A History of the Crusades, Volume II: The Later Crusades, by Kenneth M. Setton, Robert Lee Wolff, Harry W. Hazard

By Kenneth M. Setton, Robert Lee Wolff, Harry W. Hazard

The six volumes of A heritage of the Crusades will stand because the definitive heritage of the Crusades, spanning 5 centuries, encompassing Jewish, Moslem, and Christian views, and containing a wealth of knowledge and research of the heritage, politics, economics, and tradition of the medieval global.  

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Extra resources for A History of the Crusades, Volume II: The Later Crusades, 1189-1311

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The Zirid state was povertystricken and unable to maintain ships or to employ the services of corsairs on any large scale. Whatever barges were left were used in the grain traffic with Egypt and Sicily. Clearly the control of the sea had passed to Sicily. But Roger needed African bases, and in the summer of 1 146 a Sicilian fleet of two hundred ships under the command of George of Antioch again appeared before Tripoli. A few days before their arrival, the government of the Banu-Matruh had been overthrown by a Murabit chieftain returning to Morocco after a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Relations soon reached the breaking-point. The emir confiscated Roger's money deposited in Mahdia and threw his agents into prison. On Roger's angry com- plaints he later released both, but he did not respond to Roger's request for "renewal of the treaties and for confirmation of the alliance". When Roger insisted, in letters "full of arrogant words and threats and written in a form that ran counter to decent usages", `Ali dismissed the Norman ambassadors without answer and prepared for war. The conditions under which the war broke out tend to obscure somewhat the true reasons and initial accidents that had led to it.

On the return trip, the Normans heavily fortified Corfu and other islands, for Roger was determined to hold on to his new Adriatic conquests. In addition to material damage, the Byzantine empire suffered a serious loss of prestige. One of its basic weaknesses, the apathy of the civilian population and their lack of fighting spirit, was disclosed to the world. The emperor felt obliged to avenge this disgrace, reconquer Corfu and the other Adriatic islands, and carry the war to the "dragon of the west, the New Amalech".

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