In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section The Crusades

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Bibliographies
  • Journals
  • Major Primary-Source Collections
  • Primary-Source Collections in Translation
  • Modern Crusades Historiography
  • General Histories of the Crusades
  • First Crusade
  • Second and Third Crusades
  • Fourth Crusade
  • Later Crusades to the East
  • Northern (Baltic) Crusades
  • Crusades Against Heretics
  • Crusades in Spain
  • Children’s Crusade
  • Women and the Crusades
  • Jews and the Crusades
  • Islam and the Crusades
  • Crusading Orders
  • The Crusader States
  • Crusader Motivations

Medieval Studies The Crusades
Andrew Holt
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 December 2010
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 December 2010
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0105


The crusading movement involved peoples of varying religious and cultural backgrounds engaged in a violent struggle that spanned several centuries and took place on three continents. Until the later 20th century, historians focused narrowly on only those expeditions to the Holy Land as representing proper Crusades, but since then a broader crusading enterprise has been recognized that incorporates similar efforts against pagans in the Baltic region, heretics in southern Europe, Muslims in Spain, and papal foes in Italy. Consequently, Crusades studies have become broad and varied, leading to significant geographical and chronological specialization.

Reference Works

Although there have long existed numerous scholarly reference works on broader topics that also provide useful information on the Crusades, the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries have seen the publication of some works that are narrowly focused on the crusading movement. Riley-Smith 1991 should be consulted for maps. Andrea 2003 provides a useful single-volume encyclopedia. Murray 2006 offers the most comprehensive reference work available on the topic with more than a thousand up-to-date scholarly entries as well as fifty-four maps.

  • Andrea, Alfred J. Encyclopedia of the Crusades. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003.

    This work is a single-volume encyclopedia of the Crusades authored by a leading American historian that includes over 230 entries on key topics.

  • Murray, Alan V., ed. The Crusades: An Encyclopedia. 4 vols. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006.

    This monumental work is a comprehensive and up-to-date four-volume encyclopedia edited by one of the leading British scholars of the Crusades. With more than a thousand entries (authored by 120 international scholars), this work covers all aspects of the crusading movement from the 11th to the 16th century. The work also includes fifty-four maps of major Crusades and Crusades settlements as well as photographs and illustrations of castles, landscapes, artwork, and coins.

  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan, ed. The Atlas of the Crusades. New York: Facts on File, 1991.

    The work was produced as a collaborative product of a large number of leading Crusades specialists under the direction of Jonathan Riley-Smith. It provides over 150 pages of colorful detailed maps covering the period from 1000 to 1500.

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