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Ernoul, Eracles and the Fifth Crusade

Edbury, Peter 2016. Ernoul, Eracles and the Fifth Crusade. The Fifth Crusade in Context The Crusading Movement in the Early Thirteenth Century, London: Routledge, pp. 163-174. (10.4324/9781315574059-28)

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Anyone embarking on a study of the Fifth Crusade will be almost certain to start with Oliver of Paderborn. Oliver’s narrative is an excellent source – well-written and well-informed by a well-placed eyewitness who went on to become a bishop and then a cardinal of the Catholic Church. The trouble is that it is almost too good: it is detailed and reliable, and it provides a strong sense of the rhythm of the expedition to the East as successive waves of crusaders came and went with each spring and autumn sailing. What is more, there is an English translation.1 Of course, it is not the only source for the events of 1217-22: the letters of Jacques de Vitry – another future cardinal – and the correspondence of Pope Honorius III will always feature prominently in any discussion of this crusade.2 But what it means is that other narrative writings tend to be put to one side. The tone was set back in the nineteenth century when Reinhold Röhricht published his extensive narrative anthology under the title of Testimonia Minora de Quinto Bello Sacro or, to translate it into English, Lesser Witnesses to the Fifth Crusade.3 And it is two of the works included among these ‘lesser witnesses’ – Ernoul and Eracles – that are the subject of what follows. My interest in them arose originally from my work on the history of Lusignan rule in Cyprus and my earliest discussion of them appeared as far back as 1997.4 The present discussion stems from an AHRC-funded project that, in collaboration with Dr Massimiliano Gaggero, will in due course lead to a new edition of both texts.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781315574059
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2020 13:00

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