The First Crusade: Eastern Sources and Different Interpretations

Medieval World History

By Professor Peter Frankopan, published 19th March 2021

In this podcast Professor Peter Frankopan, University of Oxford, looks at the causes of the First Crusade through Eastern sources (Greek, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic and Hebrew), rather than Western (Latin) sources.

Professor Frankopan discusses the different interpretations these sources provide and highlights the key role of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and the rapid decline of Byzantium's position in Asia Minor.

1. What do Greek, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic and Hebrew sources tell us about the origins of the First Crusade?
2. How has an attention on these sources rather than their Latin (Western) contemporaries provided an opportunity for new interpretations?
3. How stable was the Byzantine Empire on the eve of the First Crusade?
4. How had power and politics been transformed in Asia Minor over the latter part of the eleventh century?
5. Was the First Crusade inevitable? What were its’ real objectives?
6. What were the short and long term consequences of the crusade for Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and the Byzantine Empire?
7. How did the First Crusade transform papal authority?
8. Sources and questions to ask.

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