5 May 2011
Venue: Room 59, History Department
Department of History seminar by John Pryor, Honorary Associate Professor, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Sydney.
This paper stems from research on the Siege of Acre for a forthcoming book on the Maritime History of the Crusades, during which it became apparent that the siege of Acre during the Third Crusade resolved itself into a monumental struggle between two civilizations and religions that threw everything they had at each other for almost two years. Modern historiography does not reflect this, even though medieval historiography did in fact do so. [I do not go on to examine the post-Acre struggle between Salāh al-Dīn and Richard Cœur de Lion after the end of the siege.] The paper is grounded in an on-site investigation of the battle ground fought out on the plain of Acre and in analysis of the maritime logistics of the siege. But it is not simply military and naval history. It draws heavily on the emotion that was apparent on both sides in 1189-1191. The Third Crusade and the Siege of Acre were, in my opinion, theclimactic event of the entire history of the Crusades and arguably of the entire twelfth-thirteenth centuries. Robin Hood was right!
John Pryor began his research career in the field of medieval Mediterranean economic history and later expanded into Mediterranean maritime history and the Crusades. He is an esteemed author of five books and many, many articles and chapters. Among other projects, John is currently at work on two books – one the maritime history of the Crusades mentioned above, the other a translation of and commentary on Libellus de expugnatione Terre Sancte per Saladinum.