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About the book
  • Published: 30 November 2011
  • ISBN: 9781448114528
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

The Fourth Crusade

And the Sack of Constantinople




A major work of history and the first trade book published on the subject of the crusade of 1204, which went so catastrophically wrong.

In April 1204, the armies of Western Christendom wrote another bloodstained chapter in the history of holy war. Two years earlier, aflame with religious zeal, the Fourth Crusade set out to free Jerusalem from the grip of Islam. But after a dramatic series of events, the crusaders turned their weapons against the Christian city of Constantinople, the heart of the Byzantine Empire and the greatest metropolis in the known world. The crusaders spared no one in their savagery: they murdered and raped old and young - they desecrated churches, plundered treasuries and much of the city was put to the torch. Some contemporaries were delighted: God had approved this punishment of the effeminate, treacherous Greeks; others expressed shock and disgust at this perversion of the crusading ideal. History has judged this as the crusade that went wrong. In this remarkable new assessment of the Fourth Crusade, Jonathan Phillips follows the fortunes of the leading players and explores the conflicting motives that drove the expedition to commit the most infamous massacre of the crusading movement.

  • Pub date: 30 November 2011
  • ISBN: 9781448114528
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

About the Author

Jonathan Phillips

Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades; The Second Crusade: Extending the Frontiers of Christianity; The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople; The Crusades, 1095-1197; Defenders of the Holy Land, 1119-1187 and the co-editor of three academic essay collections on the Crusades. Phillips is the co-editor of the academic journal Crusades, writes for BBC History and History Today and has made numerous radio and television appearances.

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Praise for The Fourth Crusade

“Enthralling...Nobody can read it without acquiring a better understanding of the Middle Ages and the medieval mind.”

Allan Massie, Literary Review

“Persuasively reconstructs the imaginative world of the thirteenth century.”

John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph

“By far the best book I have read on the Fourth Crusade...learned, comprehensive...well-written...exciting.”

Norman F. Cantor

“Stunning”

Financial Times


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