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suggested reading on Reynald de Ch�tillon

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Colin747 View Drop Down
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  Quote Colin747 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: suggested reading on Reynald de Ch�tillon
    Posted: 22-Nov-2007 at 18:52
I'm looking to gain more knowledge on Reynald de Chtillon, would any of you have any suggested reading on him?
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  Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Nov-2007 at 20:45
I don't know any biographical works on him specifically, but there's always Runciman's exhaustive crusades trilogy, which gives detailed accounts even of "minor" characters like Reynald. For his portrayal in Arab sources see Amin Maalouf's "The Crusades Through Arab Eyes".
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2008 at 19:29
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  Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2008 at 20:39


Maalouf's book is dreadful. There is at least one biography but it is in French.

My bad, there are five books in French at least: see amazon.fr.


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  Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Aug-2008 at 12:33
Originally posted by Maharbbal

Maalouf's book is dreadful.


Just curious, why do you think it is awful? I quite liked it, and so did many people whom I recommended it to. I can understand what you are saying if you are coming from a strict scholarly POV, but Maalouf's ambition with this work is "merely" giving an entertaining account of the crusades based on Arab sources, so as to spread awareness of their perspective, and in this he succeeds IMO.
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  Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Aug-2008 at 14:11
Well, I agree with you it is quite entertaining. If anything a bit like '1421 the year China discovered the world', the anger you feel and all the mistakes, bad faith, etc are fun to discover. But I guess that is not the type of entertainment one is after  when he wants to "gain knowledge".

I've read it a while ago and I am not masochistic enough to go through it every now and then.  I guess the biggest issue with the book is that there is no critical  approach of the Arabian sources. I remember that story of the Arabic medic who comments on Frankish medical practices as totally backward and barbaric... He didn't try to see if that man was telling the truth he just repeated slavishly.

The result is that whereas one knows that sources of that time specially literary ones tell more about the one who writes than about the subject, Maalouf actually pretends to tell the story of the Crusades as the Arabs supposedly had seen it. He never tests his claims against material evidences, he never compares a Frankish text and an Arabian one, etc.

Granted he is not a professional historian but this doesn't mean he should not use the necessary precautions. Finally he picked a very bellicose view, a clash-of-the-civilization-ish type of thinking. I means Arabs (and Turcs and all the other Muslims and inhabitants of the Near East) went on living under the Franks' rule. There was trade and traffics of all sorts. Franks lived under Muslim authority, the relationship between the two entities did not start in 1099 nor did they end in 1291.

So not only is he not a good historian, but his defaults support a wicked vision of the world. Hence I don't advise anybody to read it.
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