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Franco Cardini

The legacy of the Crusades URL:

The most recent studies, done starting from the famous historical-sociological summary of Alphonse Dupront, oblige is to reconsider the history of the crusades, definitely leaving behind the scheme inaugurated by Michaud in the beginning of the 19th century, and getting rid of the misunderstandings on the debate between institutionalist thesis (that separate crusades using a canonical numeration, supported by the historiographic tradition of the 14th and 15th century, in a deterministic way, preceded by "pre-crusades" and followed by "post-crusades"), the evolutionists-continuists (the "eternal crusade" like a East and West confrontation), and the ones of "emergency" in the style of Paul Alphandéry (the crusade that left "armed to the teeth, like Athena from the head of Zeus" pictured by the ecclesiastic reform of the 11th century).

To reconsider and redefine the phenomenon of the crusade beyond each of the "crusade expeditions", it is necessary on one side to keep in mind the canonical pontifical formalization of the concept of crusade, but on the other, we have to abandon the damaging adhesion to a scheme that uses as a model the itinera hierosolymitana of the 11th to 13th century, and do a review avoiding the temptation of formal normalizations (for example, the one that has made the crusades to be considered for a long time as a "deviation" against the Catarrhs or against the Baltic pagans), that spans across a wider Euro Mediterranean geopolitical environment than the one traditionally proposed by historiography, and that takes into consideration the Braudelian longue durée. Due to all of this, it is necessary to re-read the parallel, and many times interlaced, experiences of the Syria-Palestine crusade and the events of the so called Recapture, and recover for the history of the crusades also the modern dynamics of the conquest of overseas and the wars against the Ottomans.

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