1st Edition

Byzantine Sources for the Crusades, 1095-1204

Edited By Georgios Chatzelis, Jonathan Harris Copyright 2025
    256 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Christian, Greek-speaking Byzantine empire was placed rather uneasily between western Christendom and the Islamic world during the Crusade era. Like all historical topics – particularly medieval – sources on the crusades give a variety of perspectives and accounts, but Byzantine writers provide a unique outlook on these crucial events.

    Byzantine Sources for the Crusades, 1095-1204 brings together important sources on the Crusades into one volume. The texts translated here include established accounts, such as selections from Anna Komnene’s description of the passage of the First Crusade in 1096-8, John Kinnamos writings on the Second Crusade, and Niketas Choniates’ studies on the Second and Third Crusades, particularly covering the passage of German emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa during the latter. However, less well-known accounts are also translated and provided, such as Zonaras and the contemporary letters of the archbishop of Ohrid during the First Crusade, various poems and speeches recorded throughout the reigns of John II and Manuel I Komnenos, and smaller accounts about crusaders passing through the Byzantine Empire.

    This book covers up to the Fourth Crusade, in which Niketas Choniates was an eye-witness to the Siege of Constantinople in 1204 and later a refugee in Nicaea, writing a series of speeches about the capture of the Byzantine capital and rallying the Byzantines to recovery the city from the newly created Latin Empire.

    This book will appeal to scholars and students alike studying the era of the Crusades in the East and the perspectives and accounts of Byzantine writers both at the time and after, as well as all those interested in the history of the Byzantine Empire in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.


    List of sources

    I. The First Crusade

    II. John II and the Latin East

    III. The Second Crusade

    IV. Manuel I and the Latin East

    V. The Third Crusade

    VI. The Fourth Crusade

    VII. After the Fourth Crusade



     Georgios Chatzelis is currently a teaching fellow at Democritus University of Thrace and at Hellenic Open University. In the past, he held research and teaching positions at Royal Holloway University of London, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Centre for Advanced Study Sofia and New Europe College: Institute for Advanced Study. His recent publications include Byzantine Military Manuals as Literary Works and Practical Handbooks: The Case of the Tenth-Century Sylloge Tacticorum (2019) and, with Jonathan Harris, A Tenth-Century Byzantine Military Manual: The Sylloge Tacticorum (2017).

    Jonathan Harris is Professor of the History of Byzantium at Royal Holloway, University of London. His recent publications include Byzantium and the Crusades, third edition (2022); Introduction to Byzantium (602-1453) (2020) and The Lost World of Byzantium (2015). His first novel, Theosis, appeared in 2023 and he is currently editing The New Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades.