Professor John D. Hosler’s fascinating book on the siege of Acre during the Third Crusade provides a brief, but interesting, consideration of the interactions that sometimes took place between combatants during the siege. Regardless of the violence of the siege, Hosler notes that “the spaces between the ramparts…were not necessarily a zone of death.” The shared experience that Muslim and Christians troops who took part in the lengthy and bloody siege (lasting from 1189-1191) could sometimes lead to “noticeable expressions of respect, and even an adversarial camaraderie.” Hosler describes two examples found in the sources.Continue reading
Next month my friend and fellow medieval historian Dr. John D. Hosler will be doing the unthinkable for many academics in that he is giving up his tenured position as a full professor at Morgan State University, where he has taught for the last twelve years, in exchange for a position with the U.S. Army. To be clear, he is not joining the Army, in the traditional sense, but is instead taking what will undoubtedly be a fascinating position as an Associate Professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. As someone who cares deeply about those who serve in our military, wishing to see them receive the very best possible support, I could not be happier to know John will be acting in this role. Continue reading
Above Image: Cover image of Yaacov Lev’s excellent book Saladin in Egypt (Leiden: Brill, 1999).
The Egyptian Sultan Saladin (r. 1171-1193), a Sunni Muslim Kurd, is often celebrated for his chivalrous virtues and deeds during the crusading era. In popular modern film and literature, in both the east and the west, Saladin is depicted as a man of honor and reason, not swept up in the religious passions of his day, and thus a sort of modern role model for enlightened behavior in times of conflict. Yet such heroic popular narratives of medieval military leaders are rarely, if ever, fully accurate and in Saladin’s case there is considerable evidence to demonstrate he was much more of a man of his times than suggested by otherwise romanticized views of his career. Continue reading