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The Western Narratives Of The First Crusade

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Chapter Summary

The accounts of the campaigns of Alexander the Great are perhaps the most directly analogous corpus, but the texts that survive today are far removed in space and time from the now lost accounts by certain of Alexander's companions, whereas the morphology of textual composition, transmission, and adaptation, from so-called 'eyewitness' accounts to retellings aspiring to literary and conceptual sophistication, is far more securely evidenced in the First Crusade historiographical tradition. A strong desideratum of future research on the First Crusade histories must be to integrate them more fully within those movements of elite culture that fall under the general heading 'The 12th-century Renaissance'. But in fact this work was participating fully in the wider circulation and reworking of texts that characterized western Europe's reception of the crusade as a write-able commodity in the first decades of the 12th century, and it was accordingly part of that broader historiographical enterprise.

Keywords: Alexander the Great; Europe; eyewitness; First Crusade; western narratives



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