the two religions, especially from the viewpoint of the 'average' believer, are also examined.
Professor Ronald C. Finucane was a research fellow in the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies at Reading University. He is now Chairman, Department of History, Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan