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Remembered Places and Invented Traditions: Thinking about the Holy Land in the Late Medieval West

An AHRC Translating Cultures Research Network. Hosted by the Material Texts Network at Birkbeck.

PI: Dr Anthony Bale.

The Latin Christian kingdom of Jerusalem was established by Crusaders in the Holy Land in 1099. European noblemen, clerics, pilgrims, converts and others quickly established a state based around the conquest of Jerusalem, with new castles and fortresses, cathedrals and cities. The Latin Kingdom endured for fewer than two hundred years; Jerusalem was taken by Saladin in 1187, and the last possession of the Crusaders, the coastal city of Acre, was gained by the Mamluks in 1291. This research network explores the European memory of the Crusades, and cultural consequences of the loss of the Latin Kingdom, in the centuries after 1291. As Jerusalem and the Holy Land once more came under Islamic control, European culture had to re-imagine its relationship to holy sites and especially to Jerusalem, the 'centre' or 'navel' of the known world.

Far from abandoning its desire for Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Western Europe - Christian and non-Christian - besieged the Holy Land with an array of cultural and imaginative artefacts in the post-crusade era. These artefacts will be the focus of this research project and include:

  • travel narratives
  • pilgrimage itineraries
  • maps
  • Islamophobia, antisemitism, nationalism, and prehistories of 'Orientalism' and 'Occidentalism'
  • architectural copies and simulacra
  • renewed calls to Crusade and the rhetoric of crusading

The Network will host workshops and public lectures in 2012.
Full details to follow soon. In the meantime, visit the project blog here:

AH research council logo for Remembered Places