Armies of Heaven

Armies of Heaven

The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Chronicles the apocalpytic motivations and brutality of the First Crusade, which destroyed civilizations in the Near and Middle East.

Perseus Publishing
At Moson, the river Danube ran red with blood. At Antioch, the Crusaders— their saddles freshly decorated with sawed-off heads—indiscriminately clogged the streets with the bodies of eastern Christians and Turks. At Ma'arra, they cooked children on spits and ate them. By the time the Crusaders reached Jerusalem, their quest—and their violence— had become distinctly otherworldly: blood literally ran shin-deep through the streets as the Crusaders overran the sacred city.

Beginning in 1095 and culminating four bloody years later, the First Crusade represented a new kind of warfare: holy, unrestrained, and apocalyptic. In Armies of Heaven, medieval historian Jay Rubenstein tells the story of this cataclysmic event through the eyes of those who witnessed it, emphasizing the fundamental role that apocalyptic thought played in motivating the Crusaders. A thrilling work of military and religious history, Armies of Heaven will revolutionize our understanding of the Crusades.

Book News
When Jerusalem fell to European armies in 1099, says Rubenstein (Medieval history, U. of Tennessee), contemporaries believed that a new era had dawned, not just in history but in God's plan, that it loosed the apocalypse promised a thousand years earlier at Christ's crucifixion. He retells the familiar story within the framework of apocalyptic thinking. His topics include the Pope's plan in November 1095, the crusaders at Constantinople in August 1096-April 1097, the fall of Antioch in April-June 1098, and the last emperor in July 1099. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, [2011]
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9780465019298
Branch Call Number: 940.18 Rubenstein 2011
Characteristics: xiv, 402 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm


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Mar 31, 2014

Steven Runciman, whose book is available at OPL, wrote a better account of the First Crusade.


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